Guy Hamilton is one of those British directors
who really cut his teeth during the late forties and fifties and then
went on to have big budget success and films in the sixties and seventies.
was actually born in Paris in 1922 but left France at the outbreak
of the WWII and joined the British Royal Navy. At the end of the war
he was fortunate to become an assistant director on a couple of key
movies, notably ‘Fallen Idol’ and ‘The Third Man’.
Both of these movies were beautifully shot by that other great director
Carol Reed. He took a real interest in the young Guy Hamilton and
he was to be ‘his cinematic father’ who was to get Hamilton
his directorial debut in ‘The Ringer’ 1952.
concentrated on strong male role models in his first movies and the
brilliant ‘Intruder’ (1953) dealt with post dramatic stress
disorder before it actually was PDST – as it impacted on WWII
veterans. One of my personal favourites was ‘The Colditz story’
(1958) – not a girl in sights – but the tension –
especially the hanging of the Polish officer was beautifully handled.
proceeded to make ‘The Devils Disciple’ (1959) and then
a combined US/Italian production called ‘The Best of Enemies’
– it was in this movie that Hamilton began to develop his penchant
for bigger action sequences. He made perhaps his first mistake turning
down the first bond movie, Dr No (1962). He would not make that mistake
again and he was soon at the helm of Goldfinger (1964). It was to
be one of the finest bond movies and probably Connery’s best.
The movie was to be a massive commercial success and proved that Hamilton
could the goods on large budget productions.
years later he returned to World War II with the ‘Battle of
Britain’ (1969). This film was, and still is, famous for using
the most aeroplanes in a film production. It had the best aerial battle
scenes of any movie - but was only a moderate success at the box office
and with the critics.
1971 Connery had the Bond character down to a tee, and ‘Diamonds
are forever’ hit the screens in that year. Diversity was the
name of the game here; we had Jill St John usually in underwear or
a bikini and to balance the sexual stereotyping - two gay assassins.
Oh and lest we forget; for the feminists out there - Bambi and Thumper!
Hamilton then went on to direct Roger Moore in two more Bonds ‘Live
and Let Die’ (1973) and ‘The man with the Golden Gun’
(1974) with Christopher Lee. Both successful and both delivered massive
box office success.
went on to direct a few more movies in the late seventies, but without
much critical acclaim or financial success. One I would like to make
comment on is the much maligned ‘Force 10 from Navarone’.
Ok so it’s not brilliant but I think it serves up a good ‘boys
own’ dish of action and adventure. Shaw and Fox do the best
good job they could recreating the roles of Mallory and Millar (Peck
and Niven). Harrison Ford is a little miscast – the story ‘travels’
a little with partisans and Richard Kiel but all in all – I
think it’s ok. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously
and Edward Fox gets some great lines – having penetrated an
enemy armaments store (dressed as Germans) he argues the benefits
of Latin over German with Robert Shaw and gets to say,
‘Well we can’t just stand here
like ducks in Thunder’….brilliant!
stopped making films in 1989 and retired.