Starring Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, Anthony Quayle, Stanley Baker, Richard Harris, Gia Scala, James Darren
(7-Very Good Film)
Epic. Thrilling. Tense.
Corporal Miller: So what? Let the whole bloody world come in and blow itself to pieces, that’s what it deserves!
Six disparate men are given a suicide mission of sorts: take out the guns of Navarone. Set during World War II, these gargantuan guns held in a fictional island in Greece and controlled by the Nazis are single-handedly keeping the Allied Forces from taking back their captured soldiers. Sending in Captain Keith Mallory (Peck), Corporal Miller (Niven), Colonel Stavros (Quinn), Major Franklin (Quayle), CPO Brown (Baker), and Spyros Pappadimos (Darren), as brilliant and capable as they are, seems reckless. The Guns of Navarone is one of those films off the heels and in the vein of Seven Samurai where a team is assembled to do a seemingly impossible job. More often than not, these films turn out to be excellent entertainment despite little to no character development and rarely any three dimensional characters. That’s the case here. These are characters that don’t reveal much anyways. They’re intelligence and resistance fighters. They don’t trust easily and they’re generally pretty stoic. The majority of the interior drama between them comes from Corporal Miller’s antagonism towards Captain Mallory, and the uneasy alliance between the latter and Colonel Stavros. These three characters played by three great actors are more than enough to hold our interest. If I have a complaint, it’s that the climax itself, the dismantling of the guns, is less compelling than earlier scenes, most notably the execution.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-