Director Robert Wise chose to film Robert McKenna's award-winning novel The Sand Pebbles as his follow-up to the success of The Sound of Music. Shot in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the film combines historical sweep and intimate human drama in several parallel stories, all revolving around US Navy machinist's mate Jake Holman (Steve McQueen), a skilful but fiercely independent sailor who joins the "sand pebble" crew of the USS San Pablo, a Navy gunboat patrolling the Yangtze River on the eve of the Chinese revolution in 1926. The San Pablo's inexperienced captain (Richard... Crenna) obsessively defends the Navy's mission-however unnecessary or unwanted--to protect American missionaries and businessmen, blind to the more dangerous implications of American involvement with China's opposing political factions. Holman is a defiant voice of humanity in this clash between outmoded values and inevitable change; his final line of dialogue ("What the hell happened?") is a tragic summation of misguided policy, expressing the film's criticism of the Vietnam War. Rather than preach, however, Wise lets McKenna's potent drama emerge from finely drawn relationships: between Holman and a young American teacher (19-year-old Candice Bergen, in her second film); between Holman and the Chinese "coolie" (Mako), whose heart-breaking fate transcends all issues of racial or political difference; and between crewmate "Frenchy" Burgoyne (Richard Attenborough) and the Chinese woman he's sworn to love and protect at all costs. Combined with the film's colourful supporting cast, adventurous scope, and climactic battle scenes, these personal dynamics bring substance and spirit to a complex story of good intentions gone awry. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 or region free DVD player in order to play. Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this "fascinating" (The New York Times) action-drama chronicles a volatile time in history and will resonate with generations to come. Directed with a "deft" (Life) hand by Oscar winner Robert Wise (The Sound of Music), The Sand Pebbles earned Steve McQueen his only Oscar nomination and also stars Richard Attenborough and Candice Bergen. 1926 China. Engineer Jake Holman (McQueen) is transferred to the USS San Pablo, a gunboat patrolling the troubled waters of the Yangtze River. As Chinese factions battle around them, the crew has one singular mission: to protect American interests in the region... without provoking an international incident. But as hostility over the U.S. presence in the river intensifies, Holman and his sole ally (Attenborough) know their latest assignment - to save a U.S. missionary (Bergen) - could be their last. Actors Steve McQueen, Candice Bergen, Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna, Emmanuelle Arsan, Mako, Larry Gates, Charles Robinson, Simon Oakland, Ford Rainey, Joe Turkel, Gavin MacLeod, Joe Di Reda, Richard Loo & Barney Phillips Director Robert Wise Certificate 15 years and over Year 1966 Screen Widescreen 16:9/2.35:1 Languages English - Dolby Digital (4.0) Stereo Subtitles Croatian; Czech; Danish; Finnish; Hebrew; Hungarian; Icelandic; Norwegian; Polish; Portuguese; Swedish; Turkish; English for the hearing impaired Duration 2 hour and 54 minutes (approx)
Steve McQueen and Richard Crenna star in this classic war drama. In China, 1926, the US gunboat San Pablo cruises the Yangtze river on a peacekeeping mission. New crew member Jake Holman (McQueen) causes friction when he insists upon looking after the San Pablo's engines himself, rather than leaving the hard labour to the Chinese helpers. Holman ruffles more feathers when he falls in love with an American missionary (Candice Bergen), and as the political climate becomes more and more volatile, he begins to question the validity of the American presence on the river.