The Sand Pebbles Movie Message Board (2003)

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

From: Edward J. Kemp
Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 1:11 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebble Script

I just found your web site a few days ago and have really been enjoying it! This is one of my favorite films and its one of those movies I can watch repeatedly. I was wondering about the script on the site, it says its an early revision, will there be changes made to it or? (None planned - Ed.) Thank you for your time and this great web resource!

Edward J. Kemp
San Diego, CA

From: Lee Stamm
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2003 11:07 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Just a fan

I am happy to see so many other folks out there who appreciate this wonderful motion picture. I first saw it in its theatrical release way back in the 60's and have seen it countless times since. I have always told anyone who was interested that if they didn't think Steve McQueen was a great actor, watch TSP. And the same goes for Richard Crenna, not to mention the rest of the superb cast. I served in the Navy myself, and admire the authenticity and realism. It's unavoidable to note the parallels with world events in the decades since the 1920's, right up to this day. Thanks for all of the work on your excellent site and in keeping this great movie's legacy alive.

Lee Stamm

From: Gil Valle
Sent: Thursday, December 25, 2003 5:42 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: The Sand Pebbles...

Dear Cris,

The cinematographer, Joe MacDonald, was an old family friend and I always thought his work on this film was great, as of course is the picture (one of my favorites). Joe was a fine still photographer and also shot a lot of 16mm home movie footage too (it's likely he shot some while on location). I saw the picture while I was in the service and lost touch with the MacDonald family in the years after. It would be a great tribute to Joe to have this film restored, as it would be for all those who were part of making it. But mostly, it would be a grand epic picture for the new audience of today, certainly on par with 20th's "Master & Commander". I hope some progress can be made on this project.

It may take interest by bigwigs at UCLA, USC, Lib. of Cong. and AFI to move 20th Corporate --to say nothing of profit payback-- for the restoration project to be put on the front burner over current short-funded nitrate salvage efforts. But, one can hope.

Also, bought the 'Sand Pebbles' Varese Sarabande music CD: what a fine web experience. I've bought MANY dollars worth of products and services over the years (almost 15 now) via the web ... highly recommended!

Thanks for your great web site. It was a wonderful find.

Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year,

Gil Valle

From: Tim Neil
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2003 6:56 PM
To: Crispin Garcia

Hello Crispin,

A short email to Thank You for this treasure you have developed known on the internet as The Sand I have long been a fan of Steve McQueen and found your site last year. I have returned to it many times and consider it an old friend.

The movie was an outstanding achievement well documented in your site. I remember it well from my youth and continue to watch it a number of times on the DVD format purchased last year. I have added my name to your petition to have the DVD reissued in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the film release and trust our request for restoration will be done. This would be a fitting tribute to you for your efforts to maintain the integrity and memory of the original release.

The addition of the original overture from the Varese Sarabande 1997 release would truly complete the themes section.

Yours truly,
Tim Neil

From: Jim Smith
To: Crispin Garcia
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 6:16 PM
Subject: The Sand Pebbles

Mr. Garcia-

I just found your site. I am very impressed with the effort you have made to honor this film classic. Like so many others, this film is one of my all-time favorites and seems to have always coursed its way through my life.

First time I ever went to the movies without my parents was in 1969 at the Broadway Theater in Santa Ana California. I was all of nine years old. The double feature was The Planet of the Apes and The Sand Pebbles. I remember feeling a bit naughty watching the gangsters and sailors strip the girl on the table. (Wow! Good thing my mom isn’t here!) The “Death of One Thousand Cuts” scene also was burned into my fourth grade psyche.

