Published on: 22 April 2016 in Industry

Guy Hamilton 1922-2016

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We were sad to hear the news earlier this week that Directors UK member Guy Hamilton has passed away at the age of 93.

Guy Hamilton was perhaps most famous for his work on four iconic Bond films: Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), but this was just a small part of a long directing career that began in the early ’50s.

Born in Paris on 16 September 1922, but growing up largely in the UK, Guy’s career nevertheless began in France, working as a clapperboard boy in the 1930s. After a wartime spell in the Royal Navy, Guy worked as an assistant director on three Carol Reed films, including The Third Man. Reed was instrumental in getting Guy his first opportunity as a director, on 1952’s The Ringer.

Guy went on to direct a number of war films, including The Intruder (1953) and The Colditz Story (1955), as well as the musical Charley Moon (1956) and an adaptation of the popular play, An Inspector Calls (1954).

His first taste of directing films with a larger budget came with the UK-US co-production The Devil’s Disciple in 1959, starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster. He would further hone his skills directing elaborate action sequences on The Best of Enemies (1961). Less happily, Guy had his name removed from the credits of The Party’s Over (1965) in protest over censorship of a necrophilia orgy scene.

Having turned down an offer to direct the first Bond film, Dr. No, in 1962, Guy reconsidered and decided to take charge of the third: Goldfinger. This was the start of a long relationship with the Bond franchise that would span four films, a decade and two James Bonds. 

One of those Bonds, Sir Roger Moore, yesterday tweeted, “incredibly, incredibly saddened to hear the wonderful director Guy Hamilton has gone to the great cutting room in the sky”.

Bond producers EON also paid tribute: “We mourn the loss of our dear friend Guy Hamilton who firmly distilled the Bond formula in his much celebrated direction of Goldfinger and continued to entertain audiences with Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun”.

Outside of Bond, Guy directed Funeral in Berlin (1966) and Battle of Britain (1969), Force 10 from Navarone (1978) and two Agatha Christie adaptations: The Mirror Crack’d (1980) and Evil Under the Sun (1982).

Guy came close to directing two of the earliest superhero films, Superman: The Movie and Batman, but ultimately directed just two more movies in the 1980s – Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) and Try This One for Size (1989) – before retiring.

Describing his directing style, Hamilton said he focused on hard work, in both himself and others: “In the making of Bond films we are some of the meanest toughest film makers. If we spend a million dollars it had better be up there on the screen”.

Guy Hamilton died on 20 April 2016 in Majorca.

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