Film: Force Ten From Navarone

Force Ten from Navarone is a book by Alistair MacLean, published in 1968, and a 1978 film adaptation, starring Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford and Edward Fox. The events depicted take place during World War II but are entirely fictional. A small contingent of American soldiers, plus two of the British soldiers from The Guns of Navarone, are sent to Yugoslavia to carry out two separate missions. The Brits aim to eliminate a known traitor masquerading as a Yugoslav Partisan, while the Americans were sent to destroy a bridge.

Force Ten From Navarone is MacLean's only sequal work, written as a follow-on to the film adaptation of The Guns of Navarone rather than to the original novel.

Force Ten from Navarone provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Maritza
  • Adaptation Name Change: Many, most of which don't really seem to do much except cause confusion: Maria is now Maritza, General Vukalovic is demoted to being Major Petrovich, Captain Droshy is Captain Drazak, and Captain Neufeld gets a promotion to Major Schroeder.
  • Adapted Out: A few:
    • Brown in the novel. Since he dies in the film version of The Guns of Navarone, and MacLean wrote Force 10 to more closely follow the film, Brown is MIA.
    • Andrea Stavros. In the book, he accompanies Mallory and Miller to Yugoslavia and even kills Captain Droshny (the Drazak equivalent). He's absent from the movie and is never mentioned.
    • General Zimmerman is never seen or mentioned in the movie.
    • Petar, who is replaced as the leader of the Partisans by Petrovich. Note that this isn't a simple character name change, as Petar is a young, blind boy and Petrovich is the movie's version of General Vukalovic.
    • Saunders and Groves, to a lesser extent.
  • Airstrike Impossible: It is unlikely that the Partisans had the airplanes necessary to carry bombs to destroy the bridge. Enter Force Ten.
  • Awesome Suitcase: Staff Sergeant John Miller's suitcase chock-full of explosives. He seems to have a nearly infinite supply of them in his bag of tricks to confound and confuse the Germans while Barnsby and Mallory set the charges to blow the dam upstream of the bridge.
  • Badass Crew
  • Big Dam Plot: In both the book and film, the mission is a cover to destroy an important dam.
  • The Big Guy: Drazak, literally, as he's played by Richard Kiel.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the film, characters often speak untranslated German and Serbo-Croatian.
  • Blind Musician: Petar.
  • Canon Foreigner: Colonel von Ingorslebon/Lescovar. There's no German Intelligence agent posing as a Partisan fighter in the book. Ditto Mike Barnsby and almost all of his men except for Doug Reynolds (who is a Royal Marine Commando in the book).
  • Death by Adaptation: Martiza and Schroeder, whose counterparts Maria and Captain Neufeld survives in the novel.
  • During the War
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: Kills Zimmerman and takes out a bridge in the novel, whereas in the film all of the Germans manage to make it off of the bridge before it hits.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Marko sacrifices himself to kill Sergeant Bismarck and his men so the gang can escape on the train.
  • Idiot Ball: The characters have it during the scene where they rescue Weaver, Miller and Reynolds from the SS. They don't properly frisk the Nazis, allowing the Gestapo agent to pull a gun from inside his coat, and in addition to ignoring Bauer because they think he's a Harmless Villain, they inadvertently lay temptation in his path by leaving a gun within his reach. The fallout from this blunder leads to Reynolds' death and the gang having to violently shoot their way out, instead of simply walking out as they apparently originally planned.
  • In the Back: Saunders is killed by Droshny this way in the novel.
  • Large Ham: Colonel Petrovich.
  • The Load: Barnsby regards the British officers as this initially, but comes to accept their assistance when he lacks the men and equipment to carry out his mission.
    • The Force 10 team expects Weaver to be this. Since he's black and they're about to parachute into Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia, they kinda have a point.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The Chetniks in the movie. Echoes Real Life as they tended to willingly work with German and Italian occupation forces in Yugoslavia.
  • Lured Into a Trap: The Chetniks under Drazak pretend to be Partisans at first. Cue the Oh, Crap moment when the team sees the "Partisans" prove they are anything but, complete with stock taunts and laughter.
  • The Mole: Maritza for the Partisans, in the Chetnik camp. Also, the movie's premise is that the two British soldiers are to execute "Nicolai", the mole in the Partisans. It turns out he's really an undercover German officer named von Ingorslebon, posing as the trusty Captain Lescovar.
  • Noodle Incident: It's not explained why Sergeant Weaver is under arrest when Force Ten comes across him.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Very much subverted. The plane to Yugoslavia gets attacked. Approximately half the "Force Ten" contingent die in the airplane as a result.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Sergeant Bauer. While he isn't exactly dangerous, in stressful situations he quickly proves to be a huge liability due to not thinking straight. Because of is unassuming and bookish nature, when the heroes tie up Schroeder and the others, they seem to overlook Bauer. Cue him grabbing a gun and accidentally killing Reynolds after a failed attempt to make the good guys stand down.
  • Opening Monologue
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: In the film, the German tanks are portrayed by Soviet T-34s. While Germany did capture and use them, the film shows the 85mm gunned version, which was not in service when the film took place. (Very few of the 76mm gunned T-34's survived the war.)
    • Though that doesn't explain why the Panzer crews are wearing Soviet style tanker helmets...
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Averted (mostly) with Schroeder who seems like an honorable (if insufferably smug) Wehrmacht officer. Played straight with Nazi spy von Ingorslebon as well as the SS and Gestapo who show up to interrogate the prisoners.
    • Mostly averted in the novel, where Captain Neufeld and his superior General Zimmerman are depicted as being weary of the war and eager for it to end.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Some fanservice, as we see Maritza in a bathtub.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Schroeder accidentally gets shot by one of his own men while held prisoner.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Drazak.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: And when they finally do, she complains it wasn't hard enough. Maritza is The Mole and she needs a convincing bruise to cover up letting Mallory and Barnsby escape.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Stated almost literally by Major Petrovich as the reason for sending the team back to Allied-occupied Italy.
    Major Petrovich: You have outstayed your usefulness.