Now fast forward three years and I am a young American living in Taipei Taiwan. (Here is the Walter Mitty version of the John Norris story.) I spend the next six years on the island and become fascinated with the stories of the production shared by locals and long-term residents. I hookup with other kids who were similarly drawn to this film and we set of on a mission to uncover what we could recall from the limited showings of the film as part of the Taipei American School film club. The films would arrive by mail and we would enjoy a 1-2 week rental period that allowed almost unlimited access to a very shopworn 16mm set of reels. We watched the reels out of sequence and thoroughly enjoyed our new version almost as much as the original. Hopping trains to Keelung, we try to find the “Shanghai bund”. We would also hitchhike to Tamsui and scout out all the recognizable locations we could envision. Classmates, who were children during the production, told recollections of older siblings venturing out to the sets to try and catch a glimpse of or an autograph from Mr. McQueen or Miss Bergen. And “old Taiwan hands” who served as extras on the San Pablo crew regale us with ribald tales of the energetic forays into the Taipei nightlife with the cast and crew.

After college, I finally get a VCR and settle for a pan and scan version of this classic. Who’s complaining right? I watch it countless times, turn my wife onto it and now have the opportunity to introduce it to my kids. I made this title my very first DVD purchase. (Actually simultaneously with Lawrence of Arabia, but that’s another message board).

I look forward to the restoration of this masterpiece and commend your efforts to achieve the same. I will continue to visit your website and regard it as the definitive resource and tribute to this film.

Thank you.

James K. Smith A.I.A.
Associate/Project Architect

From: Steven Luchsinger
Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2003 3:28 PM
To: Crispin Garcia

Congratulations on a great site and a well deserved tribute to an extraordinary motion picture. Sure, I'd be pleased to have my scribblings included. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I had just been watching TSP, I just got it recently on DVD, and I wondered if there was any info on the net. Well, was I surprised. So I put down some random thoughts rather late at night, so I don't remember what I put down, but TSP does require restoration and "doon kai" to Fox if they balk. That'd be great to be on the message board, I'd love to talk to some Sand Pebbles. Click here to email.

"A fantastic motion picture! A really superb production the likes of which we will never see again, and was even unique for the times in 1966. If it hadn't been for a director of the caliber of Robert Wise we would not have a picture of this magnitude. I first saw this film when I was 5 years old. Imagine having a five year old seeing a movie like this! Though it's been nearly 40 years I still can't watch the scene of Pohan's death of a thousand cuts. This is truely an "adult" film, not what they consider "adult" today. My father was in the Navy during the Korean War and served in the Far East, then he read McKenna's Sand Pebbles in the early 60's. He enjoyed the book so much he eagerly anticipated the film for about a year before it came out. The final production was so beautifully wrought it became a favorite for all time. Even though the period of the film was 26 years before my Dad's time in the Navy, the writing and acting was so authentic it reminded him vividly of his service and solidified his love and romance of China. As for me it confirmed my interest in Asia and drew me to Hollywood as well. Anyway, a great film and a motion picture not only worthy of restoration -- demanding of it!"

Thanks again,


From: Deborah Young-Groves
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 2:21 PM
To: Crispin Garcia


OOHH - THIS IS SO GREAT!!! I had NO IDEA this was out there!! THANK you so much for the site!!

I HOPE they re-insert those moments (deleted scenes). I have to admit, I had forgotten them, as it has been years - I truly agree with you about Crenna - he had an edge to him that was not previously noted (well maybe in SLATTERY's PEOPLE). BUT he went on to win an EMMY for THE RAPE OF RICHARD BECK - I was so glad for him.

I always felt that the Sand Pebbles film was perfect- but the book was so wonderful I would have liked a longer mini-series to be done. OF course CRENNA would have been perfect as LT COLLINS - but Mc Queen would have been hard to improve on. NEVER MIND.

I cannot tell you how many times I ditched school when the film was shown at the theatres. Today we have lost the concept of how thrilling the return of a favorite film can be because we can simply anticipate DVD or VHS release.


From: Deborah Young-Groves
Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 11:42 PM
To: Crispin Garcia

I live in CANADA - From the beginning SP was my favourite movie- I adored it and the music and always had a fascination with the ORIENT. I have to admit I went to this film because of the ORIENT and Steve McQueen but when the film was over McQueen was forgotten and the new star on my horizon was Richard Crenna. Mr. Crenna always said that this was his favourite movie.

