The Sand Pebbles Movie Message Board (1999)

(Although individual responses are not listed here, I do answer all email I receive)

Subject: Steve McQueen
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 20:45:19 -0700
From: "Betty Rosenberg"
To: "Crispin Garcia"

I just got this add from a friend. I have book marked it. Thank you so much for all your time to put this together. I am a big fan, always have been, always will... Betty


Subject: Sand Pebbles Web site
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 14:50:25 -0800
From: "David Clayton"
To: "Crispin Garcia"

Dear Cris Garcia, many thanks for your message. I want to really compliment you on your well-designed and user friendly Sand Pebbles site. It's incredible and I think Steve McQueen would have been very pleased with it. As you may have guessed from my piece I like the film quite a bit--I think Wise did a much better job with it than with pictures like West Side Story or The Sound of Music. Do you know Run Silent, Run Deep that he also directed? It's an absolutely topnotch action picture that takes place on board a sub during WWII, with impressive performances by Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. It's available on a good DVD from MGM/UA, and I hope Fox will soon see fit to put out Sand Pebbles in this format. I haven't had a chance to post anything on my site for a few months, but I expect to do so in the near future. Once more, many thanks and best wishes for a happy holiday,
Dave C


Subject: SP British edition with green dust jacket
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 10:31:16 EDT
From: Alan Wilson
To: Cris Garcia

Hello Cris
Another little missive! This Brit' edition of SP with the green dust jacket. I'm now sending it with the flap notes, like you said, in jpg. It looks alright this end! Let me know?


Subject: The Sand Pebbles
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 19:24:50 +0100
To: Cris Garcia


Please excuse this intrusive missive, I just thought you might like to see a picture (Metropole Theater poster) from my collection?

I have been a fan of Mr McQueen since the mid 50s but I was really hooked after seeing the famous motorcycle jump by Bud Ekins in The Great Escape!

My favorite film though has to be The Sand Pebbles. I could get really boring but let me know what you think? please! My name is Alan Wilson, I am an aged musician/teacher, pushing 55 but I'm not speeding! Live in a small Hamlet near Coventry in the heart of England, UK


Subject: tsp
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 1999 18:32:10 EDT
From: Geoduc
To: Cris Garcia

Great site!

I first saw The Sand Pebbles in Subic Bay, Philippines in 1973 as an 18 year old seaman apprentice aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.

As someone who had vocally opposed our intervention in Vietnam throughout my high school years, I immediately identified with Jake Holman's ambivilance. But, despite believing that the war was wrong, I still believed in the idea of the "citizen-soldier" in a democratic society. Thus I am still moved by Lt. Collin's Flag Day speech, and I still hear it in my mind when I gaze with irritation at the Navy recruiting ads in the Sunday classifieds touting "a job like any other ..."

Of more long term consequence to me though was that the movie determined my career choice. I was instantly enamored of reciprocating steam engines, and spent the next six months fighting to have my rating changed from seaman to fireman.

I left the Navy a third class machinist's mate, and began shipping in the merchant marine. Although most of my career as a marine engineer has been on steam turbine and diesel propelled vessels, I spent the summer of 1977 working on the SS Amoco Illinois, a Great Lakes tanker built in 1918 and fitted with fire tube boilers and a triple expansion recip engine just like San Pablo (only bigger).

Last year while working on a modern containership with a 57,000hp diesel and all the digital bells and whistles, I came across a video of TSP. I strong-armed the 19 year old engine cadet from the US Merchant Marine Academy into watching it with me.

I could see the reluctance to watch this "old man's movie" in his eyes until the engineroom scenes began and he was mesmerized like I was all those years ago.

I just read through the TSP Forum and was amazed at how others were affected by the movie in ways so similar to how I was.

I wonder if the guy who was on the USS Blue Ridge in '89 has ever thought about how that ship's role in 1975 symbolized the ignonimy of the end of our venture in Vietnam the way the final scenes of TSP did our role in China in the twenties?

