The Sand Pebbles locations...


"These were our Chinese visas for when we went for the filming of 'The Sand Pebbles'. For some reason, Steve signed his, yet, curiously, mine is unsigned.

I don't remember why."

"Although the majority scenes were shot in Taiwan, Sand Pebbles was never released here until 2016. That is 50 years! And that was about when I notice this movie and since I share one thing in common with Steve McQueen-motorcycles, I wanted to know if he rode here during the film making."

        The Script -



The Making of The Sand Pebbles:

The steam engine was located in California and renovated for the film. The whole engine room was built around it, on a sound stage...


The Sand Pebbles was filmed both in Taiwan and Hong Kong. It's filming, which began on November 22, 1965, at Keelung, was scheduled to take about nine weeks, but it ended up taking seven months. The cast and crew took a break for the Christmas holidays at Tamsui, Taipei.

At one point, a 15-foot camera boat capsized on the Keelung River, setting back the schedule because the soundboard was ruined when it sank. When the filming was finally finished in Taiwan, the government of the Republic of China held several members of the crew, including McQueen and his family, supposedly "hostage" by keeping their passports because of unpaid additional taxes. In March 1966, the filming finally moved to the Shaw Brothers studios in Hong Kong for three months, mainly for scenes in Sai Kung and Tung Chung, and then in June, it travelled to Hollywood to finish its interior scenes at the Fox Studios.

Due to frequent rain and other difficulties in Hong Kong, the filming was nearly abandoned. When he returned to Los Angeles, McQueen fell ill because he had an abscessed molar. He had not wanted to see a dentist until he returned to California. His dentist and physician ordered him to take an extended period of rest—one that halted production again for weeks.

{by J Carter Norris}


John Norris - Steve McQueen's DOUBLE...






The cast and crew stayed at The Grand Hotel and The Ambassador Hotel...

{Taipei station: 1979}



GRAND HOTEL, Taipei, Taiwan - 1966...

OWNER: Madame Chiang...


History of the Grand Hotel -


Candice Bergen lived in the old wings of The Grand Hotel...






Richard Attenborough lived at The Ambassador Hotel...


Richard Crenna's daughter went to Taipei American High School (TAS) which was in Shilin...

Richard Attenborough arriving at the TAMSUI set in late 1965...








Steve McQueen's Playground?

near Sung Shan Airport with the distinguished "The White Building" - is where the crew and cast congregated every day before the day's filming in Keelung or Tamsui to obtain their costume, make-up and more for a couple of months...

Found a 1970's map: the buildings behind Steve McQueen are in the red circle - "...was the only place in Taipei with that much open ground around it."

The buildings behind Steve McQueen are the closest to the airport, so the ones found (demolished but suggested as the correct buildings).


"The attached shot of Steve McQueen was taken at the Taipei Airport, based on the mountains and Mount Guanyin in the background. Also attached is a circa 1965 shot of the Taipei Airport. The building on the right of the photo appears to be the same building in the McQueen shot. The other attached airport photo (1971) shows the same mountains.

There are also a few shots taken during the filming of The Sand Pebbles in 1965/66 on my website at:

Glad you are enjoying the website"



A series of apartment buildings that sat out in what used to be a rural area (not anymore) out near Sung Shan Airport which was the "new airport" when The Sand Pebbles was filmed.

The Sung Shan airport - note the similar fencing and the lamp posts...

McQueen's Suzuki bike could be heard in the "wee hours of the morning."







REN AI (JEN AI) JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL in the background...

Interesting article about uniforms and anachronism in TSP:

"Dear Mr. Whistance,

Hope this email finds you well.

My name is Chien-Hao Wang and I am a Taiwanese living in Taipei. I ran across your Sand Pebbles Locations website a while ago and appreciate your work very much. What an effort to put all that together! It was very nice to know Steve McQueen had left some of his prints and skid marks in my home town! I enjoyed those findings very much and thank you for all the work!

After reading the filming locations on your page I think I have found something that you might be interested to know. It's about the "Steve McQueen's Playground" section, where he rode a Suzuki on the streets of Taipei. 

According to your page the photos were taken in a spot (red circle from below map, from your page) that's just a minute drive from where I live now so I took a visit. Although it's been more than 50 years, I still could not see a similar background from this angle that resembles the pictures'. So I did some observations on the photos over and over and some research on the history of my city and now I have a different opinion about that photo location."

