The Guns of Navarone

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie (2) The Guns of Navarone is a 1957 novel of World War II by British thriller writer Alistair MacLean that was made into a film in 1961. The book and the film share the same basic plot: the efforts of an Allied commando team to destroy a seemingly impregnable German fortress that threatens Allied naval operations in the Aegean Sea.

The book brought together elements that would characterize much of MacLean's subsequent work: tough, competent, worldly men as main characters; frequent but non-graphic violence; betrayal of the hero(es) by a trusted associate; and extensive use of the sea and other dangerous environments as settings. Its three principal characters (New Zealand mountaineer-turned-commando Keith Mallory, U.S. demolitions expert "Dusty" Miller, and Greek resistance fighter Andrea Stavros) are among the most fully drawn in all of MacLean's work.

The film version of The Guns of Navarone was part of a cycle of big-budget World War II adventures that included The Longest Day (1960) and The Great Escape (1963). The screenplay, adapted by producer Carl Foreman, made significant changes in virtually all of the major characters. It also introduced female characters, romance, and a subplot that radically altered the relationship between Mallory and Andrea.


Principal cast:


The film was directed by J. Lee Thompson after original director Alexander Mackendrick (best-known for the small, quirky comedies he directed for Ealing Studios) was fired by Carl Foreman due to "creative differences." The Greek island of Rhodes provided locations, and Quinn was so taken with the area that he bought land there in an area still called Anthony Quinn Bay.

The film was a major box office success and the top grossing film of 1961. As a result, MacLean reunited Mallory, Miller, and Andrea in Force 10 From Navarone, the only sequel of his long writing career, in 1968. It was filmed in 1978 by UK director Guy Hamilton, a veteran of several James Bond adventures. Despite a cast that included Robert Shaw, Edward Fox, and Harrison Ford, it was a critical and commercial failure.


Award wins:


Award nominations:


Movie synopsis

Mallory finally meets the man he's been working for and is assigned an impossible job: to scale an unguarded cliff on the coast of enemy-occupied Greece, meet the underground, and go blow up two huge artillery pieces. A thousand Canadian soldiers trapped on an island will die in a week if he fails, as the guns dominate the straits leading to the island.

Mallory balks at the impossible task, but is teamed up with old "friend" Colonel Andrea (who plans to kill him after the war because Mallory's sense of Anglo-Saxon decency got Andrea's family murdered by treacherous Nazis.)

The team assembles at a base to discuss their plans, only to be overheard by a knife-wielding Greek laundry boy. The ever-cautious Colonel Andrea nabs him and questions him; he seems to know no English. When the base commander bursts into the room, Major Franklin orders a man to execute the spy, and the base commander too if he interferes. Mallory intervenes, threatening to tell Commodore Jensen and have him shipped stateside as a private unless he locks up the spy for a week. He agrees, but in the next scene, their ship is observed and boarded by English-speaking Germans.

In the first of two tense "playing dumb" scenes, the team pretend to be Greek sailors. Only Mallory, who speaks fluent Greek and perfect German, addresses the leader of the boarding party. Suddenly, the tables are turned as the team springs into violent action, killing the entire boarding party with machine guns, pistols, and grenades. Explosives expert Corporal Miller sinks the German vessel by tossing a small explosive charge down a vent.

Their landing on the coast that night is hampered by a storm, and Franklin's head is injured just before their boat sinks at the rocky landing point. They scale the cliff, led by Mallory and Andrea, but Franklin slips and severely injures his leg. After killing the lone guard at the summit, they find themselves bereft of food or medicine. Miller suggests they leave Franklin to be "well cared for" by the enemy. Mallory, balks, saying that Franklin would unwillingly reveal their plans under questioning. It's either kill him, or take him along. Mallory orders two men to carry the injured man on a stretcher.

As they rest in a mountain cave, Franklin tries to commit suicide, but is talked out of it when Mallory lies to him that the mission has been scrubbed. He feeds him a false story of a major naval attack on Navarone. Attacked by German soldiers, they split up leaving Andrea behind with his sniper rifle while they move on to their next rendezvous point, an exotic ancient Greek ruin.

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