I remember being overcome with emotion at the scenes on the evening news of the waves of helicopters flying out to the Blue Ridge from South Vietnamese army bases. With no room left to stow them, they were pushed over the side as the people disembarked. Dozens of them.

I recently worked with a guy who was one of the crewmembers pushing them overboard.

Phillip Hellesto
Bellingham, Wa

Subject: AMC Cuts?
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 09:19:40 -0700 (PDT)
To: Crispin Garcia


I'm back on line again and just wanted to re-connect with you and also tell you how disappointed I was when AMC ran the widescreen SAND PEBBLES a few months ago. Yes, I taped it and the wide-screen photography was SPLENDID - I really would like to see this on a big screen once more - but did you notice the cut as the first half drew to a close? Jake leaves Richard Crenna's office, walks on deck as the magnificent score repeats the main theme softly at first (and all the themes set up so far in the movie come together) and then comes to a crashing climax as we see a long shot of McQueen standing on deck and the ship chugs away from us, upstage as it were - a great scene, very dramatic, and this signals the end of the first "act" - good theater! However, on AMC they chopped it and went right into the opening of the second act with the ship coming towards us - very confusing if you've never seen the film before and certainly not in keeping with the director's intentions. I'm surprised at AMC for showing a cut version unless this is the only widescreen one that survives? Still it was great to see most of the film in it's original ratio, but let's try and get it screened in NYC in a more complete form.

It's great to be back!

Subject: Mckenna
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 13:48:36 EDT
From: Limpet6
To: Cris Garcia


For those who enjoyed reading Mckenna, I suggest White Hats by Floyd Beaver published by Glencannon Press in Palo Alto. It is a collection of short stories by Beaver reminescent of The Left-Handed Monkey Wrench. Two stories "The Asiatic" and "Look-see Pidgin" are of particular interest to China sailors.

I have no idea what Beaver's background is, but it all rings true.

Ding hao,
Roger Crossland

Subject: Liberty Cuffs
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 13:30:45 EDT
From: Limpet6
To: Cris Garcia


In response to Alan's post on in the Sand Pebbles forum, embroidery on the inside of the cuff's was always "unauthorized" and wearing the uniform with the sleeves rolled up was likewise unauthorized.

Yet sailors have always been creatively artistic dating from scrimshaw and ships in bottles. At the turn of the century they did their own embroidery and there was really no limit to what they could stitch into the whole uniform, see Alden's Steel Navy. Sometimes they would completely rip apart a uniform and sew it and tailor it back from scratch.

Then things tightened up a bit by the time of the Great White Fleet. Tailor-mades were never authorized, but what skipper would could really object to a sailor on liberty looking particularly sharp? Don't answer that. Battleships and cruisers were particularly plain vanilla and their were others who saw pride and creativity as slightly subversive. Rolling up your dungaree sleeves (a work uniform not in the public eye) was a high crime on a cruiser.

Many tailor-mades had exaggerated bell-bottoms, a fully embroidered lining, and fit so snugly they could not be taken off over the head. They had a hidden zipper that went up the side which had to be unzipped first. You carried your wallet slung over your waistband and everything else in your socks (cigarettes, socks, flask).

As for the cuffs some were embroidered right into the tailor-made uniform where the uniform was made (likely in China, Japan, and the Philippines) but I can remember seeing ready made patches in all the stateside Army & Navy stores.

Ding hao,
Roger Crossland

Subject: Re: The Sand Pebbles
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 1999 17:00:38 -0500
From: "Alan"
To: "Crispin Garcia"


Thanks for the reply, glad the tidbit was helpful.

I'm an old fan of TSP and Steve McQueen as well. I remember first seeing the film when I was about fifteen and several times thereafter. I must say, the wide screen version completely blew me away!

Especially noteworthy were the "Ski vs. Po Han" fight scene and the SP approaching the river blockade. It's striking how much of the film I had actually "missed". The widescreen version of the film has recently aired on the Bravo Channel.

Regarding your site, it was easy to find ... I just did a simple search with Alta Vista.

