FORCE 10 FROM NAVARONE
Columbia Pictures / Navarone Productions 1978
TrevorMajor Keith Mallory: ROBERT SHAW
The leader of the sabotage team which blew up the Guns of Navarone and changed his appearance and nationality as a result. Demoted to acting catering officer as a result of his successful mission.Lt.Colonel Barnsby: HARRISON FORD
Soldier of the US Rangers and leader of the Force 10 team which is both upstaged by three passengers and the fact that 90% of his team gets killed before they even reach their target. Crack shot with a pistol ~ acts with his teeth.Staff Sergeant Miller: EDWARD FOX
Horrible little man, genius with high explosives and with smuggling manure into Yugoslavia disguised as plastic explosive. Has a gadget mania which also includes dropping dog poo on Yugoslavian roads and using snakes as an explosives winding stick.Sergeant Weaver: CARL WEATHERS
AWOL US Army Medical Corps officer. "He’s ghosting us. I don’t care who he is back in the world, if he gives away our position one more time, I’ll bleed him, real quiet and leave him here…………………" oops, sorry, wrong flick. Captain Lescovar: FRANCO NERO
Also known as Nikolai, the former laundry boy and resident spy who blew the Navarone team in Greece. Ermmmm……… what happened in Greece, stays in Greece.
Umm…….blown away.Captain Drazak:RICHARD KIEL
Huge, racist Chetnik officer whose favorite pastime is to try and slice off people’s facial skin. His only vulnerable area is his nuts. Stares into the Jaws of death when he is knifed by Sgt Weaver.Maritza: BARBARA BACH
A good soldier comrade and Major Petrovich’s daughter who likes to bathe in front of the Commandant and likes to shoot an Schmeisser MP40 from the hip. Shot dead by an air raid.Major Petrovich: ALAN BADEL
Snotty and uppity Commander of the army that does not discuss business in secret. Almost kills his men with random hearty back slaps. Distrusts and hates the Force 10 team until they do his dirty work for them and then he only distrusts them. Cordially.Sgt Doug Reynolds: ANGUS McINNES
The only remaining member of Barnsby’s Force 10 team after the other eight members are killed in an aeroplance attack. Killed by a prissy, anal, milk burning German officer and later drowned in a silo by Mr Ford in Witness
. Major Schroeder: MICHAEL BYRNE
Thickie Nazi officer who foolishly believes the penicillin story that is spun for him by Mallory concerning what Miller is carrying around in his case. Shot dead by a stray bullet but still manages to salute his men.LESSONS LEARNED
Greeting someone with "Hello, Blackie" will get you a kick in the nuts.
The People’s Resistance Army of Yugoslavia does not discuss business in private.
An elimination operation behind enemy lines can be termed a sideshow.
Your reward for being a war hero is being demoted to being an “acting catering officer” serving offal in place of ham and bacon.
Destroying the guns of Navarone changes your appearance totally, as well as your nationality.
A gunshot in the back can be blamed on an air strike.
Flipping someone the bird after pinching someone's trolley can disguise your lack of German.
A shot showing us the interior and boogers in Robert Shaw's nostrils is an artistic decision.
No matter how much you yell at him, a dead guy cannot parachute out of a burning plane.
“Go out there and cope” is a euphemism for “Go kill the sh*t out of that guy”.
Diesel and electric locomotives were apparently around in 1943.
Snakes can be used as an explosives fuse winder.STUFF TO WATCH FOR
2:00 Stock footage alert (and did Carl Foreman pay these guys?)
3:30: Did Ron Goodwin see this film before composing this cheerful score?
5:00 Nahh, I’m off offal, thanks.
6:12 Hah. Me see bad picture of Franco Nero with bad beard.
10:00 “Get this crap up to the fence.” OK, I get it: so their mission is to smuggle sh*t into Yugoslavia?
15:42 Now that is a terrible special effects shot: the planes look like they’re drawn on glass.
16:27 Never mind the bloody propeller, what about your bloody co-pilot?
28:00 My history lessons tell me that the Chetniks fought with the Allies, not against them.39:15 RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST BARBARA BACH!
41:33 Ah: Another in the series of "was that shot really necessary?" and "Who story boarded that?"
42:11 Yikes, is that a body hanging there?
45:11 Blindfolded by my undies ~ no wonder the poor buggers think they’re being shot at.
46:02 Why does one major call another major sir?48:35: RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST FRANCO NERO'S BACK!1:13:44: RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A GERMAN OFFICER!
1:15:55 They may have not taught him German in school but they sure as hell taught him sign language.
1:26:05 Uhmmm…… what happened in Greece, stays in Greece.
1:26:30 That look of horror on Franco Nero’s face lets us know that soon he will be making the horror that is Enter The Ninja.
