"The Sand Pebbles" re-created old China on the
rivers, in the low hills and on the streets of Taiwan.
Obviously, the film could not re-visit Hunan Province,
deep in Communist territory, the setting of Richard
McKenna's best-selling novel. Yet, I feel there was an
advantage in making a major portion of "The Sand
Pebbles" on the island of Taiwan and in its capital
city, Taipei. With its hundreds of thousands of Mainland
refugees, Taiwan is the melting pot of China -
its dialects, foods and centuries-old customs.
In selecting specific filming areas on Taiwan, we were always aware of the Mainland counterparts. For instance, across the Siang River from Changsha, in old China, is a large mountain, landmark for junks that traverse slowly from Siangtan to Tungting Lake. We found that mountain across from the tiny fishing village of Tam Sui on the Taiwan river of the same name. We then transformed Tam Sui into a 1926 "Changsha."
For our "Shanghai street" of the "Sand Pebbles" story, we selected a crowded alley in the heart of Taipei and turned the clock back forty years. I feel we succeeded in re-creating the China of that period for some of the refugees looked at the street with longing eyes, saying, "Yes, that's the way it was."
I hope you will enjoy "The Sounds of Making a
Motion Picture." We wanted to share with you some
of the aural excitement and atmosphere of an unusual
location in the Far East.
Webmaster's Note: This album is now included on the Sand Pebbles DVD...in the Extra Features section. The DVD audio has been divided into two separate sections, "Changsha Bund and the Streets of Taipei" and "A Ship Called San Pablo" (not to be confused with the featurette of the same name).
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