Sunday, January 24, 2010

THE GUNS OF NAVARONE


1961. First Rate Production. This film gets AAAAA rating for its great direction, great performances and great music. I consider Alistair Maclean's 'Where Eagles Dare' as his best work followed by "The Guns of Navarone' as a close second. Thanks to Adolf Hitler for providing all the drama as both are with the backdrop of Nazi bashing during the prime of the second world war.
Columbia purchased the screen rights to this work in 1957. It cost $16 million to make this picture. They got Carl Foreman to produce and write this project as he had done 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' earlier. Foreman had Cary Grant and Alec Guinness in mind for the roles of Captain Mallory and Corporal Miller. They were not available. He eventually signed Gregory Peck and David Niven. They were soon joined by Anthony Quinn as Andrea Stavros, Stanley Baker as Brown "The Butcher of Barcelona', Anthony Quayle as Major Roy Franklin and James Darren as Spyro Pappadimous. The female characters were added with Maclean's permission (not originally in the plot) in Irene Papas as Maria and Gia Scala as Anna. Much of the filming was done in the Aegean Sea.
J. Lee Thompson, an English filmmaker, was signed to direct this epic adventure. Thompson is noted for his brisk storytelling. Shooting began in April 1960 on Rhodes in the Dodecanese island area of the Aegean Sea. Interiors were shot in London's Shepperton Studios. Attention to detail earned the film an Academy Award for Special Effects. I am surprised the jury could not find anything else worth rewarding. It was a sacrilege done by them. At the Globe Awards, it won the Best Picture and Best Music. Dimitri Tiomkin has written a magnificent score and songs for the film.
It was the top grossing picture of 1961. It has taken its place among the all time classic action and suspense films. Everyone acted brilliantly. Special mention for David Niven who stands out.
Six people save the lives of fourteen hundred on Kheros island in Greece by destroying the Guns of Navarone wielded by the Germans.

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