I also wanted to mention a bit of Navy trivia to you. In the scene with Jake and Candice (her character name escapes me for the moment) near the elephant statue, Jake has his sleeves rolled up. If you look closely on his rolled up sleeves you can see drawings. My Dad was a WWII Navy veteran and had dragons embroidered on the inside of his dress blue blouse sleeves. You could only roll up the sleeves to display the dragons off the ship as this was considered being out of uniform. I can't recall if the sailors used local tailors to customize the sleeves but I'll confirm this and get back with you.

That last bit might be more information than you wanted but thanks for indulging me.

Talk soon,

Subject: Another book recommendation
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 14:20:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: gbrillan
To: Cris Garcia

Dear Mr. Garcia:

I read through Mr. Mike Leonard's suggested reading list and was pleased of the amount of sources on the US Asiatic Fleet. Anyway, I became interested in "The Sand Pebbles" due to my research and freelance comparative history writing on naval history and diplomacy. The first book I got my hands on the US experience in China was Bernard Cole's "Gunboats and Marines". As far as I know the book is out of print but was available in my local university library. The book is more or less an analysis until the 1930's of the Yangtze Patrol and just as valuable as a bibliographic list of primary sources on the Yangtze Patrol. At any rate, don't forget to add this book.


Subject: Sand Pebbles Web Site Fans
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 18:05:09 -0400
From: "Mike Leonard"
To: Cris Garcia

For anyone who enjoyed The Sand Pebbles film and/or book version, some other books I can recommend are:

"The Fleet the Gods Forgot" by Edwin P. Hoyt
"The Lonely Ships: The Life & Death of the US Asiatic Fleet" by W. G. Winslow
"The Last Battle Station" by Duane Schultz
"The Ghost that Died at Sunda Strait" by W. G. Winslow
(Those last two are about the fleet flagship Houston.)
"The Panay Incident: Prelude to Pearl Harbor" by Hamilton D. Perry
"South to Java" (Novel) by William P. Mack

There's a fairly large model of the Panay about to be released. I can provide more information for anybody who is interested.

Forget the butchered stuff on cable TV and get the video to really enjoy the movie.

Alexandria, VA USA

Subject: The Sand Pebbles
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 20:04:48 EDT
From: Limpet6
To: Cris Garcia

Mr. Garcia

Just wandered into your website. In 1967 I was a USNR midshipman who was to later serve in Vietnam and South Korea. In both places I worked on a day to day basis with the locals and went "indigenous" or as they said in an earlier age "went Asiatic." The Sand Pebbles was the movie I think that prompted me to volunteer for these assignments. I saw it several times and now have the two part video and two Asian born children.

I am a writer now and interested in any books or materials on Asiatic Station during the period 1900 - 1935 and would welcome suggestions from your San Pebbles. I have the Tolley and McKenna books and am looking for something more. Just finished Tomlinson's "A Rocky Mountain Sailor in Teddy Roosevelt's Navy."

On a completely different subject, I am a Sea Scout leader ( for the Boy Scouts' Navy and have created a tradition of issuing "Liberty Cuffs" for Sea Scout events. Now where did I get the idea? Watching Steve McQueen rowing Candice Bergen, and then serving in the pre-Zumwalt days when crackerjack uniforms were worn with panache.

Enjoyed the website.

Fair winds, following seas,

Roger Crossland

Subject: Sand Pebbles
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 23:35:55 -0700
From: "Ronald D. Ghiselli"
To: Cris Garcia

I came across your sight via the Yangtze Patrol site. Great stuff. I have been a military history buff for some time (I spent 23 years in the army & my dad was a career Marine - so it runs in the family). I am always a sucker for a GOOD historical film & TSP ranks with the best.

I now work at a high school in a classified position (ie, I don't teach). One of my friends who does teach history spends more than the average amount of time on the period between the wars.

One of the films he uses in the classroom is TSP. Students (10th-11th grade) are hooked. Although the film is a little long for classroom showing (it usually takes 3 days), the kids don't want to miss any of it. They demand that the entire film be shown. I think it is a combination of the quality of the film (the acting, the production values, etc) and the subject matter that intrigue them.

