The Rhodos-Navarone-Peck trail

This past summer I was on the Greek island of Rhodos, it was beautiful there (I wrote about it here, here and here)! It was also the location where a lot of the movie The Guns of Navarone was filmed.

My first real fangirl crush in my teens was Gregory Peck and I still love the man. I went on a Roman Holiday pilgrimage in Rome 8 years ago, which is 4 years BB (Before Blog), so I’ve only gotten around to mentioning that in passing here. Now that I’m already 4 years into blogging (I’m just realizing as I write this that I missed my 4 year blogiversary at the end of September), I’m aware that my latest pilgrimage could also be blog post material. So, here is an account of my pilgrimage from last summer: figuring out where exactly Gregory Peck & team filmed The Guns of Navarone!

Guns-of-Navarone-banner

In a movie challenge I once did here on blog, I named this movie as a favourite war movie. I can appreciate a good war movie but tend to not watch them more than once. The Guns of Navarone is one of the few exceptions, mainly due to Gregory Peck. Even though the movie is 57 years old (filmed 10 years before I was born, released 9 years before I was born) I realized while I visited the island that there are still traces to be found of the time when Navarone was filmed there. I discovered that it was mostly filmed in Rhodos city and Lindos and the stretch of land between those two towns.

Near the (extremely touristy and busy) Faliraki (halfway between Rhodos and Lindos) there is a hotel called the “Gregory Peck Beach Apartments”! Of course, I just had to drive by that… If I had realized this existed before booking our holiday, we could have rented rooms there, but in the end I think we were happier with where we were. So, I just took some quick drive-by pictures of the Gregory Peck beach hotel…

A little further south of Faliraki you can find the (also extremely busy) “Anthony Quinn bay”. Anthony Quinn bought that bay while he was filming Navarone, although I understand that in the 1980’s the land was reclaimed by Rhodos. Whatever the squabble with that was, the bay is still called “Anthony Quinn bay”. We didn’t swim there (too crowded) but I did get out of the car to take a few pictures there as well:

In the nearby Kalithea springs (right next to the cat sanctuary we visited) there were pictures on the walls commemorating the movies made there, most prominently Navarone…

I’m not sure what was exactly filmed at Kalithea, maybe this scene?

Kallithea maybe

… but cool to see the film referenced there!

I have screencapped some locations shown in the movie and I have my own pictures (and some of Mr Esther’s) that we took this past summer. Putting those side by side made me see how much of the fictional place of Navarone was photoshopped (or whatever they called that technique in the early 1960’s). Navarone is made up of parts of the town of Lindos mixed in with parts of Rhodos city, but more about that later.

The film opens in a temple, which is the temple of Lindos…

Lindos templeI don’t know if they reconstructed the temple somewhat for the film or whether more than 50 years later the temple has just fallen into more disrepair. This is what it looks like now…

Lindos temple now (3)

Here are some more pictures of the temple in the film next to my own; these columns for instance…

Lindos temple (3)Lindos temple now (9)

… or stairs on the temple grounds…

Lindos temple (5)Lindos temple now (1)Lindos temple now (8)

… which makes me suspect they put in more coast scenery in the film than I remember actually seeing there.

In this following comparison, my picture was taken pretty much on the spot where Gregory Peck himself stood! Now if that isn’t following in Peck’s footsteps, then I don’t know what is.

Lindos temple (4)Lindos temple now (10)

Early on in the movie Gregory Peck awaits some of his team at a harbour, this was filmed in the old harbour of the city of Rhodos…

Rhodos harbour (1)Rhodos harbour now (3)Rhodos harbour now (2)

When we came back to the harbour on another day, there was a boat covering the arch, but I stood on the same pier Gregory Peck had stood on (didn’t go much further, so not quite in Peck’s spot, as this pier was a private gated area that we had asked to take a quick look at).Rhodos harbour (2)Rhodos harbourRhodos Harbour now

