The Sand Pebbles (1966 USA)

(There are many silly hat moments in The Sand Pebbles)

In 1911 China overthrew the Manchu dynasty, which in its weakened state, over the last century had sold off parcels of real estate outright controlled by European powers and later by Japan as well. The United States controlled no territory outright as other powers did, but the Americans did insist on extraterritoriality involving their citizens doing business there. What that meant was that US citizens were not subject to Chinese laws, civil or criminal. Matters involving them went to American courts. Other powers had those same treaties. That was resented. Westerners were resented. Japanese were resented most of all because they were fellow Asians doing it to the Chinese but this tale is only concerned with Americans. [Read more…]

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The Great Escape (1963 USA)

greatescape6-061315By 1963 audiences were becoming bored with re-living heroic World War Two exploits, Teenage filmgoers were too young to remember it and were tired of seeing their dads’ er…’doings’, (yuck! – sorry) which made their own lives feel smaller & duller. But “The Great Escape” depicted a failed breakout from an inglorious captivity. It managed to combine the expected set pieces of tension and ‘doings’ (yuck again!) with an incipient 60’s individualism. [Read more…]

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