I was a Tour Director for several years. On April 25, 1983 I had the amazing luck to run into Mr. Crenna at the LA Farmer's Market. He was elegant, gracious, charming and we chatted for a while about the movie. He also sent me some great photos and a lovely note. I cannot tell you how thrilling it all was, and I have several photos for posterity.

I was very upset to learn of Mr. Crenna's demise last January.

I sent my story with a photo and received a lovely note back from the family. Everywhere he went, this man was loved, everyone in the business liked him a lot. I interviewed Mr. Earle Hagen who did the music for the Andy Griffith Series (Crenna directed several episodes) (and I SPY, another series filmed in the far east), and also Mr. David Hedison and they BOTH were just a few who said he was always so great to work with.

Deborah Young-Groves

From: Kent Parsons
Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 3:15 PM
To: Crispin Garcia


I used to watch this movie as a young man. In fact, in the pre-video days I would scan the TV listings in the local newspaper for The Sand Pebbles and then get up at 1:00 a.m. just to watch it. When I was 19 years old, I lived in Taiwan for two years and I developed even a greater appreciation for the film. I have always considered this movie to be my favorite film. I am 48 years old now and I just watched it again last night. It never gets old for me. It's like an old friend.

-- Dr. Kent Parsons, Utah

From: Mitchell Cope
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 10:00 AM
To: Crispin Garcia

I just wanted to drop a note to say that I was fortunate to be in a preview audience for "The Sand Pebbles". This was at the Inwood Theatre in Dallas, Texas. Though I didn't personally see Robert Wise there, I suspect he was in attendance. The "celebrity" I did see there was Warren Beatty who was in Dallas at the time filming "Bonnie and Clyde". He had a small group of people with him. I've since wondered if in his party there may have been Faye Dunaway or Gene Hackman.

Robert Wise used Dallas for at least two previews, "The Sand Pebbles" and "The Andromeda Strain". I miss the style that he and Boris Levin brought consistently to the movie screen in their collaborations.

Mitchell Cope

From: Ed DeLara
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 1:19 PM
To: Crispin Garcia

I love the movie, which I originally saw in the Philippines when I was a young teenager. It is certainly a classic that never loses its magic through the years, along other classics like "Casablanca","From Here to Eternity", etc. If you could, can you point me to the right link or direction; I would love to have a copy of the lyrics "And We Were Lovers". Such a beautiful melody, I'd appreciate any help you can give me.



Look for the sheet music links to pages 1, 2 and 3.

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 2:48 PM
To: Crispin Garcia

Hello. The still I'm looking for may not exist but I hope you can tell me. A young college student (he was going to college at Sam Houston State U. in Huntsville at the time) named George Kilman had one line near the beginning of the movie.

His scene should have Steve McQueen in it as he (Kilman), as an Ensign in a Navy uniform, says, "Good Morning Captain". In some video versions of this movie, his scene is cut out. He told me that in the revised version where about 15 minutes are deleted from the beginning, his part is deleted. I've not seen the movie lately so I don't remember.

Thank you.
Harvey McFadden

From: Simon Chang
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2003 2:43PM
To: Cris Garcia

Hi, Cris:

I got your e-mail from The Sand Pebbles web site, and I am hoping you can help me with one thing:

My father - Chang Chieh, who is an artist in Taiwan, received a fax from Alan Callow who was in the crew of The Sand Pebbles and knew my father back in 1967 during the filming. Because of the poor quality of the fax document, we cannot read well and don't know what Mr. Callow wants.

I wonder if you (or any TSP fan) have Mr. Callow's contact info, so we can contact him and see if there's anything we can do for him.

Please let me know even if you have no access to Mr. Callow's contact info, then we can find some other ways to talk to him.

Thank you very much, I appreciate it.


Simon Chang

From: Dave Levisohn
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 11:39 PM
To: Cris Garcia


My brother was Mako's roomate in the U.S Army and they served together in Japan. How can he get in touch with Mako.

Thanx Dave


6477 Pepper Tree Lane
Somis, CA 93066

From: Walt Briski
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2003 4:35 PM
To: Cris Garcia

Hi Cris...