It's good to see that such a classic film is not being forgotten and there is a new generation out there ready to take the voyage with Jake.

Keep up the good work.

Ron Ghiselli

Subject: uncut T.S.P. laser disc with extras
Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 12:36:33 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Ducar
To: Cris Garcia


Just came across your site and thought you might like to hear about what the wide-screen laser disc was supposed to be like. Let me know what you think.

About a year before the laser was released (around 1992) I heard that Bart Pierce (in charge of Fox laser releases at that time) was planning a SAND PEBBLES special edition with extras. I contacted him and asked if he was going to put back the missing 10-12 minutes of footage. He said he would like to but that he could not find any of it in the vaults. I put him in contact with a private film collector who had an uncut 35mm print. Don't believe the people who say only the 70mm blow-ups were uncut. Bart watched the uncut print and even though the color had started to turn pink, figured they could correct most of it in the video transfer. As far as the extras go, he did not have too much publicity material so I sent him all of mine to use as he saw fit. This material included the pressbook, insert (14x36) poster, program book, B & W 8x10 still set, color 11x14 photo set printed in Italy, Sounds of Making LP record and a 16mm print of the 14 minute behind the scenes featurette on the making of the movie. I was providing all of this for free in exchange for getting my name listed at the end of the disc. I said I only wanted to make sure that other fans of the film could see something that they might not have seen before. Of course there would be no problem with disc space since even the short version would have to use all four sides of two discs. As the months went by a friend of mine who worked in a video store that sold laser-discs called to tell me that they just got in the new SAND PEBBLES disc. When I asked him about the extra footage and the supplemental material, he said the chapter stops only indicated a three hour movie on four sides. The rest, as they say, is history. Just because they have the extra material, does not mean they will use it. The 16mm featurette did show some of the missing final boat battle footage. They never sent anything back to me so who knows where it is now.

Bart Pierce did say that even though Fox paid those people to make the featurette years ago, he might not be able to put it on the disc unless they got their permission. I guess it was too hard back then to make up a contract that said we (Fox) can do whatever we want with the material that we are paying you to make for us.

I suggested that if they could not use the featurette, at least use the audio of the Making Of record and present all the photos and printed material as a slide show. I thought they could at least do that since they did show publicity material (posters & lobby cards) at the end of the JOURNEY TO CENTER OF THE EARTH disc. I thought wrong.

Let me know what you think and if you ever got to see that featurette years ago. Now I'm thinking I might have video-taped it off the movie screen before I sent it to Bart.

Best wishes,

Subject: Sand Pebbles website
Date: Mon, 03 May 1999 23:43:22 -0700
From: "Justin T. Broderick"
To: Cris Garcia

Dear Mr. Garcia,

My compliments on your excellent website for an excellent movie. I just re-read _The Sand Pebbles_, and your site and links helped a lot. I really appreciate the work you're doing.

While I was reading, I tried to keep a list of all the Sand Pebbles, since there are quite a few in the book. Attached is the list in HTML format, you can use it if you'd like. If you have any corrections or additions, please let me know.

Again, keep up the good work (I know how much time you have to put in!).

Best regards,
Justin Broderick
Salt Lake City

Subject: Steve McQueen
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 16:28:39 +0100
From: "Roger Harris"
To: Crispin Garcia

I love your site! Sand Pebbles is one of the greatest films ever made!

Can I invite you to view my site, the Steve McQueen Film Poster Site at

Roger Harris

Subject: Website
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 15:04:08 -0400
From: Henault_Gary
To: Cris Garcia

Came across your website after looking for information on the epic masterpiece "The Sand Pebbles". "Outstanding" website. I'm an ex Navy enlisted man and made a couple Westpac cruises in the 80's. The Sand Pebbles has always been regarded by many Navy people as probably the finest film made about the Navy. I happened to notice that no Gunboats such as the San Pablo exists any longer. When I was in San Diego I was involved with a friend of mine in restoring an old Chris Craft yacht (51' 1959 model). While we were at the Navy Yacht club a boat was tied up not far from ours that greatly resembled a San Pablo type Gunboat. Unfortunately as many times that I passed by this boat I never took any photo's. With the exception of a smoke stack this boat was almost identical to a Gunboat. It was called the La Osa. It was owned by an older couple and I never saw them take this boat the entire time I was there. Anyway great to have found your web site. Keep up the "Outstanding" work.

