Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Force 10 From Navarone

Seventeen years after THE GUNS OF NAVARONE was released to massive box office and seven Oscar nominations, its producer and screenwriter, Carl Foreman, finally managed to get the sequel into theaters. FORCE 10 FROM NAVARONE, released by American International Pictures in 1978, is based somewhat on Alistair MacLean’s 1968 novel, which combines actions and characters from both the original film and his GUNS OF NAVARONE novel.

Playing mountain-climbing leader Mallory and demolitions man Miller are Robert Shaw (JAWS) and Edward Fox (PERFORMANCE), taking over for GUNS’ Gregory Peck and David Niven, who were considered too old to reprise their roles. Joining them is American colonel Barnsby (presumbly not the Australian Barnsby played briefly by Richard Harris in GUNS), who is played by Harrison Ford in his first action role after STAR WARS.

Mallory and Miller didn’t get along in GUNS, but FORCE 10 portrays them as good buddies, and Shaw and Fox have a nice chemistry that makes the friendship play. Their new mission is to sneak into Yugoslavia and assassinate a German spy named Nikolai (Franco Nero), who was believed to have been killed after he turned traitor during the Navarone caper.

To get into Yugoslavia, the two men join the humorless Barnsby, the leader of a commando team called Force 10 which is assigned to blow up a critical Nazi bridge. Most of Force 10 is killed getting in, leaving Barnsby, Miller, and Mallory with only Reynolds (STRANGE BREW’s Angus MacInnes) and Weaver (ROCKY’s Carl Weathers), who stowed away on Force 10’s plan after escaping from the MPs.

Unsurprisingly, the two missions are connected. And perhaps not so unsurprisingly, the story contains more than a few twists and doublecrosses. Richard “Jaws” Kiel and Barbara Bach reunite from THE SPY WHO LOVED ME to play Chetniks in cahoots with the Germans who take the Allied soldiers prisoner. With cinematographer Christopher Challis (THE DEEP) capturing some lovely images in Malta and Yugoslavia and director Guy Hamilton (GOLDFINGER) deftly handling the action, FORCE 10 FROM NAVARONE plays as a perfectly capable World War II meller, though nowhere near the classic adventure of THE GUNS OF NAVARONE.

1 comment:

david hartzog said...

Good flick, though as you say not a patch on the classic Guns. Very cool website, I am enjoying your takes on these pictures.