Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Guns of Navarone
The Guns of Navarone is a 1957 novel of World War II by UK thriller writer Alistair MacLean that was made into a US film in 1961. The book and the film share the same basic plot: the efforts of an Allied commando team to destroy a seemingly impregnable German fortress that threatens Allied naval operations in the Aegean Sea.
The book brought together elements that would characterize much of MacLean's subsequent work: tough, competent, worldly men as main characters; frequent but non-graphic violence; betrayal of the hero(es) by a trusted associate; and extensive use of the sea and other dangerous environments as settings. Its three principal characters (New Zealand mountaineer-turned-commando Keith Mallory, US demolitions expert "Dusty" Miller, and Greek resistance fighter Andrea Stavros) are among the most fully drawn in all of MacLean's work.
The film version of The Guns of Navarone was part of a cycle of big-budget World War II adventures that included The Longest Day (1960) and The Great Escape (1963). The screenplay, adapted by producer Carl Foreman , made significant changes in virtually all of the major characters. It also introduced female characters, romance, and a subplot that radically altered the relationship between Mallory and Andrea. Mallory (now an American) was played by Gregory Peck, Miller (now British) by David Niven, and Andrea (still Greek) by Anthony Quinn. The supporting cast included Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle, James Darren, Irene Papas, Gia Scala and Richard Harris.
The film was directed by J. Lee Thompson after original director Alexander Mackendrick (best-known for the small, quirky comedies he directed for Ealing Studios) was fired by Foreman due to "creative differences." The Greek island of Rhodes provided locations, and Quinn was so taken with the area that he bought land there in an area still called Anthony Quinn Bay. The film was a major commercial success, and won the Academy Award for Visual Effects. It was nominated in six other categories: Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, Best Picture, Best Sound and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
MacLean reunited Mallory, Miller, and Andrea in Force 10 From Navarone, the only sequel of his long writing career, in 1968. It was filmed in 1978 by UK director Guy Hamilton, a veteran of several James Bond adventures. Despite a cast that included Robert Shaw, Edward Fox, and Harrison Ford, it was a critical and commercial failure.
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