The Gun is a very good yarn by C. S. Forester about a group of Spanish guerrillas in the Peninsular War who haul a massive cannon on a dangerous trek for the purpose of knocking down the walls of a French citadel. Filmed by Stanley Kramer in 1957 as The Pride and the Passion, it was so trashy that it was hard to believe that only two years later, the same film-maker would come up with the brilliant On the Beach. Perhaps using colour, which he rarely did, put him off. Cary Grant was completely unconvincing as a British officer, Frank Sinatra ludicrously miscast as the rebel leader, while Sophia Loren did her customary all-purpose peasant girl thing—Italian? Greek? Spanish? what's the difference? The only redeeming feature was the spectacular view of Sophia’s cleavage as she traverses the furious battlefield, is shot and falls dead, almost swallowing the camera in the vast chasm between her breasts.
Once I’d mastered the art of peering down available cleavages, it became one of the central interests in my life—and I must confess remains so to this day. Around the shopping centre and female school-teachers and—well, at the most unexpected times—some woman would bend the right way or be seated in a lower position and my eyes would bulge. Of course, no one was as helpful in this matter as Evie had been—now disappeared to face her future in Warrnambool—but I soon learned how to judge the position of their eyes and catch my glimpse of delight when they glanced elsewhere. As a rule, most females seemed to know just exactly when to be distracted.