Website last updated: 7-5-2024

In Memoriam of director Guy Hamilton - born on 16 September

By: Steven Jay Rubin
Guy Hamilton James Bond
The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia presents This Day in James Bond History - remembering the late director Guy Hamilton on the anniversary of his birth in 1922. Guy directed Goldfinger (1964), the best of all the Bonds, as well as Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).

If you recall, the first scene in Goldfinger involves a camouflaged James Bond (Sean Connery) swimming up to a South American beach, while wearing a seagull on his head. There is no question in my mind that if Terence Young, the director of the first two Bonds, had directed Goldfinger, that scene wouldn’t have happened. But the tide was turning towards a lighter approach to the character of 007, and Guy Hamilton was the man to do it.

Whereas, Sean Connery had demonstrated in Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963) that he could throw away a comic line with finesse, Goldfinger offered Sean at his most glib. Virtually every wit-filled line written by ace Bond scripter, Richard Maibaum, was delivered with confidence and timing that was off the charts. Personally, I can quote most of that script in my sleep. I can’t do that with the more recent Bonds.

However, Guy Hamilton wasn't just about comic timing; his dramatic action moments were equally compelling. In fact, Hamilton directed what is arguably the most famous scene in the series - where Bond is spread-eagled on a golden slab while a laser beam inches towards his manhood. The tension in that room as Bond and Gert Frobe’s Goldfinger trade barbs, thanks to Hamilton’s masterful direction, is jaw dropping. "Do you expect me to talk?" asks Bond. Goldfinger replies, "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die." So let’s hoist a tall one to a legendary creator who elevated James Bond to the highest levels of pop culture.

The laser sequence with James Bond and Auric Goldfinger directed by Guy Hamilton

All text. Copyright © 2020 Steven Jay Rubin. All rights reserved.



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