David Niven as Sir Arthur Robertson in the 1963 production of 55 Days at Peking.

Niven's character Sir Arthur Robertson is a fictionalized recreation of the actual de facto commander of the foreign legations in Peking, China  - Sir Claude
Maxwell MacDonald - during the so-called Boxer Rebellion in 1900. While generally accurate in the overall  depictions of historical events I have been unable
to find a reason for the production changing the name of MacDonald to Robertson. Interestingly while they changed his name they costumed Niven with the
MacDonald's historically correct medal group.

MacDonald served with the Highland Light Infantry (as did Niven in the 1930s) during the Egyptian Campaign of 1882 and took part in the Battle of Tel el
Kebir. He also served in the Gordon Relief Expedition of 1884 with the Black Watch as was present at the battles of El Teb and Tamaai.

Pictured with Niven in this photograph is Elizabeth Sellars who portrayed Lady Sarah Robertson in the film.


Black and White Production Still
10 Inches x 8 Inches (28cm x 18cm)
Samuel Bronston Productions
United States
1963
Right: A c. 1900 photograph of
Sir Claude Maxwell MacDonald
commander of the foreign legations in
Peking during the siege of 1900.