The Guns of Navarone (1961) DVD9, DVD5, Blu-Ray
1943. Two-thousand British troops are pinned down on the island of Kheros in the Aegean Sea. They have only one week to live because Hitler has planned a show of force on Kheros in order to convince neighboring Turkey to join the Axis. Allied attempts to rescue the men have failed because the channel to Kheros is guarded by two radar-controlled guns on the nearby island of Navarone. Air raids can't destroy the heavily fortified munitions.
A team of six brave individuals is called upon to sneak onto the island and take out the guns. It's a suicide mission if ever there was one, but somebody's got to give it a shot. Leading the team is the firm, unflappable Captain Keith Mallory (Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird), who's grown increasingly cynical as the war has marched on. He's aided by the embittered Col. Andrea Stavros (Anthony Quinn, Revenge), the world-weary Cpl. Miller (David Niven, Casino Royale), the violent Pvt. Butcher Brown (Stanley Baker, Zulu), the green Pvt. Spyros Pappadimos (James Darren, Gidget) and the earnest Maj. Roy Franklin (Anthony Quayle, Lawrence of Arabia). Will this band of hardened soldiers survive their perilous mission?

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Cast: Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle, James Darren, Irene Papas, Gia Scala, James Robertson Justice, Richard Harris, Bryan Forbes
Country: UK, USA
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, War

BD50 | 1080p AVC | 2:40:53 | 45.5 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Danish, Finnish, Greek, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish

Extras:

Audio Commentary with Director J. Lee Thompson - Thompson provides a decent but not particularly stimulating track. The director speaks slowly and there are some large gaps in the conversation throughout. Still, some interesting bits of trivia are discussed, including insights into the casting process, locations, effects work, Thompson's desire for lots of rehearsal time, and one actor's serious brush with death that almost resulted in the film's cancellation. While the director spends too much time simply describing where certain shots were filmed, there are sporadic pieces of worthy information, and it's always nice to hear the actual filmmaker discuss his work firsthand.

Audio Commentary with Film Historian Stephen J. Rubin - Rubin comes across as very knowledgeable and provides an extremely informative track that covers the film's entire production as well as details on the cast and crew. Among the multitude of trivia shared, the historian discusses writer/producer Carl Foreman's blacklisting, the movie's anti-war message, and plans for a sequel with the original cast (one was made, but with different actors). Though some information is repeated from the director's track, this is the more consistent and engaging of the two commentaries and is definitely worth a listen.

Forging the Guns of Navarone (SD, 14 min) - Led by Carl Foreman's widow and director Peter Yates (who was AD on the film) this is a short documentary about the movie and features some insights into the production, along with stories about working with the cast and crew and dealing with the sometimes tough and dangerous shooting conditions.

Ironic Epic of Heroism (SD, 25 min) - Here Sir Christopher Frayling leads an in depth look at the movie. He provides details on the production, and places an emphasis on the film's themes and moral dilemmas.

Memories of Navarone (SD, 30 min) - In this documentary we are treated to firsthand accounts of the making of the film from cast and crew, including Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn. Details are shared on frequent chess games between the cast, and the strategic decision made by Quinn to give his character a red undershirt. It's great to hear from the actual performers and filmmakers, and this is a very worthy doc that fans of the movie should check out.

Epic Restoration (SD, 10 min) - Here the focus is on the film's elaborate restoration. Seeing what was done to make the movie presentable again, really makes the video transfer seem that much more impressive.

A Heroic Score (SD, 9 min) - This featurette deals with the film's composer, Dimitri Tiomkin, and offers some details on his style and all of the movie's major themes.

Great Guns (HD, 5 min) - Presented in 1080p, this is a short, black and white vintage featurette that follows the stars as they arrive to shoot in Greece. Some behind-the-scenes footage is also included. Though pure, promotional fluff, there is something about these old, vintage pieces that I find appealing.

No Visitors (HD, 5 min) - Similar to the previous featurette, here we get some more footage of the production in Greece, with an emphasis on interactions with the natives of Rhodes and a look at a party held for the Greek Royal Family.

Honey Moon on Rhodes (SD, 5 min) - Another vintage featurette, this is a brief look at actor James Darren and his wife enjoying time off in Rhodes (the shoot also served as their honeymoon) and seems to serve as a kind of promo piece for the beautiful Greek island.

Two Girls on the Town (SD, 5 min) - Here Irene Papas and Gia Scala enjoy a break from shooting to shop around the island. Again, like the previous featurette this doesn’t really have anything to do with the movie, but still carries a certain retro charm.

Narration-Free Prologue (SD, 6 min) - The prologue and main title sequence for the movie is included sans narration, presenting Tiomkin's powerful score unhindered.

Message from Carl Foreman (HD, 2 min) - This is a brief introduction to the film by writer/producer Carl Foreman shot for the movie's Australian premiere.

The Resistance Dossier of Navarone (HD) - This is an interactive feature that offers six text and video featurettes titled "Military Fact of Fiction," "Greek Resistance," "The Navarone Effect," "The Old School Wizardry of the Guns of Navarone," "The Real World Guns of Navarone," and "WWII in the Greek Islands" (4 min each). The text and video all offer insights into the film's historical accuracy (or lack thereof), effects work, release, and influence.

DVD9 | PAL 16:9 | 02:30:16 | 7.62 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English, Italiano, Russian
Subtitles: English, Italiano, Espanol, Russian

DVD5 | PAL 16:9 | 02:30:16 | 4.33 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English, Russian
Subtitles: English, Deutsch, Russian

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