- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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This film may be a good period piece because it conveys the way we viewed Chinese culture in 1900 during the period when western powers carved china into "Spheres of Influence." This is a jingoistic bunch of nonsense. It fails to take into account the brutality of the western powers and the condescending fertilizer spread by hundreds of Christian missionaries as the became hell bent on denigrating the ancient religions of Buddhism and Confucianism and pestering the little yellow savages to convert to Christianity. The rage the ethnocentric western attitudes evoked in the minds of educated Chinese youth is understandable. It was their country and it was being raped by the western powers. So Charlton Heston can strut like a pompous ass and the film can portray the empress as a dimwit and the entire plot centers on the needs and concerns of the westerners. The film leaves us with no understanding of what was actually happening in China and why.
55 Days at Peking on Criterion Collection DVD
- Jeffrey Kenison
I think this epic deserves to be part of the Criterion Collection on DVD. I like Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven.
- movie lover of tcm
another roadshow film they do not make them this way anymore.
First Class Intrigue & Action Entertainment
This film is among the best of its type. I do not know why it isn't held in higher acclaim. Pace is excellent with numerous well presented scenes and solid acting by various nationalities and costly settings. Have no idea about the historical accuracy and costuming but definitely seems possible considering foreigner governments involvement at times in Chinese affairs. The young girls role (Teresa?) is charming, meshing well with Ireland and Heston. First class, watch it.
The costumes of the westerners (Charleton Heston, Ava Gardner) are accurate - nothing else about this movie is!The imperial palace was (still is) surrounded by walls painted red. The dowager empress wouldn't have been caught dead wearing black, while screaming at her courtiers! She famously (or notoriously) held court from behind a yellow curtain. (A woman would not show her face, even if she was an empress.) This movie is a joke!
55 days ?!
55 days at Peking?Does not look like cast and crew got anywhere 10,000 miles from Peking!
55 days in peking
- kevin sellers
The movie where Nicholas Ray lost his way and Ava lost her looks.
55 days at peking
- richard weakley
the beauty of this film is finally available on the you tube presentation of the 2013 remastered version. putting aside his politics, Charlton Heston is very effective in this. I think he is better in this role than as Ben-Hur. Ava Gardner and David Niven,no favorite of mine, deliver solid performances.
This has always been one of my favourite movies. The ball scene is great. Also - while I am not a sentimental person - I have always found the scenes where Irelend makes Heston tell the little girl that her father has been killed and the scene where he tells her very touching.People continue to make mean comments about Heston - but I do not think they have learned the entire history of the man. One of my 3 favourite actors, along with Peck and Lancaster.Also I am a miniature wargamer - and the Boxer Rebellion is one of the most popular conflicts to wargame due to the number of nations involved and - no doubt - due to this movie. Uniforms depicted for all of the nations involved were pretty accurate.Keep up the good work TCM
Each Time I Watch,I Understand The Film Better
Some day I'll see the entire film in one sitting.TG for DVR and rewind.Don't understand why this didn't do better at box office.Good story,great actors,esp foreign actors.Don't see how Ava was supposedly unprofessionalunless it alluded to her partying,but how many other actors did too?Glad little Teresa was accompanying the troops.Loved her role in this film.
Pretty good flick.
- Kathy Scruggs
Charlton Heston is one of the few actors that can provide a believableand authentic "leader of men" role. I see there are a lot of politically motivatedhate comments from the peanut gallery of reviewers. Too bad some folks call anystory that doesn't depict an ethnic class as marvelous is deemed racist, excepting, ofcourse if White Americans are the target. Heston will be viewed for many years in the future,long after folks have chucked the term "racist" as an unacceptable term. These intemperate reviewer's comments will have long since disappeard into the ether.
Repulsive and Dull
- Mark in Florida
Racist, over-produced, idiotic piece of very expensive crap.
An Epic To Watch
Tomorrow I'll be enjoying an epic they don't make anymore. "55 Days At Peking". Star names and non-computer special effects. Thank you, TCM. P.S. Could you please delete Bob Ekert's "review". This is suspose to be a classy website.
Oh, not again
- Bob Eckert
BURRRP! Starring Charleton Heston. I just threw-up a little bit in my mouth. Happens every time I see the words Charleton Heston. In this case, I can close my eyes unless Ava Gardner is on-screen.
55 days at peking
There you go. Charlton Heston turns down John Waynes The Alamo, flat, then turns around 3 years later. and stars in a Chinese version (no offence to the Chinese intended) of the same type of story. Ive heard from people who worked with Heston on the set of The Mountain Men that he was an egomaniac , full of himself. frankly I think hes one the most wooden actors ive ever seen. He struts around in this big budget, over long yawn, like hes doing everyone a favour (ala Moses) just by showing up. He always plays, Charlton Heston!
We have actual historical film of the Boxer Rebellion in China and that film shows it was, if anything, far more chaotic and horrible than this movie depicts. That being said, this is an excellent depiction of the Rebellion and its origins. The storyline, of course, is pure fiction involving Heston and Gardner but, nonetheless, it is a good one. The costuming is beautiful. the action scenes fantastic. Worth a look!
A great old syle epic.
Consisdering all the trouble during the film's production, 55 DAYS turned out better than expected. Great sets and nice 70mm presentation as usual by producer Samuel Bronston. Excellent cast and one of composer Dimitri Tiomkin's lively and colorful music scores also comtribute value. Some may quibble about the script, but it works, and the film is quite satisfying if taken as nothing more than a big budget adventure film, which is all it really wanted to be.
