NEW Sand Pebbles (DVD)
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the story of one Jake Holman, a sailor in the American gunboat navy in China. The Navy's mission is to protect American/Western missionaries, businessmen, their lives and property. Holman serves on the USS San Pablo, known to her crew as the "Sand Pebble." Holman has a passion for engines, and sought to serve on the Sand Pebble on the notion that his engineering expertise would make him valuable and autonomous aboard. Instead, he learns that each American sailor has a Chinese servant who actually performs all of that sailor's routine duties. Holman is thus effectively prevented from performing his engineering role. Nor are the Chinese, untrained in engineering and acting by wrote, able to safely handle the ship's power plant. An undercurrent to the story is Holman's struggle to get control of the management of the ship's antiquated but essential engines.
Holman's struggles to establish his place on the ship take place against the panorama of a China seeking to throw off foreign domination and become a modern nation-state. This is the larger story, effectively presented in this excellent film.
This film is a reasonably faithful adaptation of the bestselling novel of the same name. The cinamatography is superb, and the DVD appears to be a pretty good transfer from the original film. Recommended.
The movie is based on the novel by Richard McKenna. It centers on a salt of the Earth sailor stationed in a gunboat in the backwaters of China in 1926. This marks the beginnings of the civil wars in China, with Communists on one side and Nationalists on the other. The one thing that both sides can agree on is their desire to expell the western powers from China. The gunboat on which McQueen is stationed becomes a symbol of western imperialism by both sides, and the men unfortunate enough to be stationed on it become pawns in a chess game of propaganda.
The movie is an epic drama depicting a simple minded and ambitionless 'black gang' sailor from Ohio who joined the navy to excape reform school, and ends up being caught in the middle of the Chinese cultural revolution. Steve McQueen gives a brilliant performance as an unassuming 'squid' who is only interested in engines, beer, and girls. His simplicity makes him the virtuous and classical hero of this epic, since he is too simple to have any interest in the political games that he has been thrown into through no fault of his own.
Candice Bergen appears briefly in the film, playing the part of a missionarys daughter who takes a shine to McQueen.Read more ›
This is simply a classic of movie-making regardless of genre, era, or actors. It is top-notch in every respect.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A sailor is assigned to a new ship in 1926. The ship is to patrol around China. Turns out there are Chinese men that work on the ship as it can not run without them.(? Read morePublished 14 months ago by ellison
My love of Steve McQueen had me watching this moovie and was not very pleased have loaned it to my son in law with the waning to please return want to watch it more timesPublished on April 2 2014 by Cherry blair
Excellent movie, I would recommend it to anyone. Acting is great, scenery is good. A little long but well worth the time involved.Published on Nov. 25 2013 by Margaret McGregor
First movie I ever saw in a theatre that had an intermission in the middle of it. Steve McQueen is an awesome actor and he did a super job on this one.Published on Nov. 10 2013 by Diane Edwards
Great performance by a truly gifted and troubled man. STEVE MCQUEEN LIVES FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS and the films he made.Published on May 19 2013 by Chales V. Jones
I don't care if it's a metaphor for Vietnam because it's a good movie and a good story. The acting is fantastic and the action keeps you going. Read morePublished on Sept. 28 2003 by Ken Bailey
The Sand Pebbles is a huge epic of a movie detailing a time in U.S. history that most people prefer to forget. Read morePublished on Aug. 24 2003 by T O'Brien
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