Force 10 from Navarone (film)

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Force 10 From Navarone

film poster by Brian Bysouth
Directed byGuy Hamilton
Produced byOliver A. Unger
Screenplay byRobin Chapman
George MacDonald Fraser (uncredited)[1]
Story byCarl Foreman
Based onForce 10 From Navarone by
Alistair MacLean
StarringRobert Shaw
Harrison Ford
Edward Fox
Barbara Bach
Music byRon Goodwin
CinematographyChristopher Challis
Editing byRaymond Poulton
StudioNavarone Productions Ltd
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byWarner-Columbia (UK[2])
AIP (US)
Release date(s)
  • November 1978 (1978-11) (UK[2])
  • 8 December 1978 (1978-12-08) (US)
Running time118 minutes (release)
126 minutes (restored)
CountryUK, Malta, Yugoslavia[3]
LanguageEnglish
BudgetUS$10,000,000
Box officeUS$7,100,000 (US only)
 
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Force 10 From Navarone

film poster by Brian Bysouth
Directed byGuy Hamilton
Produced byOliver A. Unger
Screenplay byRobin Chapman
George MacDonald Fraser (uncredited)[1]
Story byCarl Foreman
Based onForce 10 From Navarone by
Alistair MacLean
StarringRobert Shaw
Harrison Ford
Edward Fox
Barbara Bach
Music byRon Goodwin
CinematographyChristopher Challis
Editing byRaymond Poulton
StudioNavarone Productions Ltd
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byWarner-Columbia (UK[2])
AIP (US)
Release date(s)
  • November 1978 (1978-11) (UK[2])
  • 8 December 1978 (1978-12-08) (US)
Running time118 minutes (release)
126 minutes (restored)
CountryUK, Malta, Yugoslavia[3]
LanguageEnglish
BudgetUS$10,000,000
Box officeUS$7,100,000 (US only)

Force 10 from Navarone is a 1978 British produced war film loosely based on Alistair MacLean's 1968 novel of the same name. It is a sequel to the 1961 film, The Guns of Navarone. The parts of Mallory and Miller are played by Robert Shaw and Edward Fox. It was directed by Guy Hamilton and also stars Harrison Ford, Carl Weathers, Barbara Bach, Franco Nero, and Richard Kiel.

Contents

Plot

In 1943, after their successful mission on the Greek island of Navarone, Mallory (Robert Shaw) and Miller (Edward Fox) are sent to find and kill Nicolai. Originally thought to be a traitor who informed the Germans about Miller and Mallory during the Navarone mission, Nicolai is now known to be Colonel von Ingorslebon, a dedicated German spy believed to have infiltrated the Yugoslav Partisans as "Captain Lescovar" (Franco Nero).

To get to Yugoslavia, the two men pair with "Force 10", an American sabotage unit, led by Lieutenant Colonel Barnsby (Harrison Ford), which has its own mission there. To maximize security, Force 10 steals a Lancaster bomber from a British air base in Termoli, Italy, rather than requisitioning one; but they are spotted by American MPs before they can take off. Weaver (Carl Weathers), a U.S. Army sergeant under arrest by the MPs, joins with Force 10 and forces his way onto the plane. Barnsby and crew successfully "escape" Termoli only to be shot down by Luftwaffe night fighters. Only Barnsby, Mallory, Miller, Weaver, and Reynolds (Angus MacInnes) manage to escape the crippled plane.

On the ground, the survivors run across a group they believe to be their allies, Communist Yugoslav Partisans. Led by Captain Drazak (Richard Kiel), Force 10's rescuers are soon revealed to be collaborationist Chetniks (nationalist Serb guerrillas) under German control. The Germans take the team into custody but do not know their mission. Mallory and Barnsby tell the commander, Major Schroeder (Michael Byrne), that they are criminals fleeing Allied authorities. To keep Schroeder from opening Miller's suitcase, which contains his special explosives, Mallory tells him that it contains a new wonder drug called "penicillin" which will spoil if exposed to air. By the next morning, the prisoners are told that Schroeder has opened the case, finding it full of firewood. Surprised, Mallory and Barnsby improvise an excuse, "admitting" they buried the samples. Schroeder sends them to retrieve them, under the guard of his concubine Maritza (Barbara Bach) and three of his soldiers. Miller, Weaver, and Reynolds are left in a cell in camp.

Far from camp, Maritza kills the Germans, revealing herself to be a partisan spy who retrieved and hid the explosives before Schroeder opened the case. She directs Mallory and Barnsby towards the partisan camp under the command of her father, Major Petrovich (Alan Badel). Mallory and Barnsby escape, ambushing and killing two of Drazak's Chetniks, who are bandaged to hide burns from flamethrowers. Eventually, the two meet a patrol of real Yugoslav Partisans led by a man Mallory recognizes as his target – Captain Lescovar alias Nicolai. While Mallory assumes that Lescovar has recognized him, too, he and Barnsby are nevertheless taken to the partisans. Mallory and Barnsby realize where they are when they recognize a wide river and a large hydroelectric dam near the Partisan camp.

Skeptical, Major Petrovich dismisses Mallory's story about Lescovar being Nicolai, assuring Mallory they executed the real Nicolai months earlier. He reproves the men for killing the bandaged Chetniks, as the men were partisan infiltrators and his only link to his daughter Maritza.