Gary Henault AK1 USNR (RET)

Subject: Re: The Sand Pebbles
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 22:32:44 EST
From: JMogan3870
To: Cris Garcia

Thanks for the reply! One thing that I've noticed is that the current release on tape and seen on AMC is minus several scenes I recall from the original. For example, in the voyage up the Yangzte from Hankow after Jake joins the ship's company, I recall that the San Pablo took rifle fire from "bandits" on a small island which was responded to by fire from a Lewis Gun. The current version shows the San Pablo coming abreast of the island and then cuts to Jake in the engine room working on the bearing problem. I also believe that the lead into the fight at the boom was longer. If I'm not mistaken, one of the antique cannons scored a hit, causing a fire amidship and that the boarding party were shown putting on leggings and then fixing their bayonets. Do you think that a director's cut restoring the lost scenes will be released. It would certainly add continuity to the story as well as add to the flavor of the days of the Yangtze Patrol. And isn't Kemp Tolley's book (I have a copy, of course) a nice chair side reference when watching the movie. The boarding party sequence look's like it jumps right out from the photo of USS Mindinao's boarding party. One of my former student assistants here at Texas Tech is from Hunan Province (will ironies never end?). He's read my copy of Kemp Tolley and we've discussed the movie and gunboats on numerous occasions.

I'll try to stay in touch.

Jim Mogan

Subject: Bravissimo, CGarcia!
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 22:54:29 -0800
From: memarra1sd
Organization: @Home Network
To: Cris Garcia

Dear CGarcia,
I just got linked to your website on The Sand Pebbles ... from Internet Movie Database.

FIRST: I have to thank you for posting all the panels from Mad Magazine's parody -- The SAM Pebbles. God, how I miss the Mad Bent Perspective!!! And the Mad Crew did an excellent job with TSP.

SECOND: I ended up at your site thru a bizarre route. I first saw The Sand Pebbles at - GULP - West Point. Pretty funny for a dedicated, ultra-left liberal and antiwar sort. But I was mistakenly dating a guy who was attending The Point.

What I remember most from that first viewing is the river battle - where our hero Steve McQ is hacking thru the hemp cables between junks - and these Future Army Officers in the West Point screening room yelled out: CUT OUT THE ANNAPOLIS CRAP!! Guess it's military humor.

The Sand Pebbles just showed up on American Movie Channel [3-99]. And I decided to add it to my Classics Collection of tapes. I've now re-watched it so many times, I may have degraded the tape.

That sent me to IMdB. And their "Miscellaneous" navigation bar button sent me to your site.

Thanks. I'm thoroughly impressed at the range and depth of info you've included on your site. (I thought I was a little weird for being obsessive about Sand Pebbles. NOT.)

M.E. Marra
San Diego, CA

Subject: The Sand Pebbles
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 21:30:52 EST
From: JMogan3870
To: Cris Garcia

Your web site is great and brought back fond memories. When the movie first opened in St. Petersburg, I took my older brother (on leave and on his way to Vietnam). I must have went back a half a dozen times. It helped inspire me to apply to the Asian Studies program at the University of Oregon. In 1968 after I graduated from HS and before heading to Eugene, I spent the summer in St. Malo, France attending school. But to my surprise, my favorite film was showing at a little theatre in St. Servan, dubbed in French. Even though I had understood most of the dialogue, it didn't matter as I had memorized the English. Your writer from Quebec was right, that title was what they used in France (translated: The Gunboat of the Yangtze). The only disappointment was that the girl I had wanted to take was off on a field trip to the Loire! My attachment didn't end there. When I got to Eugene, OR in September of 68, I went shopping and found the sound track (finally) at the Bon Marche Department Store. I still have and treasure it. And, during an active military career that spanned parts of three decades, I never ceased to forget and often quoted Lieut. Collins' Flag Day speech to the crew. I even wound up marrying a girl named Eckert. Unbelievably ironic! Your work on this web site is deeply appreciated.

