Okay it's obvious that 55 days in Peking just gives me a ton of shit to talk about. But look at the scsne of the U.S. Marines marching. Some will find it completely normal and others will find it cringe worthy by today's standards... the scene of the white American soldier hitting on the local Asian woman.
This movie is old so it might be one of the first of these types of interactions on screen.
Not only that, but this incident, which is not even called the same thing in China and the U.S., is one of the first events where America showed its power and ability to sit with the other strong countries in the world (through pillaging and undoubtedly raping along with them.)
Mark Twain, a Confederate supporter, was also a Boxer supporter saying, "The Boxer is a Patriot. He loves country better than he does the countries of other people." and wished them luck.
The idea of Chinese in red turbans killing a bunch of white people shocked and awed the world and existed in the white american (and probably European) mind for a long long time. In fact most of the stereotypes about Chinese people that have existed so long in media really come from THIS moment in history.
To China, this incident was seen as something separate from the Boxer Rebellion and that the rebellion was used as an excuse for the 8 Nations to come in and rape and pillage.
In fact American newspapers did not even deny this but instead defended America saying that our troops were not raping and pillaging as much as the Germans. We would later use this against the Germans when we would enter World War I against them, saying that they were far more savage than the other European countries (Japan was like honorarily European... and also much more civil to the Chinese in THIS particular instance).
Every Chinese person I talk to has always called this moment in history something like Bak Gok lun Gwun, or the 8 Nations armies coming together or something like that. (Help please with explanation)
They agree that the Boxer Rebellion was happening but they never call that incident the Boxer rebellion. And all the Western History books that I had studied to write a paper about in in high school were from the British perspective. Only a couple of years later a ton more stuff was written and now Gene Luen Yang has written two Graphic Novels, Boxers and Saints, which deal with this time in history.
The world has changed, but A TON of China-US relations still kind of goes back to this one moment. Of course the Opium War is prevalent in people's minds too (when I was in High School it was yet to be called the Opium War without quotes in history books. It was the British Chinese War or "Opium War." Now I think it's just called the Opium War. Period.)
I know people think its weird that I even want to watch this movie where all the main Chinese characters are played by white people. But look, at all the words on the blog it is inspiring? I haven't even finished Part 2 of the Youtube video yet.
Oh right... so think of how many people saw this movie? And now you see complaints of white guys who only target Asian women on the New York Subway, harassing them. It all comes from somewhere is what I am saying. I'm not saying this movie is necessarily at fault either because you will notice the General or whatever tells those guys to cut it out. It might be guilty of white washing... but this movie does seem to try. I wonder if they didn't get it better than LATER movies about China.
Maybe we are moving backwards in some aspects of how Asians are portrayed in popular culture. I mean, if the main Chinese Characters were played by Asian Actors this movie (slanted towards Americans being heroes vs. villains as it is) may very well be more politically correct towards China than a lot of current movies.
When was this made?
1963? Right in the middle of the Cold War when China was the enemy.