Website last updated: 7-5-2024

A review of Making Movie Magic: The Photographs

By: Brian Smith
Making Movie Magic The Photographs John Richardson
John Richardson’s first book – Making Movie Magic – was my favourite Bond-related book of 2019 and no surprise it was a bestseller. In true movie fashion, a success like this inevitably requires a sequel.

The publisher was keen to produce a second book featuring photos that didn’t make it in first time around. John Richardson also found more photos from his personal collection during a Covid-19 lockdown clear-out at his house. The result is this new volume which showcases these previously unseen photographs. It also includes many photos from the previous book, now reproduced to great effect in full colour. Richardson has written detailed captions. These provide fascinating detail on how certain effects were achieved and further explore his personal story during six decades as one of the world’s leading special effects technicians.

Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli penned a lovely foreword. The book begins with a selection of photos from his father’s collection. Alas, there’s a small error here with the captions on two of the photos the wrong way round. There are some amazing photos in this section, including one of a young Albert R. Broccoli on location for The Red Beret in 1953.

Richardson’s work on the eighties Bond films I find particularly fascinating. I love the ingenuity of thought that went into these productions, such as using a mirror to place the actors inside a miniature set on A View to a Kill (1985). Having seen The Living Daylights (1987) again recently on the big screen, it is still impossible to tell that the Afghan bridge, when the Hercules flies over it, is just a foreground miniature.

John Richardson, A View to a Kill, special effects
John Richardson special effects for A View to a Kill. Copyright © 1985 Danjaq S.A. & MGM/United Artists Pictures. All rights reserved.

Given the focus of this book, the design lacks flair. However, the photos themselves make this a picture-perfect companion to Making Movie Magic.

Review by Brian Smith. Copyright © 2022 From Sweden with Love. All rights reserved.

Editor's Note:
Available editions of Making Movie Magic The Photographs John Richardson:

>UK hardback edition
>US hardback edition



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