This week's movie on TCM's "The Essentials" was one of my favorite adventure films, 1961's The Guns of Navarone, starring Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, and David Niven, and a terrific ensemble cast.
The Guns of Navarone is one of the great descendants of Akira Kurosawa's masterwork, Seven Samurai, and it's probably my favorite of the whole bunch. This is my ideal vision of a classic adventure story, the kind I would read as a kid; suspenseful, thrilling, exotic locales, ferocious storms at sea, scaling great rocky cliffs, and defeating the Nazis.
I love a good ensemble picture, especially when the chemistry clicks so well. Anthony Quinn is just a big grizzly bear, as always. I could watch him even in a bad movie and have a good time. Cough, Barabas, cough. Gregory Peck, of course, remains one of my great movie role models. I may just get a turtleneck sweater and thick boatman's coat just because I saw him wear that in this movie. The cool toughness might grow on me.
Navarone also has my favorite courtship scene in the movies. "I like you." "Well, I like you, too." Hah! That's really how a courtship should be. No wasting time, no stumbling around trying to avoid hurt feelings. You just state your case and get right to the action. I blame this belief of mine on a childhood spent watching Pepe Le Pew cartoons. But, heck, if this is how Anthony Quinn gets the woman, then it should work for me, too. In fact, it has. Hah!
Why can't Hollywood make movies like this anymore? Really, why not? I enjoy adventure movies, but I can't stand all these noisy, stupid CGI blockbusters. All these pictures are aimed at nine-year-olds, anyway, between the '80s toys and the comic books. Give me something with heart, with soul, something with real, live human beings in it.
There's not a lot I can say here that will persuade you. Classic movie, great movie, yadda yadda. There used to be this 20th Century art form called moving pictures. Here is a great example of one. You should watch it in a dark room and on a very large screen.
The entire movie is currently on Youtube - watch here. Hurry up before it gets taken down. You really should see this on a big screen, though.