"What I have found tells me that those pictures of Steve on the bike should be took at Jen-Ai(Ren Ai) roundabout below with a statue in the middle (circa 1970). The building with 3 big openings on the upper right should be the same as above Steve's left shoulder.(pic far below, 1966). The building is Jen-Ai Junior High School. I do have some references to back this finding."

Ren-ai Roundabout sits right at the heart of Southern Taipei. Two major arterial roads, Ren-ai road and Dun-hua Road intersect at the roundabout. Ren-ai roundabout was the largest roundabout in Asia in the 1970s. Ren-ai Road (EW) connects Zhong-zheng, Da-an, and Xin-yi Districts from the East to the West, and runs roughly on a Latitude (N). Dun-hua Road (NS) connects Song-shan and Da-an from the North (Songshan Airport) to the South (National Taiwan University) and runs roughly on a Longitude (E).

“The one on the roundabout is Ren-ai which used to have a lot of greenery on it and was one of only about 4 roundabouts in Taipei so easily identifiable. The other photo with him stopped has what looks like a school in the background. Schools do not get knocked down in Taipei so it’s likely to be still around”

"Based on the history the possible area with that much open field in the 1960s is the eastern part of the city. There were a lot of rice fields and undeveloped lands as I suppose where Steve should be when taking all the bike photos. And from other photos of him with the bike I recognized there are some road structures which seemed to divide traffic flow of a roundabout. And the road was very wide, suggesting an intersection or a main street perhaps. I got stuck trying to look for a intersection that large so then I started with roundabout. There were other roundabouts in Taipei but the most possible one is Jen-Ai for its size.

I later found something that suggesting a statue foundation in another bike photo so I went to news archives for the facts of the statue. The statue was in memorial of a government officer with completion date of April 10, 1966. Steve left for Hong Kong on March 22, before the statue completed. So the timing should be correct.When I found a picture of the statue completion ceremony (below, April 10, 1966) from the news archives a building on the right side caught my eye, its big openings and possibly a white wall remind me the building on the mid right in the 1970 photo far above, and the above photo of McQueen on his left shoulder). It's Jen-Ai (Ren-Ai) Junior High School."

"I will share more findings of the bike photo locations later as I need to organize them first."

"Hi Don,

It's very nice to receive your reply! I couldn't remember where I found your email address but glad to know my mail did find you! Sorry if I did not make myself clear earlier, i meant that the actual bike photo location is a few kilometers south of your Sand Pebbles website. See photo below for a clear idea. This was taken in 1965. I believe you recognize the Taipei airport of the red circle. The lower red square is the actual bike photo location." 

Below is the zoom-in of the red square area, with Ren Ai roundabout in the middle. Xing Yi apartment is the apartment that shown in the background of bike photo (you thought they were demolished on your website, but it's still there!)  See bike photos i refer far below.  It's clear to see that the bike photo location is near Steve's villa.


“I’ve marked it on this map. I can have a go at identifying the buildings in the photos too.

The one on the roundabout is Ren-ai which used to have a lot of greenery on it and was one of only about 4 roundabouts in Taipei so easily identifiable.

The other photo with him stopped has what looks like a school in the background.

Schools do not get knocked down in Taipei so it’s likely to be still around.”

The statue is facing west, so the picture is facing east. 


"I do know the one one the map, it was Ren Ai Bowling Alley and swimming pool in the red circle (I swam there when i was a kid as my school was just right by it), it opened its door on Feb 1, 1970 and got torn down around 1986. Now it is a department store. See below photos for a greater view of the area, photo timing not sure, probable early 1980s (colour) and early 1970s (B/W)"



This was what I did, put these continuous shots altogether to get a better view of the background. Far left photo should be correct as the antennas and relative location of the buildings match with present day's. 

Suzuki T20

I will share later on with some more details and photos of present day of the bike location. And I like your idea of Steve's Villa. I can take a visit there and ask around. I used to go to that neighborhood.
By the way, I saw you mentioned that there was a white building where "the crew and cast congregated every day before the day's filming in Keelung or Tamsui to obtain their costume, make-up and more for a couple of months.." I could not find a clear picture of this white building or any info of its location, Is it in Taipei city? if you know anything i guess i can do some research on this as well. 


