55 Days at Peking Overview:

55 Days at Peking (1963) was a Drama - Historical Film directed by Guy Green and Andrew Marton and produced by Michal Waszynski and Samuel Bronston.

Academy Awards 1963 --- Ceremony Number 36 (source: AMPAS)

AwardRecipientResult
Best Music - ScoringDimitri TiomkinNominated
Best Music - SongMusic by Dimitri Tiomkin; Lyrics by Paul Francis WebsterNominated
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Quotes from

Dr. Steinfeldt: [in the hospital, while the baroness refuses medical assistance] Don't you want to live?
Baroness Natalie Ivanoff: I *have* lived!


Dowager Empress Tzu-Hsi: The boxer bandits will be dealt with, but the anger of the Chinese people cannot be quieted so easily. The Germans have seized Kiaochow, the Russians have seized Port Arthur, the French have obtained concessions in Yunnan, Kwan See and Kwantang. In all, 13 of the 18 provinces of China are under foreign control. Foreign warships occupy our harbours, foreign armies occupy our forts, foreign merchants administer our banks, foreign gods disturb the spirit of our ancestors. Is it surprising that our people are aroused?
Sir Arthur Robertson: Your Majesty if you permit me to observe, the violence of the Boxers will not redress the grievances of China.
Dowager Empress Tzu-Hsi: China is a prostrate cow, the powers are not content milking her, but must also butcher her.
Sir Arthur Robertson: If China is a cow, Your Majesty, she is indeed a marvelous animal. She gives meat as well as milk, and yet grows stronger.


Capt. Andy Marshall: [Regarding the Boxers massed on the Tartar Wall] No sign of activity, hmm?
Sgt. Harry: No sir, I think they're all asleep.
Capt. Andy Marshall: Ah, but we'd better not be Sergeant.
[Nodding to sleeping soldiers]
Capt. Andy Marshall: You'd better wake them all up.
Sgt. Harry: [to English Soldier] Wake up!
[to German Soldier]
Sgt. Harry: Guten Morgen!
[to French Soldier]
Sgt. Harry: Bonjour! Bonjour!
[to Italian Soldier]
Sgt. Harry: Buongiorno!
[Picks up and looks at hat of Japanese Marine]
Sgt. Harry: ... Good Morning?
Japanese Marine: Good Morning.


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Facts about

It is still possible to walk around the area of Beijing which was the actual location of the Siege of the Peking Legations in 1900, and to recognize sites and street layout depicted with admirable accuracy by the sets constructed in Spain for '55 Days At Peking'. The former legation quarter is east of Tiananmen Square, bounded in the north by Changan Avenue and south by Qianmen Street. One such important site is the gate of the former British Legation in Zhengyi Road, looking remarkably as it did in photos taken in 1900. Much of the area has been occupied for many years by Chinese Government agencies. Most of the heritage buildings remaining of the old legation quarter are reconstructions after the Boxer uprising. The area's tourist potential has been little exploited. The post-Boxer former French Legation post office is the foyer of the Dongjiaominxiang Hotel. The site of the former US Legation has been renovated for up-market restaurants, bars and event venues.
The production was troubled almost from the beginning. It ran into financial troubles, there were conflicts among the cast, and director Nicholas Ray argued so violently with producer Samuel Bronston that he eventually walked off the set and quit the picture, and soon afterward suffered a severe heart attack. Andrew Marton and Guy Green finished directing the picture, uncredited.
Due to mainland China's hostility and isolation from the Western world, a full-scale 60-acre replication of Peking 1900 (sewers and all) was built in the plains outside Madrid, and Chinese/Asian extras were flown in from all over Europe to provide the local Peking (the old name of Beijing) citizenry. A number of costumes for the Royal Chinese Court (the Empress, Prince Tuan's, etc.) were authentic ones from Tzu Hsi's actual court. They were loaned by an illustrious Florentine family (which wished to stay anonymous) but was able to rescue them from the collapse of the dynasty right after the Boxer rebellion.
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