55 Days At Peking

Nicholas Ray’s last commercial film and second blockbuster for Samuel Bronston (after King of Kings) effectively ended his career as a Hollywood director, and the unwieldiness of this spectacular about the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 Peking helps in part to explain why. Not really a personal film, compared with the works that preceded it, although Ray himself puts in a fleeting appearance as an ambassador in a wheelchair. Scripted by Philip Yordan and Bernard Gordon, scored (bombastically) by Dmitri Tiomkin, and starring Charlton Heston, David Niven, Ava Gardner, and Flora Robson. (JR)

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