{Japanese Magazine}


{Victory Building built in 1964 and demolished in 2002}





"I took a 1969 street map and highlighted some known buildings on it and some photos of Steve so we can have a better idea of which angle are those pics were taken. This street map is the closest in timing with a clear street and building outlines that i can find online. My guess is the green star given all the reference points. It might not be the exact spot but should be very close. Steve was in the NE corner of the roundabout, that's what I'm sure about. There was a Asian woman in kimono with a camera in her hands, I think those photos are also in the green star spot, with the cement factory in the background."

"As for Xing Yi apartment, there are 4 blocks on my map and it was the no.2 that was seen in Steve's photos. You can view on google map here:,121.5502564,3a,75y,138.44h,99.47t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sKx0Wjc8AUmrRwOC13Zfecw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=zh-TW 
You will recognize the specific style openings of the 3 staircases. Here is how block no.2 of Xing Yi Apt. looks now, you can roll to the right for block no.1"

As for some photos that Steve was riding straight swiftly, I cannot tell the buildings in the background nor can I know the streets. However i notice there are some road structures to divide traffic flow. This makes me think he could either be on Tun Hua S. Road or Ren Ai Road, and about to enter the Ren Ai roundabout. But there is one specific photo that might suggest a third timing, for his seemed to wear a white shirt underneath (below).
Another photo series with Steve pushing the bike with a guy in a dark jacket, I do not know the location. The same guy was in the roundabout talking to Steve. I am thinking that Steve was about to park his bike near the roundabout, but that could be a bad guess.

I found a account on Pinterest that collects photos of Steve McQueen for each of his movies, some aren't on your page. I have not seen them all but will later. To see if I can find any new clues. 
As for Steve's villa, I am a little confused because I thought the one near Ren Ai roundabout should be the one, but then I saw Steve's then neighbor said she(or he) lived in where the Hooter's are now and Steve lived right across the street, If this is true then Steve's villa should be on Qing Cheng St.  But another clue says it took 10-15 min drive to get to Steve's villa, he or she once saw Steve hanging in the garage with his Suzuki. Can you verify these two clues? 
For the lake I do not have an idea but will keep digging into it. 





Steve McQueen lived in a villa with his family surrounded by the countryside...

The children, Chad aged 5 years & Terry aged 6 years went to the Dominican school in Taipei






{SUGGESTION: McQueen preparing to go on a bike ride}


The two men either push the bike TOWARDS the roundabout

or the bike breaks down at the roundabout and the two men push the bike back to the ‘yellow’ villa.

The presence of BOTH men in the different photographs suggests that the villa is near the Ren Ai Roundabout?

The bike is being pushed along a dirt track towards the main road? McQueen rides down this stretch of road towards the largest roundabout in Asia?

The ‘locals’ know where he lived and assist him with pushing his bike onto the main road.
He was seen in his “garage working on his Suzuki bike” - people knew where he lived.

It’s recognizing this dirt track: near the roundabout ?

THEORY 1 - The people pushing the bike are then seen at the nearby roundabout to the villa which then suggests the ‘yellow’ villa is the correct villa?
Why are there so many people at the roundabout taking photographs if McQueen is out riding his bike?

What is the name of the building at the end of the road?

{Paparazzi circled in RED}




Steve McQueen's Family villa in YELLOW

The French Tutor's house in GREEN...

Dropped pin
near 106, Taiwan, Taipei City, Da’an District, 敦化南路一段233巷37號

That’s the google map link to the location of the villa in the YELLOW Box..