What a lovely job with the website. The Sand Pebbles is truly my very fave movie and I have been trying to find an original copy of the photo published in GQ magazine (don't know when and which issue unfortunately), but it is a lovely color picture where Steven is tucking his shirt in his pants. I would appreciate any info you might have.

Thanks a lot,

Walter Briski, Jr.

From: Jeff Ircink
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 6:55 PM
To: Cris Garcia

(Cris: I was hoping you could add this message the TSP message board. Thanks.)

Like all of you, I find this movie totally riveting, and feel it's Steve McQueen's best work (not to take away from the other performances). I'm a struggling actor/writer in LA and have been obsessed with the idea of adapting this movie to the stage. Every time I watch it I can't help but think how wonderful this would play in front of a live audience. From a technical and design standpoint - yeh, it would be a challenge. I'm interested in your opinions. You are welcome to respond to me DIRECTLY at with your insights and any suggestions you may have. Thanks.

Jeffrey James Ircink

From: Kevin Farrell
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2003 5:41 AM
To: Cris Garcia

May I request that you alert Sand Pebbles fans to a new e-group I have started based on fans of other Robert Wise films?

The e-group is a forum within the Yahoo search engine that allows people who share interests within a single theme. It enables comments, questions, responses or any other matters to be raised that are generally related to the subject: in this case the films and career of Robert Wise.

I have not been able to locate a site where I can discuss more fully the other films of Mr Wise. You might call the Sand Pebbles site a kind of microcosm. I would see the e-group I have formed as an expansion this kind of site.

I cannot believe that those people who are fans of The Sand Pebbles are not also admirers of other Wise movies. But who knows. Perhaps I am alone?

Click here to join the Robert Wise Yahoo Group .

Also messages can be posted to:

Best wishes,

Kevin Farrell

From: Paul Rossen
Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2003 5:12 PM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Re: Sand Pebbles restoration...

Many thanks for your note. I recall seeing Sand Pebbles at the Rivoli Theatre (long gone) in NY in 70mm 6track stereo. When I wrote the note about the cut scenes I really didn't recall all the scenes...only that 'things were missing' (same thing happened to me before the restored Lawrence of Arabia was released in 1989). Then and only then did I recall all those scenes as it's been a long time since these films premiered.

However, due to your great site I now recall the deleted scenes between McQueen and Mako in the engine room. Your site is in one word. Tremendous! A real homage.

I was 'thinking' if I had anything to add to your site and the only thing I may have is the Rivoli Theatre order form...but I believe that you already have similar ones from other theatres where the Sand Pebbles played at Roadshow prices. The souvenir program and copies of ads and possibly some original reviews is about it. If you would like me to fax any of this to you just provide me your fax number.

I too was very disappointed in the laserdisc as it was originally announced as the restored version. By the time of the DVD I'd given up hope. But one never knows...

With so much work being done at FOX not only with their film elements but with their music recordings I hope you can gather someone's interest at FOX to restore the film to it's original running time and treat it as the special film it has always been. Perhaps Director Wise....

Good luck on your petition.

Paul Rossen

From: John4Surf&
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 5:41 PM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Hi There

Hi Cris!

Went through some old slides. Came upon several from the Get Away when it was being filmed in San Marcos, Texas around 1972. I'm in wardrobe (Steve's clothes in the movie) to do some standing-in but we ended up drinking a few beers, throwing the football, etc., since Peckinpah hadn't set up the shots as I recall. This was the era that Steve and Ali fell head over heels for each other. Slide One Slide Two

John Norris

From: jeh
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2003 1:09 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Re: Sand Pebbles question

Hi Cris,

I came across your website when I was looking for the answer to a question I've had ever since I first saw the movie.

I'm trying to understand the dangerous, volatile and hostile atmosphere of China as portrayed by the film. I'm not really up on Chinese history but I can't find anything specific going on in that time period. It was too late for the Boxer Rebellion and too early for the Communist Revolution. Maybe China at the time was just some kind of powder keg easily lit? Can you shed some light on this for me?

Many thanks,

PS - Great site!


