Monday, June 23, 2008

55 Days in Peking, a movie

ok - to be absolutely honest, I didn't even really pay attention to this movie. I read a book almost the whole time. But here's a summary of my observations: Charleton Heston plays an American Marine, and David Niven plays a British ambassador, both in China during the Boxer Rebellion. The Marines are there to ensure safe conduct for the foreigners stuck in Peking. There's a Russian Baroness played by Ava Gardner. Her scandal: she slept with a Chinese man, so not only did she commit adultery but with a barbarian to boot, which made her Baron husband commit suicide. Her acting was the worst I've seen in a long time - maybe not much worse than the Anglo actors playing the Chinese characters in the movie.

I have no idea what the plot was beyond squelching the Rebellion and getting the Westerners out safely - the Baroness ended up helping as a nurse and being the love interest of Heston's character. There was a ball at which she appeared wearing some jewels and was the center of negative attention, but I wasn't sure if it was because of her scandalous ways or the jewels. Heston got to show a tender side a few times - one of his mates died and left a Chinese/American child in an orphanage, and Heston had to talk to her. He carried some orphans during a march out of town. He showed some concern for the Baroness's safety. Yeah, a real softie is our Heston.

Very forgettable for me. I'm not even going to bother to rate it. Maybe PD liked it. Apparently it's a classic and history and war movie buffs rate it highly for how it so closely depicts what actually happened.

I didn't even ask, I just kept reading my book.

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