Cinema: Foreign Devils Go Home

55 Days at Peking. The year is 1900. In a dragon-encrusted ballroom reminiscent of the lobby of Grauman's Chinese Theater, David Niven, the British ambassador to Peking, is throwing a diplomatic ball to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday. The music stops, and there is a shiver of terror: a brocaded sedan chair brings Prince Tuan, complete with jeweled-gold fingernail scabbards and about as welcome as Dr. Fu Manchu at a meeting of the A.M.A. Prince Tuan (ex-dancer Robert Helpmann) is the leader of the "Fists of Righteousness" (known as Boxers in the occidental press), those marauding rebels who are going about the...

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