Followup email:

Those were wonderful links! I got around 50 pages from them, I read about China all day! Then my husband came home with a mother's day present - Sand Pebbles on DVD! What a wonderful day! Thanks from the new expert on China!


From: James Eliopulos
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2003 5:15 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: great site!!

A terrific movie . . .and this site was really well done.

From: Jim Barry
Sent: Friday, May 02, 2003 8:26 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Greetings...

Just dropping you a note to let you know that I think your website is SUPER. TSPs is one of my top 5 movies of all time. In terms of photography, plot, acting, and characters - this movie has it all! My eyes literally welled-up when Jake was forced to shoot his befriended coolie Po-Han. The emotion shown by McQueen remains the epitome of the range shown by his charcter Holman.

An excellent website for an excellent movie!

Kudo's to you!

From: Kevin Farrell
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2003 6:40 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: The relevance of the Sand Pebbles

Is there a more relevant film today than The Sand Pebbles? With the Iraq conflict and military forces unwanted in that country I find The Sand Pebbles validated within its message of "Yankee Go Home". Thank goodness the great director Robert Wise, who cares about humanity, had the foresight to bring this great message to the screen.

The Sand Pebbles should be screened to every soldier in the Gulf. Perhaps they will realise the immorality of war and the cost in human suffering in order to please their President.

Yours in sorrow,

Kevin Farrell
United Kingdom

From: Suzan L. Starr
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2003 3:16 PM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: The Sand Pebbles Love Theme


I don't believe I saw Matt Monro's version in your list of artists who have recorded this wonderful piece. His was the only version with lyrics I had ever heard until I accessed your web site. I have a Matt Monro compilation CD which includes "And We Were Lovers" which I acquired from almost three years ago. The name of the actual CD is "Time for Love." I bought it specifically for that cut, which I still remember from when it was originally released. I was a sophomore in high school at the time, and I have always loved it.

Your web site is excellent. Continue the great work--this has to be one of the best movie web sites I have ever seen. It is my hobby. Good luck on your future endeavors!

Suzan Starr

From: Steve Tuey
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2003 9:56 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Steve McQueen's boyhood home


Big McQueen fan here. I just watched The Sand Pebbles yesterday!

I live in Missouri and had the opportunity to go through Slater, MO a couple of years ago, the small town where Steve McQueen lived as a boy with his uncle Claude Thompson and cousin Jackie Gigger (I learned these details by reading a McQueen biography). It's a typical small Missouri rural community, population about 2100, probably booming in the old days, but sleepy today. I talked with some folks in the hardware store, one of them was somehow related to Jackie. They gave me directions to the old Thompson farm house where Steve lived. It's on a gravel road southeast of Slater, and is still very much standing and occupied by it's present owners. As a matter of fact, it looks just like it did in the photo in the book I read. I drove by and looked at the place, but didn't knock on the door. I wonder if they get a lot of lookers out there, by people wanting to see where McQueen lived. Or perhaps not that many people know, or get the chance to go through Slater. I made it a point to go through Slater just because of being a McQueen fan.

Anyway, it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours, and I hope to go back there again someday, with a camera.

Nice website, thanks,
Steve Tuey

From: Glenn Davis
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 3:54 PM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Full Length Version of Movie

Dear Cris:
I have been a fan of this movie and its star from the first time I saw it in the 1960s. I have read the accounts of the edited scenes which I do not recall in the version I saw in the theatre. I would really like to see the full length version of this film. Is there any one I can write to that would encourage the appropriate people or agencies to do the research to restore the full length version and offer it on DVD? Thank you for your work on preserving this film and everything associated with it.

Glenn Davis

From: Stu Gray
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 10:19 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Missing scene from The Sand Pebbles

Hi Cris,

Thank you for your web site. Quite possibly the all time greatest of love stories - Jake/ Shirley, Frenchy/Maily. Saw it when it first came out at a Cinemax theater in Detroit. Middle of the week, was hungover and unable to work and it was early afternoon. Basically went in to mend and kill the afternoon. Not prepared for what must surely be one of the most dramatic moments in movie history - when Jake kills Pohan.

