Blu-Ray Review: Force 10 from Navarone

Whilst things might be slowly changing, Hollywood has been a boys’ club for a very long time. This has been reflected in the cinema it has produced, where’s there’s often a hefty dollop of bromance. Bringing a group of men together to undertake some sort of mission is a regular plot device. Whether that’s the likes of The Magnificent Seven (western), Where Eagles Dare (war), The Hangover (comedy) or Oceans 11 (crime). This is the premise behind Guy Hamilton’s Force 10 for Navarone.

Major Mallory (Robert Shaw) and the now retired Sergeant Miller (Edward Fox) are approached to finish where they left off and track down a German spy who sabotaged their last mission. In order to get to Yugoslavia and infiltrate the Partisans, they must team up with an American unit led by Lieutenant Colonel Barnsby (Harrison Ford). Their ‘team’ includes Reynolds (Angus MacInnes) and Weaver (Carl Weathers), an escapee from the military police. When they reach their destination, they find their missions converge.

Whilst Force 10 for Navarone covers a lot of familiar ground, there’s a good charisma established between the main players. The action itself is fun, and whilst there are some rather unpalatable moments which quite frankly weren’t acceptable in the ‘70s, they don’t detract too much from the entertainment. As a story it does feel rather convenient and derivative, referring to the Alistair MacLean book rather than following it. However, there’s enough testosterone, explosions and high jinx to divert and amuse.

Special features:

  • High Definition remasters
  • Extended version with original mono audio, and alternative stereo and 5.1 surround options (126 mins)
  • Limited edition exclusive presentation of the original theatrical cut, with mono audio (118 mins)
  • Audio commentary on the extended version with film historians Steve Mitchell and Steven Jay Rubin (2020)
  • This Is a Giant Movie (1978, 21 mins): archival location report by Channel Television featuring interviews with producer Oliver A Unger, and actors Edward Fox and Carl Weathers
  • Tour de Force (2020, 24 mins): actor Angus MacInnes recalls his early film role
  • From Žabljak with Love (2020, 28 mins): the making of the film as told by construction manager Terry Apsey, stuntman Jim Dowdall, grip Dennis Fraser, chief hairdresser Colin Jamison, and chief make-up artist Peter Robb-King
  • A Life Behind the Lens (2020, 33 mins): a tribute to the acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Challis, featuring interviews with fellow directors of photography and camera crew Dennis Fraser, Oswald Morris, John Palmer and Sydney Samuelson, as well as archival footage of Challis
  • The BEHP Interview with Ron Goodwin (1999, 89 mins): archival video, made as part of the British Entertainment History Project, featuring the celebrated composer in conversation with Linda Wood
  • A Show of Force (2020, 26 mins): a look at the different versions of Force 10 from Navarone
  • Super 8 version: cut-down home cinema presentation
  • Original trailers, TV and radio spots
  • Image gallery: publicity and promotional material
  • New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Limited edition exclusive 80-page book with a new essay by Sheldon Hall, archival production reports including interviews with cast and crew members, an interview with actor Robert Shaw, recollections of the film’s Yugoslavia shoot excerpted from the memoirs of cinematographer Christopher Challis and screenwriter George MacDonald Fraser, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
  • Limited edition exclusive set of five replica production stills
  • UK premiere on Blu-ray
  • Limited edition of 5,000 copies

Force 10 from Navarone is released on Limited Edition Blu-ray by Powerhouse Films as part of the Indicator Series on 29 June.

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