Focus Of The Week: Guy Hamilton
The Bond director with a Midas touch
The second director to make a 007 film following Terence Young, Guy Hamilton added flair and panache to four Bond adventures. Born in Paris in 1922, Hamilton spent his formative years in France. He got his first job in the film industry aged 16, working as a clapper boy for French director Julien Duvivier. At the outbreak of World War II, he was evacuated aboard a ship and found himself sleeping on piles of coal.
Arriving in London, he started work at the Paramount News film library before a stint in the Royal Navy. After the war, he became an Assistant Director, working with such respected filmmakers as Carol Reed and John Huston. It was Reed who helped Hamilton get his first directing job with The Ringer (1952). Over the next ten years, he earned a reputation as director of male dominated films like The Colditz Story (1955), The Devil’s Disciple (1959) and The Best Of Enemies (1962).
Hamilton turned down the opportunity to direct Dr. No (1962) in order to make The Party’s Over (1965), a film that was delayed due to censorship laws. Hamilton’s opportunity to make a Bond film came with Goldfinger (1964), ramping up the humour, glamour and gadgetry. “I always think of Goldfinger being almost the perfect Bond film,” says producer Michael G. Wilson.
Hamilton returned to the Bond fold for Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun, easing the transition between Sean Connery and Roger Moore. “Roger is not Sean and Sean is not Roger,” he once said. “You’ve got to forget whatever images you have in your mind.”
After Bond, Hamilton continued to direct well-crafted action films before retiring to Mallorca. He passed away at the age of 93 in 2016. This year he was honoured by the Atlantida Film Festival in Mallorca.