Anyway, what I remember as a key element in the movie, is the ordeal of "hammering" on the crankshaft of Jake and Pohan. It is absolutely crucial in setting up the fight between Stawski and Pohan. And yet that sequence is totally eliminated in every screening of the movie that I have seen since...and to my mind, a very crucial element.

After the bearing assembly was taken apart, Jake realized that the crankshaft was bent and had to be straightened or the new bearing would go bad again. It was considered an impossible task without dry-docking the ship and removing the shaft. But Jake said he could do it. Pohan assisted and it was while working together that they developed their relationship. Jake rotated the shaft (or heated the shaft - I don't remember exactly) and Pohan "hammered" on the shaft. They developed a rhythm with Jake hollering, "Hammer......Hammer......Hammer" and Pohan hammering in sync. It was quite an extensive part of the original movie.

You remember in the fight scene, Jake is pleading with Pohan to "hit em, hit em". But then he says "hammer, hammer", and Pohan begins "hammering" on Stawski's stomach in a very unorthodox, overhand style. It is a pivotal moment, for the fight then begins to swing in Pohan's favor.

Also, reference is made to the amazing accomplishment of straightening the shaft when Crenna tells Jake he must stand deck watch .."no matter what we do or how good we may do it".

The scene also further elaborates Jake's love and knowledge of the engine and was very interesting from an engineering standpoint. Maybe that was why it was excised - not sufficiently romantic, not necessary to advance plot, maybe too suggestive that Jake might be more interested in machines than humans. Anyway, I loved it and wish they'd have left it in.


From: Rich Carraro
Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 11:55 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Re: Here's a weird question

Wow, Cris - you are amazing to have all of that info. It was John Norris who I was looking for. The Sand Pebbles remains my all time favorite movie (not just McQueen movie). I thought he deserved the Oscar! Thanks for your help :)


From: Karen
Sent: Saturday, February 08, 2003 11:22 PM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Love your site

I am a huge McQueen fan. I have all of his movies and a lot of McQueen items. The Sand Pebbles is my favorite movie. I have photos and the script and other items from this movie. Sad that Richard Crenna died just recently.

I have a black 2003 Hummer and my license plate reads STEV MCQ

Just love this guy and his movies!

From: J.J. Hamrin
Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 2:47 PM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles poster...

Hi Crispin,

J.J. Hamrin here. We corresponded briefly back in '98 about Edgar Bergen dubbing a voice in the Pebbles, where to find a script, etc.

It's very nice to see that your site has grown a great deal since then. Congrats.

Much continued success with your site, it's an excellent effort.

J.J. Hamrin

From: Marco Antonio Villanueva H.
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 9:07 PM
To: Crispin Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles script...

Congratulations for your new great and marvelous work: TSP script (.txt)! As I told you before you sure love and care for the film. By the way maybe it's not that important but I own a CD of Jerry Goldsmith film and TV music that is magnificent in which he conducts The London Symphony Orchestra, and includes the love theme of TSP. The thing is that the recording is done in the new Super Audio CD (SAC) Direct Stream Digital in 5.1 ultra high fidelity surround sound (Multichannel Surround) and it's great; the best I've heard of any JG work: It's the TELARC-SACD-60433 and it's titled: "The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith". With the proper equipment it's something worthwile. Again thank you very much,and Bravo! : Marco

From: Marco Antonio Villanueva H.
Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 9:53 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles reunion?

Cris: I was very sad to know Richard Crenna passed away; please if you have some kind of connection with his family send them my sympathies and respects. He was a truly fine actor and I spent some very fine moments watching him on the screen, especially in "The Sand Pebbles". May he rest in peace; he will remain somehow preserved in the magic of film.