Allied Artists : Ava, Heston, Niven
Allied Artists a fondly remembered mini studio what produced Love In The Afternoon, Friendly Persuasion,Soldier In The Rain, El Cid, Papillon, Cabaret, The Man Who Would Be King with stars such as Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Ava Gardner, Sean Connery, and Liza Minnelli produced this film of the Boxer Rebellion in China at Samuel Bronston's studio in Madrid! And it works! Heston is Fine as is the always impeccable David Niven but the true star is the glorious Ava Gardner. Ava Gardner herself never considered herself an actress but the body of work refutes lovely Ava's contention: Barefoot Contessa, Night Of The Iguana, On The Beach. This is an fine movie.
Flawed, but still neglected Epic
Have seen this movie several times, but never knew it had an overture, entre act, and closing music (during which you hear the Andy Williams theme song) like all of the "Road Show" versions of its time (e.g. The Sand Pebbles, Sound of Music, Dr. Zhivago, etc) until I saw the TMC showing of which they are intact. Performances are fair, the best of which is David Niven as the British Embassador. The sets and costumes are lavish as is the entire production. Not sure why this movie has been overlooked for so long. I have a European version of the DVD, which up until I saw the TMC broadcast, was the best I had seen. However, in the TMC broadcast all of the music is included, and the quality of the print is now, the best I've seen. This movie makes me yearn for the days when going to see an epic at the movies was a real treat.
costumes & decor-Sets
- carolyn quinn
The costumes and lush decor are not in these reviews but I am looking at who designed the costumes. It has a Edith Head look to the styles as they move well and are wonderfully tailored.
Good movie, but the typical Heston wooden performance hurts it.
- dr terence knapp
This film is remarkable for,among many other excellent aspects of film story telling, the characterisation by Dame Flora Robson and Sir Robert Helpmann of the Empress Dowager and her Chancellor.Neither performer is Chinese however the brilliance of their personifications brings a compelling magnificence to this story of the the Boxer Rebellion. Truly star quality.
55 Days at Peking (1963)
- James Higgins
Lavishly produced drama about the Boxer Rebellion in China. What it lacks in historical accuracy it makes up for with the cinematography and art direction. The costumes are fine as well. Charlton Heston does what he usually does, overacts, but at least the rest of the cast is good. It's a bit overlong too.
55 Days at Peking
- Gordon Brown
An exciting adventure about the historic Boxer Rebellion I studied in school many years ago. It really came to life on the screen and for the first time, I really understood what the Boxer Rebellion was all about. A good study of what can be accomplished when nations work together for a common purpose. Great acting, especially by Charlton Heston and John Ireland.
Underrated Epic Deserving More Attention
The director had a breakdown during the making of this film--possibly due to Gardner's acting like a diva--and never directed again. She had many of her lines taken away from her as she couldn't remember them, and they were given to Paul Lukas. Gardner, while still an attractive woman, is the sole detraction to this epic film. Niven does a standup job as the stalwart ambassador, while Heston is the heroic Marine who does his duty. John Ireland is the tough sergeant with a heart of gold that ten years earlier, would have been played by Victor McLaglen. Tiomkin's score is as always, outstanding.
Great Sound Track Too!
I have an original album of the movie sound track. The music greatly adds to the overall enjoyment of this movie- like the military marching songs, instrumental orchestrated background and movie theme song "So Little Time" sung by Andy Williams. I highly endorse showing this movie on TMC as it ranks up there with any of the classic action/romance movies that have been shown. Can't wait to watch it again on TV... been way too long.
This film was truly an epic and is a great film filled with great stars. I keep waiting and waiting for it to come out on DVD. I have the VHS version which came out on 2 cassettes because of the length of the film but it has stopped working. It is a great action adventure film that I would love for my children to be able to see.
Hollywood history 101
- Daniel Alderson
Although not historically accurate a very fine drama that conveys the tense seige of Peking. not available on DVD but was on VHS in the early 90's
One of the Best
One of the Best action films ever... i would love to own a DVD copy
where is this movie available
- Keith Turner
Have seen this movie perhaps 4 maybe 5 times in 20 years. Would like to own it on dvd. it is a true classic and 1 of my personal all time favorites.
Great for new big screen tvs
This is a very interesting and entertaining movie with several major stars of the era, and it's story made full use of large theatre screens. I recently saw Casablanca on a friends huge home theatre screen, and was amazed at all the great background action that I had never noticed on my 27 inch tv. 55 DAYS AT PEKING would be fabulous on a large screen.
55 DAYS AT PEKING
Great movie about the Boxer Rebellion. Loaded with great stars. This needs to be on DVD.
I feel awkward posting a review but in this case I recommend a film that I believe has been ignored. 55 Days at Peking takes a slice of American history that centers on a little known phase; our involvement in China during the Boxer Rebellion. In a broader sense it shows how the foreign legations held out for 55 days til help arrived. The music of Dmitri Tiomkin (sp) is outstanding in all ways. It shows the differences in the various countries, how they come together etc.David Niven does his usual standup job. I don't think he ever did a bad one. Of the supporting cast the only person who seems out of place is Ava Gardner. I remember thinking the same thing when I saw the film for the first time in 1963. I once purchased a VHS version of 55 Days at Peking but it was incredible poor quality. I checked out other samples and they were all bad. If a person enjoys action/adventure films they need to add 55 Days at Peking to their list.