Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from director J. Lee Thompson based on the Alistair MacLean novel and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment with THE GUNS OF NAVARONE.

On the island of Kleros, it is 1943 and two thousand British soldiers are waiting for help to come. When a rescue attempt fails, a commando group is put together led by Major Franklin (Anthony Quale) with Col. Andrea Stavrou (Anthony Quinn), Butcher Brown (Stanley Baker), Corporal Miller (David Niven), Spyros Pappadimos (James Darren) and Cpt. Mallory (Gregory Peck).

Coming across the Aegean playing the part of fishermen, they manage to take a German boat. On the coast of Navarone, Mallory is the climber of the team and leads them up the mountain. Meeting up with resistance fighters Maria (Irene Papas) and Anna (Gia Scala), they have to dodge and weave through German soldiers.

In Mandrakos, they are captures by German officer Muesel (Walter Gotell) and interrogated by SS officer Sessler (George Mikell). The Germans have no idea who they are dealing with as the group finds uniforms to escape but having to leave one of their own behind. That does not mean there are not in for a serious bit of information regarding someone they trusted.

Now, the group has no choice but to split up and make sure that the plan they had, with a few alterations, is to make sure they break apart the German forces and also to survive what is to come.

This is what is meant by a stellar cast for the 1961 war film. Filled with action and suspense, what always kept me captivated was Anthony Quinn and Gregory Peck. These two actors bring their own brand of memorable talent that has stood the test of time. In the film, they are tough but in such unique and different ways.

Darren and Niven are faces that are just as familiar to any true film lover. Having Darren as the handsome youngster of the group, he gives his character a loyalty to his comrades. Quale and Baker make a space for themselves in the crowded playing field but who they are in the story is equally as important. Gotell and Mikell bring the villainess and makes us all cheer more for the group trying to end the tyranny.

Shout out to Richard Harris because he deserves one!

Other cast include James Justice as Jensen, Bryan Forbes as Cohn, Percy Herbert as Grogan, Tutte Lemkow as Nicolai, Albert Lieven as Commandant, Allan Cuthbertson as Major Baker and Richard Harris as Leader Barnsby.

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The Special Features included on the 4K Ultra HD Disc Main Title Progression Reel and Theatrical Trailer. On the Bluray Disc is Commentary with Director J. Lee Thompson, & Film Historian Stephen J. Rubens, Three Documentaries: Forging THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, An Ironic Epic of Heroism and Memories of Navarone, Eight Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes and Interactive Feature: The Resistance Dossier of Navarone.

THE GUNS OF NAVARONE was nominated for 8 Academy Awards winning one for Best Effect, nominated for three Golden Globe Awards winning two for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Original Score – Motion Picture and finally nominated for two Laurel Awards winning one for Top Drama.

This is a film that was introduced to me by my father who enjoyed action/war/conflict films on Saturday afternoons. He would tell me right before the films started who was in them and what they were sort of about (he was not a fan of spoiling films for me). When THE GUNS OF NAVARONE was to play according to the TV Guide (Google it kids!), he would get the popcorn ready, and we would all watch it together.

That’s when I came to see what Peck, Niven, Darren, Harris, and Quinn brought to the screen again and again. Their careers span amazing performances, and they are memorable such as THE GUNS OF NAVARONE. Stunning, exciting, action, adventure and cinematically brilliant as all films of that era were and are holding up in the test of time.

In the end – the greatest high adventure ever filmed!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.