Europe

Guns of Navarone

A Boy’s Life #1: My favorite book and movie in childhood was the WW II adventure, The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean. It didn’t hurt that the gorgeous, busty Greek turncoat in the movie, played by Gia Scala, was a dead ringer for a major crush, my Italian third grade teacher. It did bother me that the director had her unmasked and shot by the second-most gorgeous and busty actress in the movie, Irene Papas—but as David Niven would have sighed, war (at least in the cinematic version) is a tiresome business.

So naturally I was thrilled to be sailing past the island of Leros (the real Navarone) on the way to Rhodes, where the film was shot. And through the mists, I could hear Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn and all scaling those cliffs, impersonating those Germans, falling for those gorgeous, busty actresses, planting those explosives, and blowing stuff up.

Except… In looking up the names for this post, I discovered that the tempestuous Gia was in fact an Englishwoman born in Merseyside and named Josephine; that she might have been murdered in Hollywood age 38; and that her husband ditched her for none other than Rock Hudson. And not only did the movie nearly kill David Niven with pneumonia, but Gregory Peck’s superb German was in fact dubbed.

Sometimes adult reality truly sucks.

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