Jim Mogan
Slaton, TX

Subject: The Sand Pebbles
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 23:33:21 -0900
From: "Jerry E.Reagan"
To: Cris Garcia

I just want to say thanks for your website. Like many others who have visted your site I have found that my own experiences in Asia were mirrored in this great movie. I highly recommened both the novel "The Sand Pebbles" and Richard Mckenna's collection of short stories "The Left Handed Monkey Wrench". In many ways I think that McKenna captures what is the essence of being a career NCO in the military better than even James Jones. As a parting thought, I read the Sand Pebbles as a senior in high school and saw it as a great adventure story. Many, many, years later after tours in Viet-Nam and Korea, I wish I had read a little closer. Thanks again.

Jerry E. Reagan
Delta Junction Alaska

Subject: Sand Pebbles
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 05:21:40 -0800
From: Dennis Page
To: "'Cris Garcia'"

Dear Mr. Garcia:

Yesterday a fellow teacher e-mailed me your website address and some copies of movie posters for the movie The Sand Pebbles. When I opened the message and saw the posters my face must have registered something strange because two young ladies asked, "Mr. Page, are you Okay"? What a rush.

In '65 I graduated from high school and had read the book and was most impressed by it. Little did I know that in a few years I would be stationed at the Taiwan Defense Command in Taipei for 15 months and those 15 months would be like stepping into the pages of that book. Most of us in Taipei became enamored with the country and the people. Many of us "youngsters" got to see the real world and in effect became China Sailors who would "go bamboo". Towards the end of my tour I did not feel like returning to the States because the U.S. was not real anymore. From Taiwan I transferred to a ship in the Tonken Gulf just so I would not have to leave the Orient. The ship was finally rotated back to the U.S. and I had to return to the states, but not for long. After contacting the assignments desk for Navy Personnel in Washington I picked up orders to report to the Navy Advisory Group in Vietnam. After training stateside I arrived at Ton Son Nhut airport late in the afternoon and while traveling to the enlisted barracks on China Road I deeply inhaled the air and like Jake Holman felt that I was finally home where I belonged.

To say that the book/story of the crew of the San Pablo was only fiction is wrong. It paralleled the many lives of those who served in the Orient and who's lives have been changed by the experience.

Last Memorial Day I took my dress blues out of the cedar closet to show my two kids my proudest possession of my military service. In the compound were we lived in Taipei was Mr. Loo's tailor shop. In the window of his shop was a close-up photo of Mr. McQueen sitting in a rowboat. The cuffs on his blue jumper were rolled back and displayed his Dragon Liberty Cuffs. I asked Mr. Loo where they were made and he told me that he made them for Mr. McQueen. I asked if he would make an identical pair for me and he did so. For the rest of my service time those dragons saw me through a lot. One day those will be my children's. Perhaps I should have them mounted and framed as a symbol of good luck for each of them.

I'm sorry if I've rambled on but thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my part of the Sand Pebble story with you and your readers.

Best of luck with this Website.
Dennis Page

Follow-up message:

Mr. Garcia...

The photo in Mr. Loo's window was a black and white almost identical to the one you have sent me. Those are the liberty cuffs that Mr. Loo made for my dress blues. Thanks so much for your kind reply. With the other photos on your website the memories came flooding back so intensely. When I arrived in Taipei the movie had been out for about a year and some of the sailors at USTDC (United States Taiwan Defense Command) had been there when the film crew were present. They told me that some of their fondest memories were of Mr. McQueen riding motorcycles throughout the island with them. He used to frequent the "66 Club" which was the enlisted men's club and he spent much of his time talking with the 'old salts' who were a real study in actual China Sailors. He (McQueen) characterized the typical 'lifer' who was always searching for something and when he found it (happiness) it is denied him.

