55 Days at Peking 1963

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(96) IMDb 6.8/10
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The courage and leadership of U.S. Marine (Charlton Heston) and British Ambassador (David Niven) are the only hope against insurmountable odds, while a beautiful Russian Countess (Ava Gardner) must choose between freedom and commitment.

Starring:
Yuen Siu Tien, Ava Gardner
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 2 hours 27 minutes
Starring Yuen Siu Tien, Ava Gardner, Paul Lukas, Flora Robson, Elizabeth Sellars, John Ireland, Charlton Heston, David Niven, Geoffrey Bayldon
Director Nicholas Ray, Andrew Marton
Genres Drama
Studio Anchor Bay Entertainment UK
Rental release 7 April 2014
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 2 hours 27 minutes
Starring Yuen Siu Tien, Ava Gardner, Paul Lukas, Flora Robson, Elizabeth Sellars, John Ireland, Charlton Heston, David Niven, Geoffrey Bayldon
Director Nicholas Ray, Andrew Marton
Genres Drama
Studio Starz
Rental release 7 April 2014
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Trevor William Douglas on 19 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD
This if by far the best print of 55 Days At Peking I have ever seen. With the Intermission included and great song at the end. Beautiful wide-screen transfer with brilliant colours as well as audio. Thoroughly recommended.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
This epic, set in China at the beginning of the twentieth century, has everything: top-notch Hollywood stars, including David Niven, Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner--to all appearances, still in their prime; magnificent costumes and sets; high production standards; thrilling action scenes, and a cast of thousands without computer generation. In fact, they just don't make 'em like this anymore!

Particularly memorable are the opening scenes in which each of the foreign legations at Peking--including the British, French, German, American, Russian, and Japanese [all the usual suspects] are raising their flags at dawn, to a cacophony of competing national anthems (a scene echoed at the end, when after pulling together for 55 days against a common enemy--the Harmonious Fists, or Boxers--the besieged foreigners revert ominously to their separatist ways. Equally interesting are the scenes in the beautifully recreated Forbidden City at the court of the Manchu Empress, whom the incomparable Flora Robsen invests with sympathy as well as inscrutability. Robert Helpmann, the great premier danseur of the Royal Ballet, plays the sinister prince Tuan, and Leo Genn performs the role of his rival, the general Wen Lu, who has conducted a secret love affair with the enchanting Russian Countess (Gardner), whose reputation has been consequently ruined [It seems to me that some of Genn's scenes have unfortunately been cut or lost with the passage of time].

The transfer to DVD is sharp and does not seem to have diminished in color, and the sound is excellent with one important exception. Lamentably, Dimtri Tiomkin's musical score, which accompanies the opening titles has not been re-mastered properly, and it sounds tinny and wobbles slightly off tune.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By SJ SMART on 7 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of my all time favourite Charlton Heston film and depicts a rare episode of International co-operation before the days of the UN, NATO, etc. The film is set in the 1900 "Boxer" Rebellion in China and shows the seige of the International embassies and legations in Peking by a huge force of Chinese Boxer forces and later the Chinese Army. The small embassy guards from the USA, Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Austria and Russia (along with Chinese volunteers) are forced to co-operate and pool resources in order to survive and hold out. Which they do for 55 days!

This epic film has some great battle scenes in the days before CGI they built a huge set and got thousands of extras, and great performance from screen legends like Charlton Heston, Ava Gardener and David Niven.

I loved the ending when the relief forces finally come to the rescue, each nationality represented with their own martial music and national characteristics. The British come with bag pipe playing Highlanders and Sikh Cavalry, the Italians at the run march, the Japanese with quiet dignity, etc. Its a classic film

A great film!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Greg Peck on 25 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Since I started collecting DVD's (about 9 years ago), this title was one of my classic's, which I had never been able to add to my collection........until now.

This is the Samual Bronston epic, which has been very sadly neglected by both the region 1 and British region 2 producers and is one of my favorite epics of all time.
I won't bother giving you a review of the film itself, as if you are reading this, you are obviously a fan and are looking for (I hope)the best transfer you can get, and this is it !

This Swedish pressing of 55 Days at Peking, is as perfect as it is going to get.
As the sellers advertised; the transfer is in it's correct 2:35.1 ratio and is anamorphic, which makes the picture as good as it gets.
(The cover does state 1:85.1 anamorphic, but don't blow your top; this is incorrect)

When purchasing this, I did have an option of several other versions at lower prices. However, if you want the best, you have to pay for it, so don't hesitate to splash your hard-earned cash on this version.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By HAYLYN on 13 Jun. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This review is a technical issue as the story of the film has been covered well by other reviewers.
Lovely transfer to High Definition of the film, vision and sound..However the disc,released by Anchor Bay is bare bones and no extras at all, not even a trailer, except, a comparison between the original negative and the restoration. However, it's the film that is the most important. All the Samuel Bronston block busters have now been done on B/R.
This is how an epic should be made. Good crew, art direction, excellent script with dry humour intersperced within the dramatics.Thousands of extras, top stars, acting and not just speaking the lines. Massive sets, being destroyed with no computer enhancements. To boot, music by Dimitri Tiomkin that varies with the action on screen, not wall to wall music composed for modern films, that one could fit into any film genre. This film and many others of the period have stood up for around 50 years, I wonder if in 50 years time wether films made today, will be restored for the then modern audiences. I have just watched the film again and it's one heck of an thrilling, epic adventure. You could not wish for a better quality transfer.John Paul Jones [DVD] [1959] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Haylyn UK
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