Guy Hamilton (born 16 September 1922) is a French-born English film director.
He directed 22 films from the 1950s to the 1980s, including four James Bond films.
Hamilton was born in Paris on 16 September 1922, where his English parents were living.
His first exposure to the film industry came in 1938 when he was the clapper board boy at the Victorine Studios in Nice.
On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Hamilton returned to London and worked in the film library at Paramount News before joining the Royal Navy.
Shortly after the war, Hamilton returned to the film industry as an assistant director on two Carol Reed films: 1948’s Fallen Idol and 1949’s The Third Man (Hamilton acted as Orson Welles double for a couple of the long shots).
Hamilton held Reed in high esteem and it was Reed who was instrumental in getting Hamilton his first director position on the B-movie The Ringer in 1952.
Hamilton’s spent the early part of the 1950s creating films focused on military stories such as 1953’s film The Intruder (his second film as director) dealing with returning soldiers to civilian life and 1955’s prisoner of war The Colditz Story (which was to be Hamilton’s high grossing movie of the 1950s).
Less successful films in 1950s were An Inspector Calls in 1954 (with Alastair Sim), 1956’s musical comedy Charley Moon and Manuela in 1957.
He had his first experience of bigger budget films towards the end of the decade when Hamilton replaced the sacked Alexander Mackendrick on the set of The Devil’s Disciple featuring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster.
In 1961, Hamilton again found himself working on war theme with Dino de Laurentiis-produced Italian war comedy The Best of Enemies.
The film first showed Hamilton’s skill at filming intricate set-piece action sequences.
In 1962 he turned down an offer to direct Dr. No, the first James Bond.
His next release, and somewhat outside his developing oeuvre, was The Party’s Over which though filmed in 1963 was not released until 1965.
The film was heavily censored and Hamilton asked for his name to be removed when the film was finally released in protest.
Hamilton directed his first James Bond film in 1964 with Goldfinger.
Hamilton’s directorial style successfully merged the distinctive mix of action adventure, sexual innuendo and black humour that audiences loved.
In the late 1960s, Hamilton directed two further films for Bond producer Harry Saltzman: 1966’s Funeral in Berlin with Michael Caine and the war epic Battle of Britain in 1969.
Hamilton returned to the Bond film franchise in 1971 with the chase and gadget-dependent Diamonds Are Forever, 1973’s Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974.
Hamilton’s only films in the latter part of the 1970s were the commercially unsuccessful Force 10 from Navarone in 1978 and the poorly received adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery The Mirror Crack’d in 1980.
Hamilton was originally chosen to direct Superman: The Movie in 1978, but due to his status as a tax exile he was only allowed to be in England for thirty days, where production had moved at the last minute, to Pinewood Studios.
The job of director was then passed to Richard Donner, but Hamilton insisted he be paid in full.
Another Christie adaptation followed in 1981 with Evil Under the Sun which was better received than The Mirror Crack’d.
Hamilton directed only two more films in the 1980s (Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins in 1985 and 1989’s Try This One for Size) before retiring.
In the late 1980s Guy Hamilton was also approached to direct Batman but declined