Cris I was thinking, wouldn't it be possible try to organize some kind of reunion (meeting) concerning all that surrounds TSP (memorabilia, meet some of the actors and crew, maybe Robert Wise himself). And of course try someone at Fox, or the American Film Institute, or some prestigious University to "restore" and PRESERVE the film for future generations, and perhaps make that restored print to be projected under ideal conditions and be the tip of the iceberg of that meeting? Well it's just a thought, but wouldn't it be great? Hope you're well and your projects can crystalize soon... Marco

From: Milton Slaughter
Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 1:05 PM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: the sand pebbles

Yes Cris,

I am a big Pebbles fan. I was about 16 when it first premiered in Toronto. It first opened up at its reserved seat engagement at the Capitol Theatre. I did not view it there, then it moved to the Park Theatre, both long runs. I saw it first at the Markham Theatre; a small town theatre. I then followed it to the Yorkdale Theatre and then a theatre near the famous Honest Eds discount store. I remember a man standing up in the balcony of the theatre and shouting "shoot him!" when Po-Han was being sliced up. You don't see that much any more in films.

I always felt a kinship to the character Jake Holman and have carried it with me the rest of my life. I read in one of the Steve's biographies that Jake Holman was Steve McQueen, he was just playing Steve McQueen. That was the year Steve should have won one the Oscars. I revisit the film every year. It's like an old friend. Great acting also by Richard Crenna. They don't make them like that anymore.


From: Ron Bay
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 4:41 PM
To: 'Cris Garcia'
Subject: The Sand Pebbles Website

Wow!!! What a prize!!

THE greatest Navy movie ever. Steve McQueen and (RIP) Richard Crenna. A close second would be Jack in "The Last Detail".

There are alot of us that can relate to both the movie, the plots and subplots, and the "bigger picture/politics" portrayed.

I was over in Westpac (and specifically Taiwan and Hong Kong) when the Sand Pebbles was filmed. I was on a WWII Destroyer (USS Radford DD-446), who did alot of time in/out of Kaohsiung and Keelung on Taiwan Patrol.

I went "Asiatic" back in 1964, at the end of my first cruise.In fact, I spent over 20 years at Pearl Harbor and points west, until some head detailer told me I had to go back to the States (er, CONUS).Yup, had the "liberty cuffs" and tailored bells then. Did 30 years in the Navy, been retired 10. Still wish I was back over there.

Perhaps, when I go to Fiddler's Green, I'll ask to be buried at sea of the South China Seas, and put a stipulation in that the crew gets libs in Kaohsiung!!!

Again, Great website!

Ron Bay

From: Alan Sandoval
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2003 2:42 AM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: Sand Pebbles film

Perhaps this will be useful to you. I'm a huge fan of the film Sand Pebbles. I first saw it about two months before I shipped out to Vietnam in the US Navy. I was in Great Lakes training center near Chicago. This had to be in 1967. I am long past that experience, but I have family that works or has worked in the film industry.

My cousin's husband, a really great guy, George Triandos, says he was the camera operator on the film. Not the guy setting up aperature or focus, the guy that did the grunt work of pushing the damn thing around. Not asking for confirmation, he worked at studios all his life and that I can confirm.

George has very vivid descriptions of how the shots were set up, especially the ones around the exterior of the San Pablo. He said it was the toughest job he ever had. All shot in Taiwan. I remember he was away from home for a long time during the shooting of the film.

If you're interested you can see some pictures I put up on the Net of my time in the Navy.


From: Erik Rupard
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 8:59 PM
To: Cris Garcia
Subject: RE: Theme from "The Sand Pebbles" by Trini Lopez


Sorry for the belated response. After hearing this song on the aforementioned Trini album, and then reading a bit about the movie, my interest was piqued to the point that I almost broke down and bought the DVD, just so I could see the movie (but decided against it). Then I finally got a satellite dish just last month, and caught the film on AMC, loved it, and "googled" the movie name, so that I could read more about it on the web. You'll be happy to know (if you don't already), that your site is the top result for a google search of "the sand pebbles".

I'd like to buy the DVD now (irony), but may wait to see if a better edition comes out--there are a lot of reissues of 50s and 60s classics which have come out in the last year.

Again, I need to tell you how very cool your site is. To me, is the ultimate example of what a movie fansite should be: exhaustive, updated frequently with new bits, obsessive, and fun. The Mad Magazine section is worth the price of admission alone. You are to be commended for your excellent work on this--with any justice, you'll get to write the liner notes for the "Criterion Collection" version of the film...


