Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1966. Robert Wise Productions, Solar Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Screenplay by Robert Anderson, based on the novel by Richard McKenna. Cinematography by Joseph MacDonald. Produced by Robert Wise. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Production Design by Boris Leven. Costume Design by Renie. Film Editing by William Reynolds. Academy Awards 1966. Golden Globe Awards 1966.
Robert Wise followed his mammothly successful The Sound Of Music with this giant war epic. Steve McQueen plays an engineer who boards a gunboat in 1920s China, rife with anger and resentment between Chinese and white sailors aboard. China itself is being torn apart by revolution, and the members of this boat have no choice but to get involved when they are required to travel up a dangerously guarded river to save a group of missionaries (one of them being an adorable and young Candice Bergen). McQueen is stalwart in the lead, while Richard Attenborough brings a lot of drama to his supporting role as a sailor who falls in love with a prostitute. It’s all very respectable stuff, but it also feels like it goes on forever.