{1960 MAP}


{1966 MAP}

{1968 MAP}

{1973 MAP}


{1981 MAP}


"Yes, please see attached pictures of 1969 street maps and aerial photos of 1973 for the requested areas, I was confused as there were 2 different locations for Steve's villa, but now I understand this has not yet been confirmed. This clue below made me think Steve's villa should be the one near Ren Ai roundabout.
The clue in Neile McQueen's memoir suggested the house was surrounded by rice fields, so either of the 2 locations fits. I have verified the french tutor's address (Alley 21, lane 245, Sec.4, Ren Ai Rd.) on the 1969 street map as it listed address of every street. See my explanation in the picture. 
Although the map address does not match with this witness' testimony, i think that may be a timing issue : it must have taken a while to finish the 1969 street map and maybe the authority changed the actual street address from Tun Hua S. Rd. to Sec. 4 Ren Ai Rd. during this period. I do not have anything to back this speculation yet but this seems very reasonable. 
As for the one on Qing Cheng St., there were about 14 single houses and the building sit opposite to where Hooters now was more like a mansion or a big building, not a villa. So maybe Steve's villa was on the NE of this mansion in the blue circle. I have been to Hooters' area in the last few year and have some impression of the villas there.
Street near the former yellow villa (similar garden wall):'26.0%22N+121%C2%B033'04.3%22E/@25.040224,121.5507642,3a,90y,298.68h,84.47t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sQM8V5_ltDxJwqBSt7FTw4g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d25.040567!4d121.551201?hl=en-GB
Similar wall tiles (corner facing former yellow villa):'26.0%22N+121%C2%B033'04.3%22E/@25.0403451,121.5507664,3a,37.5y,339.22h,87.64t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sXs0YwSM7uC9xpR6OYbh1FQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d25.040567!4d121.551201?hl=en-GB
The garden wall could be a major clue ...



Suggested location of the villa today...





Example of THE WALL style...








São Paulo Gunboat and Penglai Pavilion

It is called: the Penglai Pavilion and it was at: 163 Nanjing West Road, TaipeiIt was a former hotel/restaurant, history here : (possible translation in English)

The end of the Penglai Pavilion: On June 20, 1955, Penglai Pavilion closed its business and was leased to the U.S. military aid advisory team as a U.S. military club and U.S. military dormitory. In 1957, the famous surgical doctor Xu Yuxing bought Penglai Pavilion as the site of the new "Xu Surgical Hospital" (formerly opposite the municipal government at 149 Chang'an Xilu Road). The address was 163 Nanjing West Road. Later, Xu Surgical Hospital moved to Liangzhou Street and Penglai Pavilion was also demolished and rebuilt.


This episode tells the events of the Northern Expedition of the Kuomintang in China in 1926. It observed the Chinese civil war from the perspective of Americans. This incident also led to the first civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. During the filming period, the time of the Vietnam War, the Americans also self-resolved to fight in the end why! 

In the American ship, there are actually Chinese people living together, and the Chinese actually influenced the management culture within the ship. Just entering such a Jake Holman was very strange, but by the end of the play, Jake Holman was The influence of the missionaries, actually wanted to stay in such a China, to want to demand death, or to end the war? 

Although the film was banned by the Kuomintang, because of the performance of many bad things done by the Kuomintang. There is a strong feeling in watching this film. We still have many bad habits in management. This is what happened. Americans have already awakened from the war in the 20th century and we are still living in this land. Day without identity. 

This film also retains many of Taiwan’s old buildings. Americans can watch these films and they do not know how to cherish them. From the Keelung Harbor, Longshan Temple, Banqiao Lin Family Garden, Dadao Rice, and fresh water, the Taipei landscape in the 1960s is beautiful. The photo is Penglai Pavilion, located at 163 Nanjing West Road today and of course it has disappeared.

Plus video about this building through the years :

Dihua Street - Taipei, Taiwan...

Link to boy background:

Temple boy background close-up:

Ben-Yuan Lin Family Mansion and Gardens - 9, Ximen Street, Banqiao District, New Taipei City. Taiwan...


Dear Don:

It is confirmed that the location of ‘elephant sculpture’ scene is Ben-Yuan Lin’s Family Mansion and Garden, where is in New Taipei City indeed. However, elephant sculpture doesn’t exist in there, it might be a property. The building now is national historical sites as well as a famous spot in Taiwan. 
The range of shooting is as in the Picture below, also there some pictures for your reference.  Ben-Yuan Lin’s Family Mansion and Garden Website:

 With very best wishes,

New Taipei City Government

Film Assist Center 

The tiles on the roof have been changed...

The link for this location and film scene is Steve McQueen shirtless and then wearing his blue costume...

The courtyard where the 'elephant sculpture' was situated...

The 'elephant sculpture' was probably a prop and is similar to those at the Ming Dynasty Tomb:

"I think it is most likely Taiwan. The style of temple is similar to older ones found in Taiwan. Hong Kong doesn't have temples like this and certainly very few have so much space around them."