From: Marco Antonio Villanueva H.
To: Cris Garcia
Sent: Friday, January 03, 2003 11:56 PM
Subject: From Marco Villanueva in Mexico About "The Sand Pebbles"

I saw "The Sand Pebbles" (in México was titled "EL Cañonero del Yang Tsé"), until April 1969 ,because it was put on hold with other megamovies like "Grand Prix", "2001,A Space Odyssey", "The Shoes of the Fisherman", "Ice Station Zebra", "Camelot",etc. Waiting for the opening of the first Dimension 150 theatre in the province outside the capital, in my hometown of Puebla...It was called "Cine Variedades Dimensión 150"; a real movie palace, specially constructed for the System; A huge 280 square meters and a fire bright screen with a 150° curvature, not 120°,like others; suspended in the middle of a gigantic coliseum Dome type, not on the floor, as I've seen in some photos of the process in other links; believe me it was bigger than Cinerama itself, and architects met and solve the challenge of distortion (you should see there a brand new 70mm copy of "Ben Hur", projected in Dimension 150, and 6 track Stereophonic sound...extraordinary!!!), about 2000 seats. For about 1 year and a half it ran only 70mm films, using the total aperture of the 150 screen, until the big studios gradually left the system died, and eventually the theatre closed, leaving us with a terrible vacuum.

There, finally I saw "The Sand Pebbles" in 70mm (a blown up I know), but nevertheless projected in D-150 was something to behold. The photography by Joseph McDonald was breathtaking; the 6 track Stereophonic music by Jerry Goldsmith was so exquisite in the interiors, and so overwhelming in the epics, that Jerry is one of my all-time movie giants, next only to my other favorites movie composers, like Miklos Rozsa, Jerome Moross, Alex North, Max Steiner, Víctor Young, Maurice Jarre, Bernard Hermann, Henry Mancini, Dimitri Tiomkin, Elmer Bernstein, and my other number one: Ennio Morricone.

The actings by Mako playing Po-han, and Richard Attenbourough as "Frenchy", are so intense and yet so delicate that they really touch you in a very powerful manner. Richard Crenna is so "balanced", and at the brink of collapse at the same time that you have to recognize him as one of the very few underrated actors of his time. Candice Bergen, never as beautiful in the screen (maybe too in "Vivre pour Vivre" by Claude Lelouch), but also in a very fine piece of acting in a part with such a low profile rendering it so simple is great. I've always been a fan of Steve McQueen; seen all of his movies several times, since "The Magnificent 7" (where he steals the picture from Yul Brynner), to "The Great Escape", to "The Cincinnati Kid", to "Nevada Smith", and later to "The Thomas Crown Affair" and "Bullitt" are my favorites among others. But it's in "The Sand Pebbles" where I think you'll see a new layer of Steve McQueen's acting is present completely like never before or since. He shows you his command: "Hello engine I'm Jake Holman"; he shows you his strength: an ax he uses in a fiery battle without hesitation; and above all: his vulnerability when he stays behind to help Shirley escape costing him his life and yelling what is the best lines in a script with too many dialogues, that resumes to my mind the whole picture itself: "I was home! What happened? What the hell happened?".

Robert Wise is too one of my favorite directors: without too many fanfares he is one of all time American Directors who did all kind of films so effectively: horror, musicals, dramas, biographies, images that tell stories and are now part of "our universal world", without frontiers, hates or fears ("The Day the Earth Stood Still", "West Side Story", "The Sound of Music", etc.) But to my mind it is in "The Sand Pebbles" where he is so majestic, so mature, so convincing in his craft that he carries in such a huge project that required so much of his skills. To do an epic film like this today would be almost impossible: in costs, in screen personalities, in movie rythm, but above all in the audiences interest today, and of course producers and exhibitors politics: less film, more shows: Profits.

I was 23 years old in April 1969 when I first saw "The Sand Pebbles" in 70mm, Dimension 150, 6 track Stereophonic Sound: "WHAT THE HELL HAPPEN WITH MOVIES?"