55 Days at Peking

Film, Drama

Time Out says

From its marvellous opening - in the Legation compound at Peking, the troops of eight foreign powers raise their national flags to the accompaniment of a cacophony of national anthems - to the final relief of the diplomats to whom the Boxers have laid siege in the compound, Ray almost transcends the spectacular world of international co-production film deals. He carefully orchestrates the big action sequences (the sine qua non of the Epic) so that they form a mere background to the unfolding drama of the awkward love affair between Heston and Gardner. The result, Ray's farewell to Hollywood, is admittedly a broken-backed movie - producer Samuel Bronston re-cut it - but one full of delicious moments as Ray's camera cranes and swoops around his protagonists, almost taking us back to the nervous grandeur of Johnny Guitar on occasion. A magnificent failure.

By: PH


Release details

154 mins

Cast and crew

Nicholas Ray
Philip Yordan, Bernard Gordon
Charlton Heston
David Niven
Ava Gardner
Robert Helpmann
Flora Robson
Leo Genn
John Ireland
Kurt Kasznar
Paul Lukas
Harry Andrews
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