The Ming Dynasty Tombs may have been copied for the scene in The Sand Pebbles...

Location with sailors - Ming Dynasty Tombs

The 'Elephant statue' scene may have been included in The Sand Pebbles for cultural and historical reasons. The elephants were possibly modelled on the Chinese style of those on display at the Ming Dynasty Tomb in China as the film was suppose to be based around the Shanghai area...


Social Life: Club 63, Taipei, Taiwan...

Steve McQueen, his wife and the film crew visited the club to socialise and to relax...

Note the location of the CLUB 63 and the location of the GRAND HOTEL on the map below...

{Friends of China Club - 1957}

{Club 63 - by the mid-1970's the name was changed to the China Seas Club}

{When initial dues are paid then you received a cigarette lighter (June 1968)}

{This is the banner for the Taipei American Club, officially known as the American Club in China}

{Located on the land once occupied by the Club 63.- note the GRAND HOTEL in the background. The street address of the club is 47, Bei-an Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491}


For perspective if you went up the road on the right side of the picture you would be at the river across from The Grand Hotel...

LOCATION - Chung Shan North Road Section 3, on the west side of the street about a block north of the HSA compound entrances...

this link to the current google earth view will take you to where a cut in the sidewalk shows where the entrance to that curved driveway shown in the picture above was.






Keelung Station (replaced in 1967)

Quayside of Keelung ...
In front of Customs and Maritime Museum...



KEELUNG Customs pretending to be Shanghai Customs ...

Keelung, Maritime Museum in back ...

Keelung Quayside - in front of Customs...,121.7403331,3a,75y,23.5h,89.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sBb-Q9omxEzQeZEGOFKIw6w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Statue, near the quayside/customs, here:,121.7401116,3a,75y,18.5h,89.14t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJSrk5-_QBVrF3oebPbQVeg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Correct format...


Location of the shipyard (Agenna Shipyard in Keelung):,121.7689385,3a,75y,63.96h,87.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s1rXL8RmdNDFAV9wpKbtDrw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656




The Post Office doesn’t exist anymore like in the McQueen and Neile photo ...












Picnic lunch on the banks of the Tamsui - 24th March 1966...


Image photographed from Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District looking across Tamsui River towards Mount Guanyin,Taipei,121.4369752,3a,90y,220.04h,85.17t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_C8xvv9vFwyXkVlClrr2lw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656








"Death of a Thousand cuts"











John R Hamilton Photographer on the 'Sand Pebbles' 1966...




1960 Triumph TR3A






Playtime at Tamsui...





Tamsui, Taipei on the docks near where The Sand Pablo was moored (1966)...


{Loren James - Stunt Double for Steve McQueen}


Robert Wise, Director...








Terraced Rice Fields...



The building is superimposed and doesn’t really exist (and never did). It looks as though the area might be called Zhuzihu I think, which means bamboo river. The road itself is Zhuzihu Lu (i.e. Zhuzihu Road). Did you notice that the rice terrace walls are still the same shape as back in 1966?

There is a brief description on this website about the area:

Also, if you look at the other screen grabs showing the guys on the stone steps above the valley, it looks like those steps were positioned in the same area but up the hill.

Anyway, congrats on finding all these locations.


P.S I will be in Taipei for several weeks in the summer and will try and visit these places to get some better photos. I’ll let you know later in the year if I am successful.

Yangmingshan National Park was used for several film locations...

The images around the rice terraces were filmed in Yangmingshan Park, just north of Taipei. Here is a link to the rough area:,121.54211278,700.24334717a,0d,60y,251.84400324h,83.41382193t,0r%2fdata%3dIhoKFmdKR05BalAyeks3TWt1bEd4UTZKclEQAg

My best guess is somewhere around this point:,121.54336265,767.67852783a,0d,90y,220.54183524h,74.71871843t,0r%2fdata%3dCgAiGgoWVVpmNW5rcTY5R3N2enlJdWh0RDUwZxAC

But I’m not sure if the steps would have been immediately in front, or behind where the google camera is (i.e steps connecting this part and the upper part of the road above). Without being there it’s hard to see the view to determine one way or the other.

This is the view from the upper part of the road:

Anyway, as I said this is a best guess based on the angles of the rice terraces with the hills behind.


