The Guns of Navarone

The Guns of Navarone

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These days, The Guns of Navarone is more than typical for a wartime adventure story. A team of roughneck military specialists is sent on a fool’s errand of certain death. You have the steel-eyed commando leader. The explosives expert. The cold-blooded killer, good with knives. The local boy looking for his shot. The aged, ethnic veteran of war. And the regular Joe, who just happens to have a certain knowledge that makes him ideal for a mission that must be completed. Given that the first four character types are, in this case, British, Navarone is strikingly reminiscent of The Bridge on the River Kwai. But where Kwai‘s regular Joe was an enlisted American played by William Holden who clashed with his British counterparts for putting their mission above the health and safety of their individual men—meaning the film retained some sensitivity to the senselessness of war and the impossibility of its strictures of rank—the regular Joe in the fictional mission in Navarone is the world’s best mountain climber, and with a name to prove it: British Capt. Keith Mallory, evoking George Mallory, who led three British expeditions up Everest. The result is a straightforward blood-and-guts caper, which echoes the impossible bank heist movie more than it does a war story. No real consideration for the morality of the war or the mission for these guys. Even more, no stealth: German sentries are killed off left and right, with no consideration for what will happen when the report from the far side of the island doesn’t come in. The push to the fabled guns commanding the Aegean Sea becomes a ruthless onslaught. Gregory Peck, as Mallory, gives a wonderfully unperturbed performance, outdone only by the versatile coldness and comedy of Anthony Quinn. David Niven is the subservient but stylish chemist Miller, rounding out a film that ranks among the best war movies—for mayhem, fighting and a simple, sanctimonious story about heroism when it’s war at all costs.

Image/Sound

While the sound is tremendous, the image is hardly what you'd expect from a collector's edition. Frequently cloudy or dull, it's even washed out at one or two points.

Extras

A tremendous set of extras allows fans of this Oscar nominee to investigate almost every aspect of its production-from the reasons behind the voice-over introduction that suggests the fictional story was real mission to the choices of the film's location, director, and cast (oddly enough, Holden was the first choice to play Mallory).

Overall

No surprise that Tarantino saw fit to include a spoken reference to The Guns of Navarone in Pulp Fiction, or that The Usual Suspects leaps to mind when watching it in 2007. This is that kind of war movie: bad-ass violence, hard-edged characters, little commentary. Navarone survives on its performances-and the sense that it is more than the moment in which it was made. A cold, hard caper.

Image 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5

Sound 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5

Extras 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5

Overall 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5 3.0 out of 5

Specifications
  • DVD-Video
  • Two-Disc Set
  • Dual-Layer Discs
  • Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Dolby Digital Formats
  • English 5.1 Surround
  • Portuguese 5.1 Surround
  • English 2.0 Stereo
  • French 2.0 Stereo
  • Spanish 2.0 Stereo
  • DTS
  • None
  • Subtitles & Captions
  • English Subtitles
  • French Subtitles
  • Spanish Subtitles
  • Portuguese Subtitles
  • Special Features
  • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Stephen J. Rubin
  • Audio Commentary by Directory J. Lee Thompson
  • A Message from Carl Foreman
  • "Forging the Guns of Navarone: Notes from the Set" Featurette
  • "Ironic Epic of Heroism" Featurette
  • "Memories of Navarone" Featurette
  • "A Heroic Score" Featurette
  • "Epic Restoration" Featurette
  • Narration-free Prologue
  • Roadshow Intermission
  • "Great Guns" Featurette
  • "No Visitors" Featurette
  • "Honeymoon on Rhodes" Featurette
  • "Two Girls on the Town" Featurette
  • Talent Files
  • Buy
    DVD
    Release Date
    May 8, 2007
    Distributor
    Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
    Runtime
    157 min
    Rating
    PG
    Year
    1961
    Director
    J. Lee Thompson
    Screenwriter
    Carl Foreman
    Cast
    Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle