As long as there have been movies, there have been movies about war. Watching the heroes bravely fight and eventually defeat the enemy has always made for great storytelling which naturally lends itself to the big screen. Of course, as times have changed so has the action presented in movies based during times of war. In today's war films, injuries and casualties are depicted much more graphically than they were even fifty years ago and today's versions tend to include a psychological aspect to soldiers' stories during wartime. However, if you are looking to go back and watch the "oldies but goodies", The Guns of Navarone would be a great option, especially since Sony Pictures has just released it as a 4K SteelBook. Starring an all-star cast including Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mocking Bird), David Nivens (The Pink Panther), and Anthony Quinn (Zorba the Greek), The Guns of Navarone is on sale at your local retailers now.
Set during World War II, a group of Allied soldiers take on a dangerous mission to save 2000 British Soldiers. The mission requires a team of covert operatives to infiltrate the Greek Island of Navarone where the Nazis have created a stronghold with two massive radar-directed large-caliber guns which has thwarted any rescue efforts. With pitfalls throughout their quest - including infighting, inclement weather, and sabotage - these brave men must succeed to save, not only the 2000 stranded soldiers but themselves as well.
The Dolby Vision upgrade offers a mixed bag of visuals. The daytime scenes are bright and clean and have excellent details and color saturation. Conversely, the scenes set at night or any scene with low lighting appear extremely dark and offer little in the way of gradient shading. There is no discernible difference in the black hues giving everything a "one note" sort of feel. Unfortunately, this means the nighttime scenes are too dark to see much of anything.
While there are 3 audio tracks to choose from (Dolby Atmos, 5.1 audio, and a rarely used, 4.0 audio) the Atoms is by far the superior version. The base is deep while the higher-frequency sounds are layered and crisp. It is also obvious that Sony Pictures did their best to create surround sound audio that could be utilized by today's sound systems, The overall result is an audio track that is well done considering the lack of technology when the movie was made back in 1961.
Unsurprisingly, the supplemental material is older but adds some dimension to the set, assuming the viewer has never seen them before. Included on the 4K disc are 2 extras - Main Title Progression Reel and Theatrical Trailer, and the Blu-ray Disc offers a number of previously released extras: Audio Commentary by Director J. Lee Thompson, Audio Commentary by Film Historian Stephen J. Rubin, The Resistance Dossier of Navarone: Interactive Feature, Forging The Guns of Navarone: Notes from the Set, An Ironic Epic of Heroism, Memories of Navarone, Epic Restoration, A Heroic Score, Great Guns, No Visitors, Honeymoon on Rhodes, Two Girls on the Town, Narration-Free Prologue and Message from Carl Foreman.
With very good action scenes, solid dialogue, and an interesting plot, The Guns of Navarone is an excellent example of what war movies were like over 60 years ago. Though previously released on Blu-ray, this latest edition is something special that would make a wonderful holiday gift for someone who loves older films, loves any type of movie with a wartime theme, or any Gregory Peck, David Givens, or Anthony Quinn fan.
The SteelBook is a very nice added touch and the 2 disc set plus digital download is a steal at any price.