Bade Pond Ecological Park,

Xingfeng Road, Bade city, Taoyuan, Taiwan...


Note the prominent tree in the background both in the film scene and in the Bade Pond Ecological Park...

However, Bade Pond is out near Taoyuan which was the middle of nowhere in the 1960s.

There was a US military station not far away at Linkou but nothing else out there but tea plantations and farms.

 It is because they did some filming up on Yanmingshan it seems more likely to be at Dream Lake...


Suggested alternative Location of the Lake...

DREAM LAKE on Yanmingshan.






Arriving at HONG KONG...

McQueen arrives at Kai Tak airport on 22nd March 1966 from Taiwan with his wife and two children on his way to Hong Kong and Sai Kung...On May 15, 1966 McQueen left with his family for London to begin working on the motor racing movie DAY OF THE CHAMPION...this was shelved so the McQuuens flew back to California instead!


Richard Crenna - Captain and Steve McQueen...LOCATION?

McQueen's bike has been just cleaned: water on the floor and cloth in hand




McQueen's daughter attended the Maryknoll Convent school in Kowloon Tong...


Filmed at Shaw Brothers Studio and Sai Kung & Pyramid Hill...

Filming of the scene with Holman shooting Po Han took place the day after filming of the ‘thousand cuts’ scene. The photo shows Steve and the guys on the rail before Steve went to wardrobe and make-up. Steve was clad in Navy ‘undress whites’. The prop master handed him the Springfield and the scene was set up for filming from various angles. After shooting Po Han, Jake is supposed to throw the rifle overboard into the water. After ‘shooting’ the first take, Steve throws the rifle but, the toss was a bit too aggressive! The rifle missed the catch net below his mark and went into the drink! The Prop Master was none too happy but didn’t say anything. Steve said something like, ”Oops!” and he managed to put the back-up rifle into the net on each subsequent take...

Many of The Sand Pebbles fans may have forgotten that Makato ’Mako’ Iwamatsu was also nominated for an Academy Award for his brilliant supporting role as Po Han.
The day the ‘death of a thousand cuts’ scene was scheduled to be filmed I think every member of the cast were present on The Sand Pablo, whether they were in the scene or not. I was in the crew quarters at the poker table with Mako, Joe DeReda, Jim Jeter and a few others. Simon was behind me, coaching me in the 7 Card Stud game as I was a novice in the truest sense. Mako excused himself when he was called to make-up.The game continued until Mako returned to pick up something from his locker. I guess I embarrassed myself when I first saw him as he was bruised, bloody and swollen through the magic of Hollywood make-up artists. I innocently asked, “what happened?“ Resultant chuckles in my direction by some of the veteran‘s told me it was time to go to the rail an watch the fireworks!Lots of running, jumping off the pier, struggling, etc., ensued. Filmed over, and over, and over. When It was time for the close-ups, they filmed Mako’s facial expressions, then the torture and then later, filming began the next morning with Jake shooting his friend to stop the suffering.

Before the camera’s began rolling Mako would hold his breath for what seemed minutes, until the veins in his neck would swell. His reddened face with sweat pouring down his face would be surreal. Then, Mr. Wise would call, “Action!” and Mako would finally exhale with a bone chilling scream as the action ensued.The Property Master had a long knife prop with a rubber handle and hollowed blade with tiny holes drilled in the blade’s flattened edge. When the soldier pulled the blade across Po Han’s chest, he would gently squeeze the handle which caused the “blood” in the blade to empty on Po Han’s chest. The first take there was a problem. One of the drilled holes in the blade had a tiny metal burr which actually cut into Mako’s skin! His scream was the best one he did during all of the takes! When it was time for Holman to shoot his friend, cameras, lighting, filters, sound, etc., were all adjusted to film Po Han‘s facial reactions. A prop man with a small air rifle positioned himself just off of MrWise’s shoulder. Very small paraffin pellets with “blood” were fired, one at a time for each take. Mako did his breath holding and with reddened face took the pellet to his forehead. He snapped his head back, dropped his chin and was “dead.” The paraffin stuck to his forehead, the “blood” ran down his face into his closed eyes.
Several days later, the “rushes” were returned to Taipei from the Fox studio. Many of us were in the military theatre which was used by the company to view the daily rushes. This ensured the film from the previous day’s filming met with Mr.Wise’s approval. I recall everyone gasped when Po Han’s takes were on the screen. Mr. Wise told Reggie Callow, second unit director that the scenes were too graphic. Too realistic. This is before the days of the blood and gore rage like Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Wild Bunch‘. Although the torture scene made the final cut, it was not nearly as graphic as the take’s we viewed in the daily rushes.Mako went on to start an Asian-America actors studio and spent the rest of his career working on many popular American films (Pearl Harbour, the ‘Conan‘ series, and a Bruce Lee TV series, etc.) and many TV shows but he devoted much of his time helping other Asian-American actors with their skills and careers.
Mako passed away from throat cancer in 2006.

