Guns of Navarone: Anniversary Edition

Sony celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the WWII epic adventure The Guns of Navarone, based on the Alistair MacLean novel and directed by J. Lee Thompson, with the release of a collector’s edition Blu-ray on October 18, 2011.

Oscar-winners Gregory Peck (1962, Best Actor, To Kill A Mockingbird), David Niven (1958, Best Actor, Separate Tables), and Anthony Quinn (1952, Best Supporting Actor, Viva Zapata!; 1956, Lust For Life) star as a team of Allied military specialists recruited for a dangerous but imperative mission: to infiltrate a Nazi-occupied fortress and disable two long-range field guns so that 2,000 trapped British soldiers may be rescued. Faced with an unforgiving sea voyage, hazardous terrain, and the possibility of a traitor among them, the team must overcome the impossible without losing their own lives.

Adapted by screenwriter Carl Foreman from Alistair MacLean’s best-selling novel, The Guns of Navarone was nominated for seven Oscar, including Best Picture, and won for Best Special Effects.

Screenwriter Carl Foreman (High Noon, The Bridge on the River Kwai) was determined to re-establish his name and credibility after spending most of the decade working in anonymity, a result of being blacklisted.

In keeping with previous restoration efforts by Sony Pictures, The Guns of Navarone 50th Anniversary Edition has been newly remastered following an extensive 4K digital restoration from the original camera negative.

The 50th Anniversary Blu-ray edition of The Guns of Navarone features many extras, including The Greek Resistance, The Real World of Guns of Navarone, Forging The Guns of Navarone and an Epic Restoration Feraturette, and will be available on Blu-ray for the suggested retail price of $19.99.

Blue-ray Special features

Rsistance Dossier of Navarone

The Blu-ray interactive dossier gives the viewer all new access to detailed information on The Guns of Navarone, the real world history that inspired the film, and insights from film and military historians on the continuing effect the film has on popular culture.

Commentary with Film Historian Stephen J. Rubin

Commentary with Director J. Lee Thompson

Forging the Guns of Navarone: Notes from the Set

Iconic Epic of Heroism

Epic Restoration

A Heroic Score

Narration-free Prologue

Memories of Navarone Retrospective Documentary

Message from Carl Foreman

Great Guns Original Featurette

No Visitors Featurette

Honeymoon on Rhodes

Two Girls On The Town Original Featurette

Original Trailer

Exhibitor’s Trailer

Other classic Columbia Pictures titles that have undergone 4K restoration efforts for subsequent Blu-ray releases include Dr. Strangelove, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Taxi Driver.

Review

One of the best WWII action-adventures, this spectacular epic portrays the heroics and bravery soldiers faced when tasked with impossible missions during War. The film boasts a stellar cast, headed by Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, David Niven, Anthony Quayle, Stanley Baker, and Irene Papas.

Director J. Lee Thompson (“King Solomons Mines,” “Battle for the Planet of the Apes”) brings Alistair MacLeans best-selling novel about allies saboteurs who are assigned an impossible mission, infiltrate an impregnable Nazi fortress and destroy two enormous long-range field guns.

With the battle of Stalingrad turning the War against them, the Germans are attempting to bully neutral Turkey into joining the Axis. To that end, they have trapped 2,000 British soldiers on Kiros, an island in the Aegean, with only one sea route for evacuation, a sea route commanded by two gigantic German antiship batteries deployed in a massive cliffside bunker on the island of Navarone.

Immune to air attack and too much for Allied battleships to suppress, the British muster Keith Mallory (Peck), a commando officer who has been working on occupied Crete for nearly two years and who is an expert mountaineer, is assigned to ferry a team of British commandos to the only area of Navarone that is not monitored by the Germans, a 400-foot cliff.

Greek resistance is to meet the team inland and guide them around German patrols to the area of the German guns. However, the commanding officer of the British team suffers grave injury in the climb, and Mallory must take control of the mission, despite clashes with explosives expert John Anthony Miller (Niven), who upon the arrival of the night of the raid finds his equipment has been sabotaged, thus exposing a traitor in the teams ranks.

Credits

Running time: 157 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not rated.

Cast

Captain Mallory (Gregory Peck)
Cpl. Miller (David Niven)
Colonel Andrea Stavros (Anthony Quinn)
CPO Brown (Stanley Baker)
Major Franklin (Anthony Quayle)
Maria (Irene Papas)
Anna (Gia Scala)
Private Pappadimos (Bobby Darren)
Jensen (James Robertson)
Barnsby (Richard Harris)

Sequel Alert

In 1978. Harrison Ford starred in a sequel, “Force 10 from Navarone,” which is decent but not nearly as exciting as Thompson’s epic.

Oscar Alert

Oscar Nominations: 7

Picture, produced by Carl Foreman
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Screenplay (Adapted): Carl Foreman
Editing: Alan Osbiston
Score: Dimitri Tiomkin
Sound: John Cox
Special Effects: Bill Warrington, visual; Vivian C. Greenham, audible

Oscar Awards: 1

Special Effects

Oscar Context:

In 1961, the musical “West Side Story” swept most of the Oscars, including Picture and Directors (actually co-directors). The other Best Picture nominees were the old-fashioned melodrama “Fanny”; the downbeat and poignant pool drama “The Hustler”; and the courtroom drama “Judgment at Nuremberg,” which was the most nominated film of the year.