1:26:45 I didn’t know that diesel / electric engines were around in 1943?
1:30:30 I knew it, I knew it: they were smuggling dog poo into Yugoslavia.1:31 30 RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CARL WEATHERS’ NERVOUS SYSTEM!
1:38:00 Now that is Styrofoam, not plastic explosive.
1:38:23 HAMILTON: Hmmm, I see the director was the GUY that chose the watches.
1:42 11 That roof looks suspiciously like a bad art school reject project.
1:44 13 Slow-mo water? WTF?
1:44 41 Hah, Edward Fox get some brown sugar!
1:46 52 Why does that water look like sea water for some reason?QUOTES:
Trevor: “Major Schroeder is in the armory and I have told you before that this area is off-limits to all of you people, except Captain Drazak. Now kindly remove yourselves at once and if you can read, which I doubt, take a look at Standing Orders. There: you have made me burn the milk.”
Andrew: [pointing a pistol] “That’s alright…….let it burn.”
Major Petrovich: “You hear that, Lescovar? The gentleman from
London wants us to shoot you.”
Sgt Weaver: “Sh*t, what’s this? Another one of his toys? [sees the snake] Damn, ain’t that something? Dog turds, snakes……”?
S/Sgt Miller: “I thought we were going to an airfield?”
Mallory: “From what I’ve observed of Colonel Barnsby, we might be going to Yugoslavia by walking on water.”
Major Mallory: “Miller, you horrible little man!”
Maritza: “You can get up now, they’re dead.”
Sgt Weaver: “Whoa! That’s some heavy-duty dog dip!”
Drazak: “We are Chetniks, not stinking Partisans!”
Major Mallory: “And so I think we can take it, gentlemen, that we are in for a very long walk home.”
Lt. Colonel Barnsby: “Ja! Ja! sh*thead!"
Sgt. Weaver: “I thought you were supposed to pick up dog sh*t, not spread it around.”
Major Petrovich: “Yes, they are frequently specific and just as frequently WRONG!” THE PLOT
After destroying the Guns of Navarone, Major Keith Mallory (Gregory Peck) and Corporal Miller (David Niven) are picked up by a destroyer. Not only has their action changed the course of the war but it has also changed Messrs Peck and Niven as well, into Robert Shaw and Edward Fox respectively. Once back in England, the luckless Major Mallory finds himself grinding his teeth at the insult of becoming an acting catering officer ~ his teeth also grinds at the sinews in the offal he is supposed to be serving the troops. Meeting up with his friend Miller, Mallory is given a mission (along with the reluctant Miller) to parachute into Yugoslavia to terminate one Nikolai, the laundry boy from The Guns Of Navarone
and the man who blew the team in Crete. 'Blew' the team?
Ermmmmm………. What happened in Crete, stays in Crete.
Their commander who has also changed from being James Robertson Justice to Phillip Latham, tacks the two of them onto what is called Force 10, to the delight and disgust of Lt. Colonel Barnsby, played by and through his teeth by Harrison Ford. Barnsby protests that his team do not need a HAN
, they’ll do it SOLO
and the last thing they need are a couple of passengers, especially one with a bum leg and the other with a James Coburn / The Great Escape
complex (i.e. always lugging an enormous suitcase around). So begins the mission to smuggle a ton of dogsh*t into Yugoslavia.
Dog poo? Yes, yes, read on.
Despite Barnsby’s protests, Mallory and Miller join them as passengers, expressing dismay at the Colonel’s remarkable way of getting on an aircraft by hacking through the fence and beating the several colors of sh*t out of a Jeep full of MPs who are transporting an AWOL medic to the brig or stockade. The latter medic, tired of being racially abused, joins the fight as he forces his way onto the plane, only to become part of the team when the Lancaster aircraft is attacked by bad special effects (planes badly drawn on glass) and most of the Force 10 team are killed before they even reach their destination. After discovering to his horror that corpses cannot obey his orders to jump out of the plane, a shocked Barnsby parachutes out of the burning plane, finding that he only has one remaining member of the original Force 10 left but also that Mallory, Miller and Weaver make excellent replacements.
Welcomed by whom they think are the Partisans, the team find themselves at the mercy of the Germans and bad history classes. I say that because as far as I know, the Chetnik forces fought with and not against the Allies. Mallory convinces the German commander to let him and Barnsby go free to look for the medical marvel penicillin that Miller has in his case, and the poor old Jerry allows them, after the good soldier comrade Maritza has absorbed some good German sausage and actually needs some good penis………..sorry, I meant PENICILLIN.
