Guy Hamilton, the director of four James Bond films, has passed away at the age of 93 on the Spanish island Mallorca. His films include Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun.
Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson provided this statement to Variety:
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.’ We celebrate his enormous contribution to the Bond films.
Hamilton got his start in the entertainment industry at the age of 17, when he worked in the accounts department of a film studio in France. As he switched to a humble production role, his dreams were interrupted by World War II, in which he served in the British Navy.
Following the war, Hamilton assisted British director Carol Reed on films like The Fallen Idol, Outcast of the Islands and The Third Man, from 1948 until 1951. Hamilton looked to Reed as a father-figure who taught him everything he knew about filmmaking. He also worked as assistant director on The African Queen in 1951.
Hamilton's bigger films include: 1966's Funeral in Berlin starring Michael Caine; Battle of Britain in 1969 also with Caine and Trevor Howard; Force 10 From Navarone with Harrison Ford in 1978; and more films starring the likes of Angela Lansbury, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and Maggie Smith. Hamilton always claimed that in order to be a director, you must have "a hide like a rhinoceros."
While Hamilton is perhaps most known for his four James Bond films, he also helped add an element of glamour to the franchise's unique style:
“Don’t take a train when you can take a plane, and if you’re going to take a plane, take the newest one around. And if you give Bond a car, don’t show what’s been seen — show what’s not out yet."
Hamilton explains that Bond couldn't own just any yacht; it had to be the biggest yacht in existence, as Bond's world was more dreamlike, with limitless possibilities.
His Bond films were also characterized with sardonic humor, which was a reflection of the director's experience during wartime:
“Everybody was a bit facetious, and the typical English thing is to make jokes in order to pretend you’re not frightened."
We could never tell that Hamilton, or Bond for that matter, were ever frightened, as their dry wit made them appear otherwise cool and calm.