July 28th, 2009

THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (1961) ***

Gregory Peck is given the assignment to blow up some big ass Nazi gun turrets.  He along with explosives expert David Niven and Greek freedom fighter Anthony Quinn head on over to Navarone to make stuff go boom.  Along the way they are betrayed by some dumb broad and they have to show her what’s what.  After a lot of hemming and hawing, Peck and Co. finally disguise themselves as Nazis, plant some bombs and get the fuck outta Dodge.

 

The Guns of Navarone is one of those movies that I’ve always wanted to see but somehow never got a chance.  I finally DVR’ed it while I was boxing my office area up (my DVD den is going to be a nursery by the weekend) and I have to say I was a tad disappointed.  For one thing, at 158 minutes, this flick is waaaay too long.  Similar Men on a Mission Movies from the same era like The Dirty Dozen have inflated running times yet they use their time wisely to build up a bond between the characters so that you ultimately care about them.  The Guns of Navarone doesn’t really do that.  Maybe it was just because Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn aren’t nearly as cool and badass as guys like Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Jim Brown.  

 

While the film gets bogged down from time to time, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t cook when it has to.  There are a couple impressive gun battles that help spice things up whenever the doldrums set in.  Director J. Lee (Death Wish 4:  The Crackdown) Thompson films the action with panache so I can’t get too mad at him for padding out the film with idle chit-chat.  He went on to re-team with Peck for Cape Fear the following year.