The real photoshopping happens when you look at the fortress rock with the guns and the town at the foot of that rock. This is what we see in the movie…

Guns rock (2)

That was filmed in Lindos with that horseshoe bay, which actually looks like this…

Guns rock nowGuns rock now (1)

In the movie, the town at the foot isn’t white, like Lindos is, but dark and it’s also fortified. They had also added on a huge rock where the guns from the movie title are situated. I found an archive picture of the rock add-on:

Guns rock set

There is also a little fortress at the foot of that rocky mountain which houses the guns. That little fortress in real life is nowhere near Lindos, but is another part of the old Rhodos harbour, so this was photoshopped into the frame as well for that location.

FortressFortress now

The gate to the fortress, at the bottom of the fortress hill, is in actual fact one of the gates of Rhodos city…

There’s a shot inside the gate and while going through our pictures I found a shot of ours inside a gate which I think may be the same location:

Gate insideGate inside now (2)

There is a gate to a bridge with at the other end another gate and that one I immediately recognized from my own pictures. It was a nice spot, also in Rhodos.

Another gate was visible in the movie, which is in actual fact also a Rhodos city gate…

There was a shot of a street with at the end what I know to be a mosque in Rhodos…

Rhodos mosque backgroundRhodos mosque background now

And there was some action filmed on a square, which I think may be a square that I photographed as well. The stairs on the left in the screencap are, I think, the stairs on the right in my picture. Also in Rhodos.

Rhodos townRhodos town now

In the movie we see our hero Gregory in front of what looks like a little gazebo. It’s actually the washing place of what used to be a mosque, yet again in Rhodos…

At the beginning of the movie, the team must scale some cliffs…

During a boat tour we did near Lindos, we stopped at what the captain said were the cliffs that action sequence was filmed on…

And these scenes…

… look like they may have been filmed in the aforementioned Anthony Quinn Bay (not far from where those cliffs were scaled)…

AQuinnBay (6)

Somewhere halfway through the movie you see a wedding party walking through a very white-washed town…

Although I wouldn’t exactly know where that is, it looked an awful lot like Lindos which is completely white-washed…

A little further on the wedding party was celebrating outside on a square. While I don’t remember an open space large enough in Lindos for this to be set in (it’s all quite narrow there), there were many elements that still made it feel like this may also have been filmed somewhere in Lindos, possibly right outside town where there are now parking lots. In Lindos, but also on some other parts of the island, there were white-washed tree trunks, also seen in the movie…

VIllage (5)Village now painted treeAnd the town square, though different, made me think of the town of Psynthos where we ate lunch a few times.

VIllage (3)Village now

The tower shown at the beginning of the film even looked a little like the Psynthos tower or another tower we saw in Archangelos…

VIllage (1)Village tower now

Of course, while I was in Rhodos I wasn’t aware of most of these locations having been in the film. I did know the harbour and Lindos bay were in it, but I came across the rest of the locations when I compared screenshots I took from the film to the photos we’d taken. Normally this would be a very Mr Esther-like project, he has far more patience for this stuff,  puzzling over where what was in history and what it looks like now. It was fun combining his historical buildings fascination with my movie-love. He was helpful in finding the exact pier in the harbour that Gregory Peck had stood on or pointing out that the small fortress below the guns was actually located in Rhodos harbour. I’m thinking he may enjoy reading this post and who knows, maybe more changes / comparisons / corrections may come from that. 🙂

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Still topical!

Reading a Gregory Peck biography by Gary Fishgall and I came across this…

Gregory apparently said this in 1948, seventy years ago, during the McCarthy Communist witch hunts in Hollywood. He was no Communist but even so, he did not like the witch hunts. This still sounds so topical today, and so true…

Summer holidays!

