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Guns of Navarone (1961) v Where Eagles Dare (1968)

Guns of Navarone v Where Eagles Dare  

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  1. 1. Which one is your favorite?

    • Guns of Navarone
    • Where Eagles Dare


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Guns of Navarone (1961) v Where Eagles Dare (1968)

 

Popular intriguing WW2 films based on Alistair Maclean books/screenplay, starring major stars of the time, shot on nice locations, with memorable background score, and now rated as classics.

 

  • Gun of Navarone: Shot primarily on Greek Islands. Stars Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn. Has more layers to it so can be relatively slow
  • Where Eagles Dare: Shot in the snowy Alps. Stars Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. Sports a memorable background score. This one is more action oriented and like an extended final act of a film

 

Which one is your favorite? 

 

 

Additional notes on picture quality (both available on blu-ray):

  • Guns of Navarone: This was restored in 4K sometime back. Expecting Sony to release it on 4K UHD (though 4K non HDR version could be available on certain streaming services) 
  • Where Eagles Dare: Not sure if Warner Brothers will do a 4K restoration in the near term. Maybe on its 55th or 60th Anniversary

 

Edited by zen
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A clip from GoN. Appears to be from the new restoration which was released on blu-ray some time back. There may be softness issues related to the camera lenses used, along with neglect of the original print, but still a decent effort:

 



PS ^ don’t forget to set the quality to 1080p

 

Edited by zen
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The Guns of Navarone (GoN) Short Review 

 

Story Summary: An Allied special team is assigned a covert mission to destroy two radar enabled large calibre guns on a Greek Island under the Axis control. The mission is deemed to be a suicide one with a small chance of success especially since it involves taking the most unlikely and therefore the most difficult route. The team would need to navigate through various challenges to blow up the guns, creating a passage for six Allied naval ships on their way to accomplish a related mission. The enemy is clever and able to anticipate the team's move successfully, requiring the team to innovate to stay a step ahead.  

 

Highlights: The film is full of highlights from an ensemble of blockbuster actors to the cinematography that capture the beautiful Greek rocky countryside and the ancient ruins. The adventure covers various modes of transportation including seaplanes, boats, trekking, and military vehicles. There is a mountain/cliff climbing sequence as well that seems to have inspired a sequence in the James Bond spy adventure - For Your Eyes Only. The talented cast portrays various emotions including camaraderie, tension, conflicts, ethics and handling treason to grant the film a high repeat value. The background score captures various elements of the Greek folk music. 

 

Rating: The film mixes various elements of the action-adventure period genre while battling the Nazis much like in an Indiana Jones film or even the recent Wonder Woman. On a relative scale respective to the genre, I would give it a 9/10. There are minor goofs in the film for which I have harshly deducted a mark. 

 

Video/Audio Quality: If I recall correctly, the film was the first or second highest grossing film of 1961. Columbia Pictures got greedy to create too many copies of the original Technicolor film negative, rendering it unusable as a source for home video. The relatively inferior Eastman color negatives (the copies) were used for home video releases, if I am not wrong.  In 2011, Sony released the 50th Anniversary blu ray based on a restoration in 4K using the available secondary material (The 4K UHD as the format was not widely available at that time). Considering the challenges faced, Sony has done a good job with the transfer. The audio is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master, which is adequate. Overall, the blu-ray (probably till a 4K UHD is released) is the best way to enjoy this film. 

 

Edited by zen
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Where Eagles Dare (WED) Short Review 

 

Story Summary: A British military intelligence team, which also includes an American ranger, is tasked to rescue a high value American official held at a Nazi castle in the Alps. The castle is impossible to infiltrate unless by the Eagles hence the title Where Eagles Dare. Once the team parachutes into the snow laden Alps, a member of the team is immediately killed to signal that there is more to the mission than what meets the eye. 

 

Highlights: The castle in the Alps that can be accessed through a cable car. A memorable background score. Sequences involving the cable car. The final scene on the plane is interesting as well. If I am not wrong, Richard Burton's kids wanted to see a film of his in which he did not die at the end and one that they could actually watch, leading to Where Eagles Dare. Clint Eastwood was brought in to play the supporting role of the American ranger and deliver the action scenes. Both of them work well as a team with Burton doing most of the talking and Eastwood carrying out most of the shooting.

 

Rating: The film belongs to the action-thriller/adventure genre. There are not too many films like it. Ones that immediately come to mind are On Her Majesty's Secret Service where James Bond has to deal with Ernst Stavro Blofeld's HQ in snow capped Alps in Switzerland and the final sequence of the 1940's The Night Train to Munich. On a relative scale respective to the genre, I would give it a solid 8/10. A couple of marks deducted as a) outside of the castle sequences, it may appear like a regular action film, and b) minor plot holes usually related to such relatively fast paced action films. 

 

Video/Audio Quality: I watched it on iTunes (digital). The transfer is one from the blu ray, which was released in 2010. I am not sure if Warner Brothers performed any major restoration work (apart from usual touch up and clean up) for the blu ray release. One positive is that the transfer has grain which gives it the "filmic" look (v heavily DNRed blu rays which remove grain while obliterating fine details). Overall, I would say it is an above average transfer which serves the purpose at the moment but has the potential to look better once a full restoration is performed for an eventual 4K UHD release. 

Edited by zen
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Where Eagles Dare. One of the best filmed opening seq of all times. The music and filming is so amazing. This is 1969, they must have fit cameras on planes to do it, there were no drones in that time. And look at the technology, and people wonder if they could talk to somebody over a satellite link in 1969
 

 

Edited by coffee_rules
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Guns of Navarone is now available in 4K UHD, however not sure if the 4K is a significant upgrade over the blu-ray as the transfer is likely to use the inferior negatives for a scan ... Below gives a rough idea (rough as watching it actually in 4K HDR can be a better experience):

 

 

I have it on blu-ray so not sure if I will get the 4K UHD at this point. 

Edited by zen
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On 9/25/2020 at 10:04 PM, zen said:

Guns of Navarone (1961) v Where Eagles Dare (1968)

 

Popular intriguing WW2 films based on Alistair Maclean books/screenplay, starring major stars of the time, shot on nice locations, with memorable background score, and now rated as classics.

 

  • Gun of Navarone: Shot primarily on Greek Islands. Stars Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn. Has more layers to it so can be relatively slow
  • Where Eagles Dare: Shot in the snowy Alps. Stars Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. Sports a memorable background score. This one is more action oriented and like an extended final act of a film

 

Which one is your favorite? 

 

 

Additional notes on picture quality (both available on blu-ray):

  • Guns of Navarone: This was restored in 4K sometime back. Expecting Sony to release it on 4K UHD (though 4K non HDR version could be available on certain streaming services) 
  • Where Eagles Dare: Not sure if Warner Brothers will do a 4K restoration in the near term. Maybe on its 55th or 60th Anniversary

 

Gregory Peck or Clint Eastwood.

Ice cream or Kulfi.

Hard to pick one over the other.

Excellent movies.

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Where Eagles Dare, by a mile as the crow flies.

 

The pacing, action sequences and editing feel like they are for a blockbuster set for a late 2022 release. Back then, it was wildly fresh and exhilarating no doubt. But even today when you rewatch it you realise how so much of the movies that are sold as action lack that energy and pure cinematic magic that this classic wears so lightly and with elan.

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