War Movie Miscellany


Forum Staff
Feb 2009
Eastern PA
Lucky Dick (in both ways). Tell the truth - did you go to Google Images? I did.

P.S. You can tell Jim Brown is a rookie actor because he allows a picture with him holding less weight than the superstar.
Clint Walker was a big guy, he had a couple of inches on everyone in the movie.

I didn't do an image search.
May 2011
New Iberia, La.
BACK-STORY - Alexander Nevsky

“Alexander Nevsky” was the great Sergei Eisenstein’s first and most successful sound motion picture. It came thirteen years after his other masterpiece “Battleship Potemkin”. He chose to do a film on Nevsky because little was known about him so Eisenstein hoped to be able to structure the narrative the way he wanted. He was not given the free rein that he had hoped for. For this film he was kept on a short leash as the Soviet government wanted to make sure it got the propaganda product it commissioned. Eisenstein was assigned a co-writer and co-director to look over his shoulder. The co-writer was probably a secret police agent. The film is most famous for two elements: the battle on the ice and Prokofiev’s score. The iced lake scenes were filmed outside Moscow in the dead of summer. The cinematographer went to remarkable lengthes to create the lake setting. The ice was actually asphalt and melted glass. The fake ice rested on floating pontoons that could be deflated on cue. Some scenes in the picture were cut to match the score. The film was awarded the Stalin Prize in 1941 and Eisenstein (and the co-director) was given the Order of Lenin by Stalin. Speaking of Stalin, he was shown a rough cut of the film and either did not like a scene showing a riot of the citizens of Novgorod or the reel was accidentally left behind so it was not vetted by the supreme ruler. Either way, the reel was left out of the final cut.
Nov 2011
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
I am prompted by your tale of Donald Pleasance giving his director advice on what happened in a PoW camp to relay the interaction between Anthony Quayle and his fellows in:-
A totally fictional story of an Allied commando raid to silence German naval guns in the Adriatic in WW2. Among the stars were Anthony Quinn playing a tough Greek partisan leader who enjoyed killing Germans, Stanley Baker, who specialised in tough guy parts, playing a ruthless, possibly psychopathic killer and Anthony Quayle, who specialised in playing mild-mannered, cultured gentlemen or "decent " British officers in war films. Quinn never saw any military action in real life and Baker had done post-war national service in the supply corps (often called counting blankets). In one scene Baker is required to despatch an enemy with a knife, as they rehearsed the scene, Quayle stepped forward and showed Baker exactly how to do it, having been an SOE agent supporting Tito's partisans in German occupied Yugoslavia and, suspiciously, reluctant to explain how he knew how men died with a knife in their vitals and the best way to kill them..
Co-incidentally, in the same film, David Niven, who also had a murky period in WW2 with a field intelligence unit that worked behind enemy lines was required to lose his temper with his superior, Gregory Peck, about liquidating a suspect team member. In later life he hinted that a similar incident occurred with compromised French civilians in 1944 and his emotional performance had some basis in real life.
May 2011
New Iberia, La.
Thanks for the Navarone information. Here's some more.

1. The original director was Alexander MacKendrick. He was fired (officially he was ill) by producer Carl Foreman for creative differences. Foreman had set himself up as second unit director and was very protective of his script. He also felt MacKendrick was not up to his standards. Foreman also found fault with the script written by thriller writer Eric Ambler and decided to write it himself. Foreman, a communist sympathizer, had been blacklisted in the U.S. during the Korean War. Although he had dropped out of the Communist Party ten years earlier, he refused to name names before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. After finishing “High Noon”, he had relocated to England.

2. Director J. Lee Thompson had had a great success with “Ice Cold in Alex”. He later went on to direct “John Goldfarb, Please Come Home”. He was known for frequent rehearsing. The movie uses a lot of painted mattes for effects and rear projection. Most of the shots of the boat are models. The cliff scene was done on the floor of the studio with the actors lying down for the scaling.

3. The Greek government provided a thousand troops, dozens of vehicles, and a number of ships. Foreman was given access to all historical sites. The cooperation soured after Thompson accidentally sank the ship in the scene where their boat is stopped by a German patrol ship. Members of the royal family appear in the wedding banquet scene.