A few hours ago my summer holiday finally started! Kids have already been off school for a week (and the week before that they hardly needed to be in school), Mr Esther has been off work since Wednesday and today is my turn to start my holiday. Yay! I was supposed to already be off work today but there was still too much left to do.  So, I worked from home in the morning, took a shopping break in the afternoon, made a last business call at 4.15 pm, finished up with final e-mails and then closed my work laptop just after 5 pm. Finally, I can let it all go and just enjoy my holiday. Aaahhhhh…. 😎

Mr Esther has started some of the packing today, tomorrow will be the real packing day and then on Saturday morning early we will look like this…

… right before we fly off to the island of Rhodes in Greece!

Rhodes town

We’ll be there for 2,5 weeks. The kids insisted on a sunny holiday, Mr Esther & I wanted history and culture, so we figured Rhodes is a nice mix. It’s also the place where Gregory Peck filmed The Guns of Navarone…

I only just found out that apparently there even is a hotel complex called ‘Gregory Peck apartments‘ on Rhodes! As an old Gregory Peck fangirl, I should have known this sooner… that’s where we should be staying! We’re, however, staying at the other side of the island (which will be fine too). We do plan on visiting Lindos, though, where The Guns of Navarone was filmed.

Mostly it’ll be nice to be away for a while, just the four of us. Not sure how much I’ll get around to blogging while we’re away, but I’m sure I won’t be able to resist posting some pictures now and then. So, see ya when I see ya!

A conversation with Gregory Peck

I was watching the documentary A Conversation with Gregory Peck on Netflix earlier this evening (I was very pleasantly surprised to find it there!). It was made in 1999 (4 years before Peck died) during a speaking tour he did throughout the US, where he spoke about his life and his career.

As I watched it, I realized I must have seen at least some of it before although there were also bits I didn’t remember. As an old-time Gregory Peck fan, hearing the stories he had to tell about his career (even though I already knew many) was an absolute joy! At one special moment in the documentary the actress who played his daughter, Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird was in the audience. Apparently she still called him Atticus and he still called her Scout. 🙂  He also invited his wife Veronique up on stage for a little bit…

The documentary also touched on Gregory Peck’s political convictions. He was famous for being a democrat and liberal and in the video speaks of opposing the Vietnam war while at the same time being proud of his son Stephen who had served in the army during that war. He is also shown giving a speech in Philadelphia in 1999 about gun control…

He says,“Is it the culture or the guns that led to the massacre at Columbine High School? And it is of course both. What is wrong with keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people?” Today, 19 years on, I could still give him a standing ovation for that. Gregory and I would certainly have agreed with each other politically…

What I loved even more in this documentary was the behind the scenes glimpses of him, with his wife and his family. His daughter Cecilia co-produced this documentary and was in it a lot…

Conversation Gregory Peck 08

… but there are also glimpses of his other kids (two sons, Stephen and Carey, from his first marriage and a son, Anthony, from his marriage to Veronique). I loved the images of a family get-together, where they all sat around and watched basketball. Look at the anticipation on the faces of Gregory and his son Stephen here!

Conversation Gregory Peck 02Conversation Gregory Peck 03

I had to blink away a few tears when Gregory spoke of his son Jonathan who had committed suicide at the age of 30, with Gregory wondering whether he could have done more to prevent that. And I blinked away major tears when the film featured Gregory waiting at the hospital for his daughter Cecilia to give birth and then meeting his 10 minute old grandson! Most parts of the documentary are also up on YouTube, I’ll just share this part about the birth here (from 5.20 minutes onwards in this video)…

The fascination with his new grandson and the concern he shows over his daughter just after giving birth so very much reminds me of my own father (and my mother) after my son was first born. Yet again, here is Gregory reminding me of my dad, even in the way he was a dad to his daughter! My parents showed that same love to my baby and the same concern for me…

2001 A. born papa mama Esther

… and their love and concern was repeated two and a half years later when my daughter was born..

The look of being in love with a new baby grandchild is very similar… It made me miss Gregory Peck and it made me miss my dad.

Conversation Gregory Peck 05

Oh, how I still love Gregory Peck! If you like him too, I recommend you check out this documentary on Netflix a.s.a.p…