The unbelievable stunt saw Peck swept overboard and almost crushed by hydraulics, while Niven went under too, getting his coat caught in the machinery. It was reported at the time: “Peck sustained a three-inch gash on his forehead; Quinn and Niven twisted their spines; Baker wrenched his neck and Darren was completely knocked out by a wave, and almost drowned.”
If that wasn’t enough, Niven caught a near-fatal infection via a cut lip in dirty water, when filming the scene of him setting up explosives to destroy the titular guns. The Guns of Navarone was almost shut down entirely as Niven was rushed to hospital in the early hours, suffering “in a critical condition, struck down by septicemia.” In his memoir, he later noted: “The grim times before antibiotics”.
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