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Paris, France
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Paris, France

Guy Hamilton, well known for his James Bond films, was an English film director. His parents wanted him to be a diplomat when he was born in Paris, France, but he knew early on that he wanted to be a film director. He began working at Victorine Studio in Nice as a clapperboard kid at the age of sixteen and quickly rose through the ranks to become an assistant producer. However, World War II broke out before he could continue, and the Germans conquered France. Hamilton was quickly evacuated to England. Later, he joined the British Navy and was deployed to France on a covert mission. His previous experience allowed him to direct a lot of military films and thrillers. His first significant picture, ‘The Colditz Story,’ was about POWs confined in a German fort; nevertheless, he is best known for his four James Bond films, which include ‘Goldfinger,’ ‘Diamonds Are Forever,’ ‘Live and Let Die,’ and ‘The Man With the Golden Gun.’ He directed 22 films during the course of his four-decade career. Despite the fact that he did not win any big awards, he was a well-liked director.

Childhood and Adolescence

Guy Hamilton was born in Paris on September 16, 1922. Guy’s father was a diplomat who worked as the press attaché at the British Embassy in Paris at the time of Guy’s birth. The guy was sent to England for his education, despite the fact that his parents lived largely in France.

Guy Hamilton was introduced to the film industry at a young age. He was particularly fond of French films. Jean Renoir was a favorite of his. Despite his training as a diplomat, his secret ambition was to become a film director.
In 1938, he had his first encounter with the film industry. He worked as a clapperboard kid at the Victorine Studios (now Studio Riviera) in Nice during that year. Later, he worked as an assistant producer and then in the company’s accounts department.

However, as World War II broke out, Hamilton was evacuated from France to England, along with other British citizens. When he returned to London, he got a job in the British Paramount News’ cutting room. What he learned there benefited him later in life when it came to editing his works.

He joined the British Navy soon after and was assigned to the 15th Motor Gunboat Flotilla, a covert outfit tasked with rescuing British personnel imprisoned in France and ferrying operatives into German-occupied territory. His wartime experiences had a significant impact on his filmmaking.

Career of Guy Hamilton

Hamilton returned to the film industry when the war ended. In September 1947, he got his big break when director Carol Reed took him under his wing and hired him as an assistant director on his 1948 film ‘Fallen Idol.’ Following that, Reed took on the role of a father figure for Hamilton, mentoring him in the craft of filmmaking.

Under Reeds’ direction, Hamilton worked as an assistant director on two more films: ‘The Third Man’ (1949) and ‘Outcast of the Island’ (1950). (1951). Following that, he worked on ‘The African Queen’ with John Huston in the same position (1951)

Reed was so impressed with Hamilton’s talent that he went on to assist him in directing his debut film, ‘The Ringer.’ This low-budget picture was termed “old-fashioned melodrama with a great cast” when it was released in 1952.
His second picture, ‘Intruder,’ was released in 1953. The picture, which is set in postwar London, had a mixed reception. The play ‘The Inspector Calls’ (1954) was followed by ‘The Inspector Calls’ (1954).

His fourth film, ‘The Colditz Story,’ released in 1955, cemented his reputation as a director. The film, which is based on Patrick Robert’s memoir, shows the World War II breakout of POWs from the high-security German stronghold of Colditz. Hamilton not only directed the film but also co-wrote the screenplay. It was the fourth most popular film at the British box office in 1955, grossing £100,000 in profit.

Following the success of ‘Charley Moon,’ ‘Manuela,’ and ‘A Touch of Larceny,’ a run of successful but low-budget films such as ‘Charley Moon,’ ‘Manuela,’ and ‘A Touch of Larceny,’ were released (1959). ‘Manuela’ was selected for the 7th Berlin International Film Festival, while ‘A Touch of Larceny’ received a BAFTA nomination for Best British Screenplay.

‘The Devil’s Discipline,’ released in 1959, was his first big-budget feature. The picture was originally set to be directed by Alexander Mackendrick, but it was later given to Hamilton. The picture, which cost $1.5 million to make, grossed $1.8 million at the box office.

His next picture, released in 1961, was a co-production between Italy and the United Kingdom set against the backdrop of World War II’s East African Campaign. ‘The Best of Enemies,’ a film starring David Niven, Alberto Sordi, and Michael Wilding, was shot in Israel. Three Golden Globe nominations were given to the film.

‘The Party’s Over’ was his next film. He submitted the film to the British Board of Film Classification in March 1963. (BBFC). For suggested necrophilia, it recommended three cuts. In 1965, the film was released, but Hamilton, along with producer Anthony Perry, removed his name from the credits as a protest.

Meanwhile, in 1964, he released ‘Man in the Middle,’ another military film. It was set against the backdrop of World War II as well, but this time in India.

‘Goldfinger,’ his first James Bond film, was released in 1964. With a $3 million budget, it recouped its costs in two weeks and grossed $124.9 million at the box office. It was also the first Bond film to make considerable use of technology and gadgets.

It was followed by ‘Funeral in Berlin’ (1966), and then, in 1969, ‘The Battle of Britain,’ another of his high budget films. The picture, which had a budget of $14 million and featured magnificent flying sequences, failed to earn a profit.

Following that, Hamilton directed three James Bond films in a row. ‘Diamonds Are Forever,’ ‘Live and Let Die,’ and ‘The Man with the Golden Gun,’ to name a few (1974). All of them were box office successes, bringing in large sums of money for their makers.
His second picture, ‘Force Ten from Navarone’ (1978), was a commercial flop. It was a sequel to the 1961 film ‘The Guns of Navarone.’

He directed ‘The Mirror Cracked,’ a film based on Agatha Christie’s novel The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side, in 1980. It was, however, not well received.

He directed three films in the 1980s: ‘Evil Under the Sun,’ ‘Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,’ and ‘Try This One for Size’ (1989). All of these films had a mediocre box office performance.
Producer John Peters approached Hamilton in the late 1980s about directing ‘Batman,’ but he declined. Instead, he relocated to the Spanish island of Majorca in the middle of the decade and retired.

Major Projects of Guy Hamilton

Guy Hamilton is most known for his four James Bond films: ‘Goldfinger,’ ‘Diamonds Are Forever,’ ‘Live and Let Die,’ and ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ (1974). They all made a lot of money at the box office.

Achievements & Awards

For his film ‘Manuela,’ he was nominated for a Golden Berlin Bear Award in 1957.
His film ‘A Touch of Larceny’ received a BAFTA nomination for Best British Screenplay in 1961.
For his 1973 picture ‘Live and Let Die,’ Hamilton won the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Film in 1975.

Personal History and Legacy

Guy Hamilton had two marriages. His first marriage ended in divorce with actress Naomi Chance. He then married Kerima, an actress he met while shooting for Carol Reed’s film “Outcast of the Island.”
Hamilton and his wife, Kerima, moved to the Mediterranean island of Majorca in the mid-1980s and resided in the municipal town of Andratx. He passed away on April 20, 2016, at the age of 93.

Estimated net worth

The estimated net worth of Guy Hamilton is unknown.