Alistair MacLean's Films: An Essay of Newspaper Ads

 

Alistair MacLean’s rise to worldwide bestseller status came in dizzying fashion. His first novel, H.M.S. Ulyssess – which I happen to think is also his best – was published in 1955. The U.K. edition, published by Collins, sold more than 250,000 copies in its first few months on sale. The film rights were snapped up immediately, but a movie was never made. Things changed for MacLean’s Hollywood resume when his second novel, The Guns of Navarone (1957), was adapted into the 1961 box office smash starring Gregory Peck and directed by J. Lee Thompson. After Navarone’s success MacLean shifted his focus and began writing novels that would entice filmmakers. It worked, too, because nineteen films and television movies have been made from MacLean’s stories.

The best of the films, much like MacLean’s own novels, were produced in the 1950s and 1960s. My favorite is Ice Station Zebra (1968), but Where Eagles Dare (1969), Breakheart Pass (1975), The Guns of Navarone, and The Secret Ways (1961) are great, too. A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a newspaper advertisement for Where Eagles Dare while looking for something else entirely. A bit grainy, with Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton in their WW2 gear, the ad gave me a good feeling. Maybe a bit of nostalgic joy. That newspaper ad prompted me to find others based on MacLean’s novels. I was able to find ads for ten of MacLean’s first 13 adaptations, but there are a few holes in the listing – three to be exact since there was nothing for available for Puppet on a Chain (1970), Caravan to Vaccares (1974), and Golden Rendezvous (1977). But what can you do... 
      Formatting is always an issue at the blog, but my fingers are crossed this page looks on your computer something like it does on mine. Click the pictures to see a larger version.

   

 

  The Guns of Navarone, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1957 novel, was directed by J. Lee Thompson (Cape Fear); starred Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, and Anthony Quayle; and the screenplay was written by Carl Foreman. It was released in theaters April 1961. It won an Oscar for Best Special Effects.

   The movie advert was published in the September 27, 1961, issue of the Provo Daily-Herald (Utah).

 


   The Secret Ways, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1959 novel – released as The Last Frontier in the U.K. – was directed by Phil Karlson (Walking Tall) and by the film’s star and producer Richard Widmark; starred Richard Widmark, Sonjia Ziemann, and Charles Regnier; the screenplay was written by Jean Hazelwood (Widmark’s wife). It was released in theaters April 1961.

The movie advert was published in the June 20, 1961 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah).


   The Satan Bug, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1962 novel – originally published with pseudonym Ian Stuart – was directed by John Sturges (The Great Escape); starred George Maharis, Richard Baseheart, and Anne Francis; the screenplay was written by James Clavell (Shogun) and Edward Anhalt. It was released in theaters March 1965.

The movie advert was published in the May 14, 1965 issue of the Provo Daily-Herald (Utah).





   Ice Station Zebra, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1963 novel, was directed by John Sturges (his second MacLean adaptation); starred Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, and Patrick McGoohan; the screenplay was written by Douglas Hayes. It was released in theaters October 1968.

   The movie advert was published in the November 13, 1968, issue of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah).



   Where Eagles Dare was based on an original screenplay written by Alistair MacLean. The 1967 novel was adapted by MacLean from the screenplay. The film was directed by Brian G. Hutton (Kelly’s Heroes); starred Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, and Mary Ure. It was released in theaters March 1969.

   The movie advert was published in the April 4, 1969, issue of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah).


   When Eight Bells Toll, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1966 novel, was directed by Etienne PĂ©rier; starred Anthony Hopkins, Jack Hawkins, and Robert Morley; the screenplay was written by Alistair MacLean. It was released in theaters March 1971.

   The movie advert was published in the May 28, 1971 issue of the Deseret News (Utah).



   Fear is the Key, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1961 novel, was directed by Michael Tuchner; starred Barry Newman, Suzy Kendall, and John Vernon; the screenplay was written by Robert Carrington. It was released in theaters December 1972.

   The movie advert was published in the March 28, 1973, issue of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah).

 



   Breakheart Pass, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1974 novel, was directed by Tom Gries (Will Penny); starred Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, and Richard Crenna; the screenplay was written by Alistair MacLean. It was released in theaters December 1975.

   The movie advert was published in the February 18, 1976, issue of the Provo Daily-Herald (Utah).


   Force 10 From Navarone, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1968 novel, was directed by Guy Hamilton (Live and Let Die); starred Harrison Ford, Robert Shaw, and Edward Fox; the screenplay was written by Robin Chapman. It was released in theaters December 1978.

   Interestingly, MacLean’s novel is a sequel to the film The Guns of Navarone rather than his earlier novel.

   The movie advert was published in the December 31, 1978, issue of the Provo Daily-Herald (Utah).



   Bear Island, based on Alistair MacLean’s 1971 novel, was directed by Don Sharp; starred Donald Sutherland, Vanessa Redgrave, and Richard Widmark; the screenplay was written by David Butler and Don Sharp. It was released in theaters November 1979.

   The movie advert was published in the August 23, 1980, issue of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah).

You can read more about Alistair MacLean in the introductory guide to work, The Complete Alistair MacLean: Books. Characters. Movies. It’s available as Kindle book to purchase or read on Kindle Unlimited. Check it out on Amazon.

 

Comments

Popular Posts