Thanks again for this Great website. I'll be back.
Dennis Page

Subject: Your wonderful site for a wonderful flick
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 23:50:49 EST
From: Oldndazed
To: Cris Garcia

Just this evening I happened to come across The Sand Pebbles running on AMC. This is one of my all time favorite movies -- so much so that I had to learn more about it. So I turned on the trusty computer and went online in search of some info. I was so fortunate to discover this site (a real gold mine). I was surprised to learn that this movie has such a devoted following. It seems that SP never got the recognition that it so richly deserves. Kudos to you for creating this wonderful shrine.

Just a little personal background. I was an enlisted sailor in the US Navy in the late sixties, the height of the Viet Nam "conflict." It was 1968 or 69 and I was on liberty one day in Japan. The Sand Pebbles was playing at a downtown theater, I had some time to kill and paid the 200 Yen and was treated to one of my most memorable movie experiences ever! I was drawn into the movie and could relate to much of the political parallels depicted so eloquently.

I have always been a huge Steve McQueen fan. I loved his depiction of Jake, so much so that I styled my white sailor cover (hat) just the way Jake did. The entire cast was wonderful, the cinematography spectacular, in short, this flick is an epic to be enjoyed over and over again. Again, thank you for this site and to all fans of The Sand Pebbles.


Subject: Great Site!
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 19:55:42 EST
From: DGlas40168
To: Cris Garcia

Just happen to come across your site and what a pleasure it was to find I wasn't the only "Sand Pebbles" fan around. I served 10 years active duty in the Navy and the similarities between Holman and myself were spooky (probably many others feel the same way.) Thanks again for the great site.


Subject: RE: sandpebbles contest
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 13:05:00 -0500
From: "Mark Harris
To: Cris Garcia

The Sand Pebbles had that rare something that after watching it as a kid, I always remembered, acting, action. I'm a huge McQueen fan and there are scenes in the movie between him and Candice Bergman that I felt were really special...he deserved that Oscar. The end of course is memorable..."What the hell happened!" McQueen was more than an action star...there was something else...something I related to like a favorite baseball team or superhero. The scenes with the engine were genuine. I recently saw a tribute to the director of The Sand Pebbles, I was glad to see highlights from the film. I think of this movie in the same vein of Bridge On The River Kwai....classic.


Subject: Re: Contest
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 08:48:48 EST
To: Cris Garcia

Aside from the lavish cinematography, the way the movie consciously says something about the Vietnam War...and war in powerful. And the ending--stunning, brutal, shocking, yet somehow inevitable--makes it better than any war movie of its time.

I saw the movie for the first time about 10 years ago on local tv here in Chicago. It was in the summertime and I was going out and just happened to flip on the tube. I never did go out that day. I've always been amazed at how this movie has been overlooked--which is why I'm glad to find your website.


Subject: The Sand Pebbles
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 14:39:58 -0500
From: dc brm
To: Cris Garcia


Your site is very well, continue your good work. My english is not very good, I'm french canadian.

You know the title in french ? La canonnière du Yang-Tsé
Canonnière = Gunboat in english.
Yang-Tsé is a river

This movie in french Canada was very popular movie in 1966-67. McQueen was extraordinary in the character of Jake Holman. More true than nature! The Sand Pebbles is like a great french wine. More old, better is the taste.

Long life at your web site on this movie.

Merci et à bientôt !

Daniel Cyr


Subject: Re: The Sand Pebbles...
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 21:28:10 EST
From: PR818
To: Cris Garcia

Many thanks for the e-mail. You obviously have spent much time and energy on your site and for the director not to acknowledge this effort and your devotion to his film is most unforgiveable. I know of no other film that has such an 'unofficial' site following such as yours...