Marayat Andriane (Maily) with Steve McQueen...


Marayat Arsan (also known as Marayat Bibidh, Marayat Krasaesin and the pen name Emmanuelle Arsan) was a Thai beauty selected for the role of the bar girl ‘Frenchy’ (Richard Attenborough's character) fell in love with. Marayat’s selection for the role may have been ‘helped’ somewhat by the winner of the 1965 Miss Universe contest another beauty from Thailand. I couldn’t pronounce Miss Universe’s name but when she visited Taiwan in 1966 I think every male on the Island fell for her!Marayat was a pretty and quiet actress who I think only acted in one other English language role. She was married to a French diplomat who it was widely believed penned the Emmanuel books and subsequent soft core porn in the early 1970s. Marayat was given credit as the author (perhaps to protect her husbands diplomatic government job). The book and the film upset the French government and DeGaulle tried to get the book banned in France. The next president of France tried to get the film banned in France as well.

On the 20th Century Fox Photo contact sheet I’ve posted with this missive, Mr. Wise and Steve welcome Marayat on her first day on the set. Her demure and elegant poise came from her ‘upper class’ family history.

In her later year’s, Marayat suffered from a hereditary disease that took her legs and eventually, her life.






West Dam of High Island Reservoir, Sai Kung was where The Sand Pebble battle scenes were filmed...


"As I mentioned on gwulo, I don’t believe there were any land-based scenes done in Hong Kong, they were all boat-based and filmed around High Island in Sai Kung (before it was turned into a reservoir) and also at least two shots were filmed a little further north along and near the Tolo Channel."


First Unit work was completed May15th, 1966...





Houston was used for one day for several scenes on the ship: During filming on the USS Texas at the San Jacinto Battleground outside Houston, Texas, Steve McQueen sent waves of fear through director Robert Wise when an old friend brought his Triumph motorcycle out to him - McQueen jumped on the motorcycle and roared off, not returning for almost an hour...





California Studios...

Filming at the 20th Century Fox Ranch {Malibu Creek Skate Park}...

"Simon Oakland was a big ‘teddy bear’ on location in Taiwan. I really liked him, sort of like an uncle. He more or less taught me the finer points of 7 Card Stud poker. After he cleaned me out, he pushed all the chips back to me and said something like, ‘Don’t gamble for money when you’re learning a game. Only suckers believe in beginners luck!’ Good words to live by. Simon and Mr. Wise worked together on The West Side Story. Mr. Wise knew how to build a team for each of his films. Simon and Steve got along really well on the set. They didn’t hang out after work as Neile and the two youngsters were on location with Steve. I wasn’t surprised to see them working together again on Bullitt. As I settled into ‘family life’ with my bride, I caught Simon on many many TV series as a guest actor or, as a co-star (Kolchak, BaaBaa Black Sheep, etc.).





The actors wait to film inside the missionary scene with two soldiers waiting behind Steve McQueen and Candice Bergen...



Filming at the 20th Century Fox Sound Studios...






Twentieth Century-Fox set up a publicity tour for Steve McQueen to promote the film. McQueen made rare TV appearance on the TOAST OF THE TOWN (aka "The Ed Sullivan Show"), WHAT'S MY LINE? and THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON.


20th December, 1966









It is interesting that one of it mentioned a luxury single house in Yanmingshan (Grass Mt.) have been  prepared for Steve and his family during their stay. But the location was classified. This is not something we know, or maybe someone wanted to make sure that Steve's place is so discreet, he or she leaked out some clues that was not the fact, of course the fact being that if the yellow villa or Hooter's villa was really where he had stayed. 

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