[Sounds of Trevor throwing up]
The wild goose chase leads to Maritza shooting the guards, letting Barnsby and Mallory go on their merry way through burnt out, corpse strewn villages to find the Partisans with Lescovar as a Captain in that unit, led by Maritza’s father, Major Petrovich. After an almighty slap to Lescovar’s back (which I’m sure that Franco Nero wasn’t expecting), Major Petrovich tells Major Mallory that they have the wrong Lescovar and that their mission is doomed ~ not exactly what you’d want to hear from a senior officer. The commandos however push forward and in a daring rescue effort, manage to outwit (or ou-twit) the Chetniks by posing as some of their own and by ordering a prissy staff room corporal to leave the milk burning.
After allowing a corpse to salute their way out of the camp, the team raid the local ammunition stores, in which S/Sgt Miller demonstrates his lack of German by flipping a trolley owner the bird and Lescovar gives himself away by letting a dumb ass German officer salute him while Lescovar is wearing a corporal’s uniform. This slip-up costs Lescovar his life and allows Franco Nero to go on to film the horror that is Enter The Ninja
. While Barnsby and Mallory penetrate the dam complex, the two sergeants create diversions with flares, explosives disguised as dog poo and snakes disguised as explosive winders and run into Drazak again, who is promptly knifed by Weaver. Mallory and Barnsby set the explosives, combining what looks suspiciously like a bad art project and Styrofoam into an explosion which knocks both men on their asses, but does nothing to the dam until a few minutes later when someone up above attempts to wash Trevor’s underpants, gives up in disgust, pulls the plug from the basin and all bloody hell breaks loose.
A few horrible, horrible art school reject shots later (aside from some terrible stop-motion photography: if you have ever wanted to see what stop-motion water looks like, this is the film to see) and the water from the tap blows the dam apart, sending both the team and the German soldiers on the bridge a mile or so down the river running like the devil to get away from the water containing what looks suspiciously like sea foam. The torrent of effluent breaches the dam wall and the resultant deluge takes the bridge out, sending miniature cars, trucks, tanks and people to their respective demises.
After a bit of rough housing and male bonding (which includes Mallory telling Miller that he is a horrible little man) Mallory tells his remaining friends that before the medals get handed out, they're on the wrong side of the river and that they have a very long walk home.
Guy Hamilton’s Force 10 From Navarone
, like Mark Robson’s Von Ryan’s Express
and John Sturges’ The Eagle Has Landed
is one of my favorite bad movie films. Not bad films per se but if you look at the source material they were derived from ~ books by Alistair MacLean, David Westheimer and Jack Higgins respectively ~ they are bad copies.
Films that surpass or equal best selling war books are few and far between but there are exceptions, like First Blood
, The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, The Wild Geese
and Shangani Patrol
which work well both as books and as films, although I have no real love for the man who directed A Bridge Too Far.
I have to say this: if you can ignore the fact that there was an Oscar winning film called The Guns Of Navarone
which was released in 1961 and starred Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, James Darren, Sir Anthony Quayle and Sir Stanley Baker, then you must just be prepared to enjoy this on its’ own. Speaking for myself, it helped to be eleven when you first saw it, as I did. While I enjoyed it, my Dad urged me to see the first film, which I managed to do a few years later: no videos, VHS or DVD in those days, unfortunately.
The film effectively shoots itself in the foot by not using Messrs Peck and Niven who were still very active then ~ indeed, these two gentlemen acted in Andrew V. MacLaglen’s The Sea Wolves
in 1980 and could have done a lot better with Robin Chapman’s dire screenplay. This film turns Miller and Mallory into friends which they were certainly not in the original film ~ their antagonistic relationship would have worked better in this. I almost forgot: The Sea Wolves
as a book was far, far better than the film, even with Messrs Peck and Niven in it.
Of the rest of the cast, Carl Weathers as the AWOL USA Medical Corps medic acquits himself well and stands up to racial and physical abuse in an I-ain’t-gonna-take-no-more-of-this-sh*t fashion, especially when he has to nut up to face the towering Richard Kiel, the guy who tries to slice his face open and continually calls him derogatory names. Franco Nero as the traitor Lescovar is another well cast role but I am sure that he needed his back seen to after Alan Badel almost slapped his back through his front. Barbara Bach is more than adequate as Maritza, the good soldier comrade and the shot of Franco Nero carrying her body through the flames after the airstrike is a memorable one. Another memorable scene is the one where Edward Fox and Carl Weathers scatter what looks like a whole heap of dog poo on a road, only to have trucks explode while riding over it.
The visual effects in this film are terrible, bad and actually not quite good. I have never seen water traveling in slow motion before and the sight of battle-hardened German troops running in terror from the water containing residue from my recently washed underpants always makes me laugh. The dam that bursts looks like a bad art school reject project and the bridge that collapses because of the horrible residue is something that Edward D. Wood would be proud of.
Not a great film by any means: just a pleasant childhood memory, but I don’t think that Ron Goodwin saw the film before composing the score.