It is also hard to believe that the missing 12 minutes or so can't be inserted into the film for theatrical presentation or at least video. If they have the cut scenes it can be done. Look at the miracles Harris and Katz were able to perform with Lawrence of Arabia and Spartacus among others. Years after the Lawrence restoration Harris is still hoping to restore another 2 1/2 minutes into the film. So I would disagree with the statement that 12 minutes is not much. The 12 minutes makes the film more epic and it does help the flow. Compare Lawrence's 200 minute version and the 217 minute version and you will know what I mean. All it takes is the devotion of the filmakers and some money. Obviously Fox and/or Wise are not interested.

I did not see the site on South Pacific but I do know the complete Roadshow 180 minute version exists somewhere while all the Fox laserdiscs and the upcoming DVD is at 157 minutes.

Fox did put out a complete Diary of Anne Frank but that was I believe from the personal copy of George Stevens.

Is there a website that I can locate for that 'discussion' ( Also, do you have Robert Harris' e-mail address...I know he's been very busy with the restoration of another Hitchock' thiller Rear Window. I'm going to ask him who to contact at Fox. And I'm also interested in the missing 2 1/2 minutes from 'Lawrence' and whether he's finally been given the approval from Columbia Picures to proceed.

In any case you have a great site...the film deserves a better treatment than it's been given...perhaps a letter to Fox and/or Fox video will get them moving...who knows.

good luck and thanks

Subject: Re: The Sand Pebbles motion picture...
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 15:25:43 -0500
From: "Robert A. Harris"
To: Crispin Garcia

Crispin Garcia wrote:
Hello Mr. Harris,

I have maintained a "Sand Pebbles" website for the past year and was recently told by Joe Caporiccio that the film elements for a restoration no longer exist. The current laserdisc version of the film is listed at 182 minutes but accounts put the original roadshow version at 194 - 196 minutes.

Do you have any additional information on this issue? Thank you,

Response from Robert Harris:


Saw film in 70mm in original release in 66-67 - long version.

I wouldn't make an assumption based upon the above testimony (re: correspondence from Joe Caporiccio) that the long version is unrestorable. The trick is whether Fox has the interest to restore it.


Subject: Sand Pebbles
Date: Mon, 01 Feb 1999 17:15:06 -0800
From: emmett
To: Cris Garcia


What more can I say? I first read "The Sand Pebbles" in around 1973. I still have that paper back copy and several hard bound copies as well. The movie is one of my all time favorites. I watch it 2 or 3 times a year. Thanks so much for the web site, keep up the good work! Thanks again, I'll be back often!

Bob K.
Coarsegold, Ca.

Subject: Letter to Joe Caporiccio on The Sand Pebbles
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999
From: Cris Garcia

Hello Mr. Caporiccio,

I caught your input on "The South Pacific" exchange in the newsgroup on 1/23/99. I recognized your name from a 1994 issue of The Perfect Vision pertaining to a question on "The Sand Pebbles". My impression at the time was that you knew quite a bit of the movie's history.

I have maintained a "Sand Pebbles" website for the past year and have gotten different technical questions on the motion picture for which I did not have any definitive answers. I wrote to Robert Wise, a few months ago, with some of the questions but never got a response back. If you could help out with answers on some these questions it would help a great deal.

Here is one letter I received that pretty much sums up many of the questions: Click here if you wish to read original letter.

Also Joseph MacDonald (TSP cinematographer) is listed as passing away in May 1968 but there is no exact date or cause given anywhere on the internet. Any information here?

Any light you could shed on these questions would be much appreciated by all TSP fans and myself. Thank you.


Response from Joe Caporiccio:

Hi -
I've looked at the cutting continuity and while some footage is missing it's not a lot - a small attack on the boat going down river at the beginning - a love montage with the passing of seasons in China, the Sand Pebbles on fire during the final battle - maybe 12 minutes at most. The film was 2:35 (after 1956 standard widescreen was this ratio) and 70mm (at 2:1 roughly) - only the 70mm were the uncut - Fox cannot restore this because the actual negative and soundtrack was cut to conform to the short version - I know having gone through all of the material on the film. The film was blown up from 35mm and that negative is cut. The overture used in the film is the one on the laser - the one on the record was never used - Fox wanted to plug the love theme.