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Fabulous Photos During the filming of '55 Days at Peking (1963).

55 Days at Peking is an epic historical war film released in 1963. This film depicts the siege of the foreign legations’ compounds in Peking (now known as Beijing) during the Boxer Rebellion, which took place in China between 1899 and 1901. Samuel Bronston produced the film for Allied Artists, with a screenplay by Philip Yordan and Bernard Gordon, with uncredited contributions from Robert Hamer, Julian Halevy, and Ben Barzman. Noel Gerson wrote a screenplay novelization under the pseudonym Samuel Edwards in 1963.

There were two main characters on the western side: Major Lewis, the commander of the U.S. Marines in Peking, and Sir Arthur Robertson, the British ambassador. While we see a little less of the Chinese side in the movie, the main characters from the Chinese side were the Dowager Empress Tzu-Hsi and her counsellors, the devious and anti-foreigner Prince Tuan, and the more liberal General Jung-Lu, who favors rapprochement with the foreigners. There are several set-piece battle scenes, overwhelming in scope and breathtaking in their scope, depicting the pride and fury of the siege of the Peking Legation Quarter by the Boxers, when the fate of Western interests and the fate of China itself hung in the balance. It is an excellent film in the sense that it has a big story to tell and makes a gripping narrative of it through all its ups and downs. It is truly a masterpiece of motion picture storytelling.

#1 Charlton Heston with his wife Lydia attend the premiere of the movie ’55 Days At Peking’ 1963

Charlton Heston with his wife Lydia attend the premiere of the movie '55 Days At Peking' 1963

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#2 Charlton Heston before the Poster for the Film 55 Days At Peking, 1963.

Charlton Heston before the Poster for the Film 55 Days At Peking, 1963.

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#3 Charlton Heston and his wife attend the premiere of the movie ’55 Days At Peking’

Charlton Heston and his wife attend the premiere of the movie '55 Days At Peking'

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#4 American singer Andy Williams whit hsi wife Claudine on their arrival at Heathrow Airport, 1963

American singer Andy Williams whit hsi  wife Claudine on their arrival at Heathrow Airport, 1963

They have travelled from Paris to attend the premiere of the film '55 Days at Peking'. Williams sang the theme tune in the new film.

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#5 Robert Helpmann is bowed to in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Robert Helpmann is bowed to in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#6 David Niven in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

David Niven in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#7 Battle scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Battle scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#8 Ava Gardner is approached by a man in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Ava Gardner is approached by a man in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#9 Ava Gardner in ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963

Ava Gardner in '55 Days At Peking', 1963

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#10 Leo Genn in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Leo Genn in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#11 Robert Helpmann and Flora Robson in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Robert Helpmann and Flora Robson in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#12 A man is killed in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

A man is killed in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#13 Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#14 Charlton Heston chiseling at wall in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Charlton Heston chiseling at wall in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#15 A woman fans herself in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

A woman fans herself in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#16 Ava Gardner catches the attention of Charlton Heston in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Ava Gardner catches the attention of Charlton Heston in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#17 Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven in publicity portrait for the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven in publicity portrait for the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#18 Ava Gardner dances with Charlton Heston in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Ava Gardner dances with Charlton Heston in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#19 Ava Gardner in publicity portrait for the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Ava Gardner in publicity portrait for the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#20 Charlton Heston holds Ava Gardner in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Charlton Heston holds Ava Gardner in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#21 Robert Helpmann looking over at Leo Genn in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Robert Helpmann looking over at Leo Genn in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#22 John Ireland as Sergeant Harry in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

John Ireland as Sergeant Harry in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#23 Ava Gardner is escorted by Charlton Heston in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Ava Gardner is escorted by Charlton Heston in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#24 Group of men looking at Charlton Heston in the center of the room in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Group of men looking at Charlton Heston in the center of the room in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#25 Ava Gardner and Charlton Heston in ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Ava Gardner and Charlton Heston in '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#26 Ukrainian film score composer Dimitri Tiomkin working on the music for ’55 Days at Peking’, 1963.

Ukrainian film score composer Dimitri Tiomkin working on the music for '55 Days at Peking', 1963.

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#27 Robert Helpmann as Prince Tuan conducting the Boxer Induction Ceremony in the courtyard of the Temple of Heaven for the Dowager Empress Tsu Hsi in a scene from Samuel Bronston’s ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963

Robert Helpmann as Prince Tuan conducting the Boxer Induction Ceremony in the courtyard of the Temple of Heaven for the Dowager Empress Tsu Hsi in a scene from Samuel Bronston's '55 Days At Peking', 1963

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#28 Charlton Heston as US Marine Major Matt Lewis in a scene from the film ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

Charlton Heston as US Marine Major Matt Lewis in a scene from the film '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#29 American actors Charlton Heston, David Niven and actress Ava Gardner on the set of ’55 Days At Peking’, 1963.

American actors Charlton Heston, David Niven and actress Ava Gardner on the set of '55 Days At Peking', 1963.

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#30 Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie ’55 days of Peking ‘, 1963

Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie '55 days of Peking ', 1963

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#31 Charlton Heston and Lynne Sue Moon chat with director Nicholas ray on location in Madrid for the movie ’55 days of Peking’, 1963

Charlton Heston and Lynne Sue Moon chat with director Nicholas ray on location in Madrid for the movie '55 days of Peking', 1963

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#32 Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie ’55 days of Peking ‘, 1963,

Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie '55 days of Peking ', 1963,

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#33 Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie ’55 days of Peking ‘, 1963,

Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie '55 days of Peking ', 1963,

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#34 Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie ’55 days of Peking ‘, 1963,

Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie '55 days of Peking ', 1963,

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#35 Ava Gardner wearing an off-the-shoulder dress with lace trim, and a broad-brimmed feathered hat, in a promotional portrait for ’55 Days at Peking’, 1963

Ava Gardner wearing an off-the-shoulder dress with lace trim, and a broad-brimmed feathered hat, in a promotional portrait for '55 Days at Peking', 1963

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#36 American actor Charlton Heston on the set of ’55 Days at Peking’, 1963

American actor Charlton Heston on the set of '55 Days at Peking', 1963

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#37 Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie ’55 days of Peking ‘, 1963.

Charlton Heston on location in Madrid for the movie '55 days of Peking ', 1963.

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Written by Alicia Linn

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