Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Guns of Navarone (J. Lee Thompson)

The bunch.

Film Review Archive (date seen: November 18, 2010)

I've grown up always hearing about this film, and how impeccably masculine it was. So, aside from the two female characters, it really is one of the iconic pictures to ever put a stamp on the "recruited men on a mission" sub-genre of war films. It appealed to me immensely how effective the opening narration is (seems like "Fargo"), making us believe, with that voice tailor-made for telling tall tales, how perilous the "Navarone" mission was, only then finding out that it's all a work of fiction courtesy of adventure novelist Alistair Maclean.

Though it's quite hard to view Gregory Peck as a British, he, aided by his personality, physical features and his pure cinematic presence, has ably passed as a believable leader of the bunch. As for the others, headed by Anthony Quinn and David Niven, they have created great chemistry among contradicting characters; an ingredient very much common for the sub-genre nowadays but was initially sparked by the influential Kurosawa classic "Seven Samurai".

There were some sequences that contained unsure, half-cooked editing, but with this film heading for an ending as anticipated and explosive (though not as morally puzzling) as the one in "The Bridge on the River Kwai", these slight blunders were easily eclipsed by the film's more exciting moments.

"The Guns of Navarone" is one of those blockbuster war films that has carried its sense of high adventure and action consistently while maintaining its grasp on 'morality' and a pacifist message that tells about how war can put it into 'ruins', like how their mission will wreak destruction on the eponymous weapon, and a parallel to the ancient remnants of its Greek backdrop.


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