Wednesday, June 4, 2014

War Movie Wednesday - 55 Days at Peking


This week's feature takes us away from World War II to the year 1900 and the Boxer Rebellion in China.  Directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, and David Niven, 55 Days at Peking focuses mostly on the siege of the International Compound during the rebellion.


Seeing a 40 year old Heston in action is always a treat, and he doesn't disappoint in this film.  David Niven is a personal favorite of mine, so his presence in any given war flick pretty much insures it will be enjoyable.  This film is also the first known appearance of future martial arts film star Yuen Siu Tien.


As many of you already know, wargaming the Boxer Rebellion is a toy soldier collector's dream with all the nations involved and the colorful Boxers.  This is where I get the most enjoyment out of watching 55 Days at Peking.  Just the action sequences alone are worth a watch during hobby time along with all the different uniforms worn by the cast.  Plus it's a bit if a change in pace from the typical war/historical movie.

55 Days at Peking (1963)


Again, as I've mentioned before (WMW intro post) these features are not necessarily meant to "the best" war movies or even all considered high quality films.  What I hope to offer here is something interesting and entertaining enough to watch during hobby time at least.  Something that can be found for free on YouTube and played on your computer or similar gadget sitting by your hobby area.  Unfortunately these posts are also limited in choice and quality by what I can find on YouTube, which also includes putting up with subtitles from time to time.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the movie!

Troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance in 1900.
Left to right: Britain, United States, Australia, British India, Germany,
 France, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Japan (Russia not pictured).

Bonus Links:

55 Days At Peking Soundtrack Suite

China's Boxer Rebellion (Documentary)

.

19 comments:

  1. Thanks for highlighting the film! Must really check it out as the siege really is an interesting part in Chinese (and western) history

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very interesting, yet forgotten. Crazy how we all stood together then only to end up fighting two world wars.

      Delete
  2. Good movie if not a little too long.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Now you're talking! Where did I put those discarded Boxers?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Aaahhh! Excellent choice!

    Another one of those bloated cast-of-thousands '60s historical films where the non-Europeans are the baddies and damn the historical context of rights-and-wrongs. Imperalism? Hurrah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And all the major non-European characters are played by Europeans!! (Or Australian in the case of the Prince)

      Delete
  5. Another classic rarely seen these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely fun seeing it again though!

      Delete
  6. Must admit, its not a movie I recall watching, nor a period/event I know a lot about! May have to check this out sometime...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that's OK. That's why all those links are in there! :-)

      Delete
  7. Amazing Movie.....not really historical bad wonderful !
    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I definitely enjoy the good with the bad. I really love the grand spectacle of these old movies.

      Delete
  8. One I have not watched yet! Obviously I need too. Thanks Jason!

    ReplyDelete
  9. A true classic movie. This is always one of those periods / scenarios that I have considered, but never committed to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Between all the Boxers, Imperial Chinese, troops for 8 nations, and terrain including buildings, barricades, etc. etc. it would be quite a project!

      Delete
  10. One of my favorite movies! Thanks for the reminder! Time to have a look at it again!

    Greetings
    Peter

    ReplyDelete