Major Petrovich's principal worry is an impending assault by the Wehrmacht. The Germans are marshaling their forces nearby, and only a ravine separates as many as three German divisions from the outnumbered partisans. Only a single concrete arch bridge links each side of the ravine, but the partisans have been unable to destroy it. Convinced that no bridge is impregnable, Barnsby reveals that this bridge is, in fact, Force 10's target. Knowing Miller's expertise in demolitions, Mallory convinces a reluctant Petrovich to help mount a rescue mission using Lescovar and the Partisan Marko (Petar Buntic).

The four re-enter the camp at night, Mallory and Barnsby posing as captives and the partisans disguised as the bandaged men. Before they complete their mission, Drazak arrives with the bodies of the real bandaged men and, since Maritza had always been seen with them, concludes she was a partisan as well. A gun battle breaks out in the cell block. Major Schroeder and Force 10's Reynolds are killed; but Mallory, Barnsby, Miller, Weaver, Lescovar and Marko escape in a truck with a badly beaten Maritza and the recovered explosives.

Having made it to the Partisans, explosives expert Miller reveals that the bridge really is impregnable. Mallory hits upon the idea of destroying the upstream dam they saw earlier, with the sudden onrush of several millions of gallons of water being enough to destroy the bridge. A night-time air drop is arranged to replace Force 10's lost supplies, but Lescovar sabotages the drop by calling in German planes. Maritza spots Lescovar betraying the partisans, but he kills her before she can warn the others. German planes bomb the illuminated drop zone.

Major Petrovich, angered by the botched air drop, orders the men to be sent to Marshal Josip Broz Tito's headquarters for transport back to Italy. The team decides to infiltrate the German marshaling yards at Mostar to steal explosives, taking Lescovar and Marko. Lescovar again betrays them, alerting a German sergeant to their presence, identifying himself as an Abwehr officer. Marko overhears the plan and sacrifices himself to save the others. The others escape, with Lescovar, aboard a train leaving for Sarajevo. Lescovar's hasty cover story does not fool Mallory or Barnsby-Barnsby had observed Lescovar's interactions with the German sergeant, who, fatally, salutes him even though Lescovar's uniform made him out to be a corporal; Mallory had noticed a map showing that their train passes within a half-mile of the dam—a fact Lescovar "neglected" to bring up. Though Lescovar initially denies treachery, Mallory is convinced beyond any doubt. He states that Lescovar is indeed the same man who blew his unit's cover at Navarone, to which Lescovar admits with a single nod. Barnsby then kills him, and calls Mallory in to return the favor by helping him accomplish Force 10's mission since he completed Mallory's.

Jumping the train near the dam, the team splits up: Miller and Weaver set off diversionary explosives while Mallory and Barnsby sneak into the dam. Weaver runs into Captain Drazak in the woods and kills him after a knife fight.

Mallory and Barnsby set their charges within the dam but realize that they are out of time. With the German assault only minutes away—they are forced to set a short fuse, leaving them no time to escape. Mallory and Barnsby are caught in the explosion, yet nevertheless survive. At first, the dam appears undamaged, but soon it begins to disintegrate. With its fragile structural integrity disrupted, the dam wall collapses, releasing millions of tons of water in a wave that topples the real target, the impregnable bridge. The German assault is thwarted, saving the Partisans.

Mallory and Barnsby rejoin Miller and an injured Weaver, but the jubilation is short-lived. Mallory reminds the men that they are now trapped on the wrong side of the river, with no supplies and no way of contacting or reaching the partisans. As the credits roll, the men begin a strenuous journey back to friendly lines.

Cast

Reception

The film received mixed reviews. Review aggregations website Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 64% based on 11 reviews.[4]

Production notes

Screenplay

George MacDonald Fraser was hired to work on the script during filming in Yugoslavia, in part because he and Guy Hamilton got along well when both worked on Superman (1978).[1]

Musical score

Composer Ron Goodwin scored the film to the 126-minute version during the summer of 1978. Before the film was released it was shortened to 118 minutes. Additional music cues were created by recycling music from other parts of the film—typically reusing suspense passages in scenes for which they were not written. The CD release of the soundtrack by Film Score Monthly chronicles these changes, and presents the score as Goodwin wrote and recorded it for the 126-minute version.

Locations

Shepperton Studios outside London were used for most indoor scenes, while large sceneries were shot around the Đurđevića Tara Bridge, Montenegro with the assistance of Jadran Film. Scale models of the dam, the valley and the bridge were constructed at the Mediterranean Film Studios in Malta. Some scenes were also shot at the Plymoth Dock in Plymouth and on Jersey.

Versions

The 118-minute cut was released worldwide theatrically by Columbia Pictures, which had released The Guns of Navarone. While Columbia held on to international rights, AIP's U.S. rights would pass to Orion Pictures which in 1982 bought AIP. Orion was in turn sold to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1998. MGM itself was sold to a consortium led by Columbia's parent Sony in 2005, and so Columbia holds some ancillary rights in the U.S. today, including theatrical rights.

Legal action

Although three producers of the film are deceased (Carl Foreman, Sidney Cohn, and Oliver Unger), their estates and surviving producer Peter Gettinger sued Sony Pictures (as Columbia Pictures' successor) for unpaid sums from distribution rights. Following a May 2008 trial in the N.Y. Supreme Court, a judgement awarded the producers more than 30 years of funds withheld by Columbia Pictures.[5] Sony appealed the decision, but on September 1, 2009, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, New York, upheld it.[6]

References

External links