4. The shipwreck scene was done in the studio tank using airplane engines that had water from fire hoses sprayed into them. It took 10 days. The tidal wave was an effect. Peck suffered a deep gash on his head and was nearly crushed by the hydraulics. Quinn injured his back. Niven reopened an old war wound. Darren nearly drowned.

5. Peck was chosen after William Holden asked for too much and did not want to star because he felt the movie was too much like “Bridge on the River Kwai”. Peck liked the anti-war theme because he was a confirmed pacifist who had not supported U.S. intervention in WWII until Operation Barbarossa. He refused to do an English accent so the character was changed to American. He later admitted he was miscast. His German was dubbed. He was hoping to revive a career that was beginning to skid.

6. Anthony Quinn loved the Rhodes location shoot so much he bought land in the area that is still called Anthony Quin Bay. He and Peck did not get along at first, but bonded over chess (which Quinn was very good at). He angered the cast by wearing the vibrant red t-shirt under his uniform and then using its uncovering to steal eyeballs in the climactic scenes.

7. David Niven felt his role was underwritten and pouted a bit about it. This movie was the only one that the anti-smoking Brit smoked in. Niven returned to the British Army at the start of the war. He was the only British actor to return to serve in the war. He was assigned to a commando unit, but did not like to talk about his experiences. He suffered a serious viral infection shooting the rigging the rigging the elevator scene because the water was polluted. He came close to dying and was hospitalized for several weeks. The movie was in jeopardy until he returned.

8. Anthony Quayle was a Major organizing guerrilla forces in Albania during WWII.

9. Bobby Darren was hoping to change his teen idol image, but his next movie was the sequel to “Gidget” in which he played Moondoggie. He had only ten lines of dialogue.

10. Stanley Baker was a big star in England, but was not high on the movie’s totem pole. He was bitter throughout the filming.

11. Gia Scala (Anna) was a head-case and difficult to work with (she later committed suicide). She was upset with director Thompson for having her character with short hair. When given the opportunity to cut Foreman’s hair, she gouged the back of it.

12. Dimitri Tiomkin got a record $50,000 and a percent of the profits. The score was the longest ever at 147 minutes.

13. The guns were built by an armaments company and were functional. The guns were based on Big Bertha. The guns set was the largest ever built. It took five months. It was three stories high and had and working elevator.

14. The number of times Barnsby (Richard Harris) says “bloody” in his rant about aerial bombing of the guns – 9. The British censor insisted it be redubbed “ruddy” for British prints.

15. *** Spoiler Alert: Foreman made substantial changes to the novel. He added the Pappadimos character. He added the leadership dysfunction between Mallory and Miller. He added the revenge issue for Stavros with regard to Mallory. He added Stavros saving Mallory on the cliff. He built up the scopolamine angle. Mallory kills the traitor. He added the wedding scene. There was no well of water at the bottom of the elevator in the book. (I bet Niven wished he had not added that!) He made the story more anti-war.
Mar 2019
In the film Tora Tora Tora. The long shots of Pearl Harbor packed with ships was as a consequence of a just concluded RimPak evercise. Virtually the entire Australian Navy can be seen in those shots.

In the film Battleship. The sequences of the USS Missouri underway are not CGI. The producers took advantage of a rare moment the vessel was put to sea before being brought back into her permanent berth at Pearl Harbor
May 2011
New Iberia, La.
In the film Tora Tora Tora. The long shots of Pearl Harbor packed with ships was as a consequence of a just concluded RimPak evercise. Virtually the entire Australian Navy can be seen in those shots.

In the film Battleship. The sequences of the USS Missouri underway are not CGI. The producers took advantage of a rare moment the vessel was put to sea before being brought back into her permanent berth at Pearl Harbor
And when the movie came out, the Missouri rolled over like the Oklahoma.
May 2018
Houston, TX
Re: Guns of Navarone --
"5. Peck was chosen....He was hoping to revive a career that was beginning to skid."
He almost immediately made "To Kill A Mockingbird" for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Either his career was alive and well or Navarone helped escalate it. For me, Mockingbird is one of the best films ever made.

"15. *** Spoiler Alert: Foreman made substantial changes to the novel....Mallory kills the traitor."
Mallory was incited by Miller to shoot the traitor, but Maria (Irene Pappas) shot her just before Mallory could. That seemed quite appropriate since Maria surely felt the most betrayed by her fellow resistance operative.
Likes: warmoviebuff

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