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Tricia's retro film review: The Sand Pebbles

The Sand Pebbles


The Sand Pebbles is the 1966 historical film starring Steve McQueen. He stars as Machinist Mate Jake Holman, who works on a Navy ship in 1920’s China. He is happy to work on the ships engines when most of his fellow sailors prefer to let the Chinese do it. However, the natives are angry that the US has imperialist motives and rebel. Jake befriends missionaries Eckert and Jameson, who denounce what the US is doing. However, all of them are caught up in the historic events, especially when they are pushed out of China. What will happen to Jake and the others?

This movie is okay, although they mostly show the Chinese as superstitious or violent. There are a few exceptions, such as the Chinese Army, who are willing to act civil towards the US Navy even as they tell them to get out. Many modern viewers will side with the Chinese as they were taken advantage of by America. Luckily, the main character is sympathetic so we actually feel bad when he gets killed. Steve McQueen fans will get a kick out of seeing their favorite actor do what he does best. Honolulu film fans should rent this movie first.

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