Filming of James Bond in the 1960s

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Ian Fleming, the writer who created the fictional character James Bond, lived to see the success of his novels depicted on screen before he died. All fourteen books in the series created by Fleming went on to be huge successes on screen.[1] Goldfinger, one of the most epic stories in the James Bond saga, became a fan favourite with Shirley Bassey singing the iconic song, "Goldfinger", that was played for the fiftieth anniversary of the Bond series at the Oscars in 2012. Bond was played by Sean Connery and George Lazenby in the films shot throughout the '60s. The Bond movies were filmed all across the world and by different directors each time, with some of the old directors collaborating with the new ones. The success of each Bond film lead to bigger budget prices for the following films adapted to the big screen. Each film recovered its budget and won critically acclaimed awards the years that they came out. Of all the Bond films in cinema today, Thunderball is the most successful with the whole Bond series being the third highest grossing of all time in Hollywood cinema.

Dr. No

Dr. No's lair was this bauxite terminal near Oracabessa, Jamaica

Dr. No is set in London, Jamaica and Crab Key, a fictional island off Jamaica.[2] Filming began on location at Palisades Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, on 16 January 1962.[3] The primary scenes there were the exterior shots of Crab Key and Kingston, where an uncredited Syd Cain acted as art director and also designed the Dragon Tank.[4] Shooting took place a few yards from Fleming's Goldeneye estate, and the author regularly visited the filming with friends.[5] Location filming was largely in Oracabessa, with additional scenes on the Palisadoes strip and Port Royal in St Andrew.[6] On 21 February, production left Jamaica with footage still unfilmed due to a change of weather.[7] Five days later, filming began at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, England with sets designed by Ken Adam, which included Dr. No's base, the ventilation duct and the interior of the British Secret Service headquarters. The studio was used on the majority of later Bond films.[8] Adam's initial budget for the entire film was just £14,500 (£311,615 in 2019[9]), but the producers were convinced to give him an extra £6,000 out of their own finances. After 58 days of filming, principal photography completed on 30 March 1962.[10] Filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith, who visited Pinewood with his high school film society during the shooting of the film, noted that Bond's awakening and first sighting of Honey was a pick-up shot filmed in a ten-foot long space on an otherwise empty soundstage, and that Adam's set for the nuclear reactor was "a lot smaller than it looks on the screen. That opened my eyes to the power of lenses when I saw the finished movie a year later."[11] Costume designer Tessa Prendergast designed Honey's bikini from a British Army webbing belt.[3]

The scene where a tarantula walks over Bond was initially shot by pinning a bed to the wall and placing Sean Connery over it, with a protective glass between him and the spider. Director Young did not like the final results, so the scenes were interlaced with new footage featuring the tarantula over stuntman Bob Simmons.[7] Simmons, who was uncredited for the film, described the scene as the most frightening stunt he had ever performed.[12] In line with the book, a scene was to feature Honey tied to the ground and left to be attacked by crabs, but since the crabs were sent frozen from the Caribbean, they moved little during filming, so the scene was altered to have Honey slowly drowning.[8] Simmons also served as the film's fight choreographer, employing a rough fighting style. The noted violence of Dr. No, which also included Bond shooting Dent in cold blood, caused producers to make adaptations to get an "A" rating – allowing minors to enter accompanied by an adult – from the British Board of Film Classification.[13]

When he is about to have dinner with Dr. No, Bond is amazed to see Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington. The painting had been stolen from the National Gallery by a 60-year-old amateur thief in London just before filming began.[14] Ken Adam had contacted the National Gallery in London to obtain a slide of the picture, painting the copy over the course of the weekend, prior to filming commencing on the Monday.[15]

Editor Peter R. Hunt used an innovative editing technique, with extensive use of quick cuts, and employing fast motion and exaggerated sound effects on the action scenes.[16] Hunt said his intention was to "move fast and push it along the whole time, while giving it a certain style",[17] and added that the fast pacing would help audiences not notice any writing problems.[7] As title artist Maurice Binder was creating the credits, he had an idea for the introduction that appeared in all subsequent Bond films, the James Bond gun barrel sequence. It was filmed in sepia by putting a pinhole camera inside an .38 calibre gun barrel, with Bob Simmons playing Bond.[8] Binder also designed a highly stylised main title sequence, a theme that has been repeated in the subsequent Eon-produced Bond films.[18] Binder's budget for the title sequence was £2,000 (£42,981 in 2019[9]).[19]

From Russia with Love

Filming began on April 1, 1963, at Pinewood Studios.[20][3] Armendariz's scenes were shot first after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, with Terence Young serving as a stand-in for Kerim Bey for the last two months of the production.[3] Most of the film was set in Istanbul, Turkey. Locations included the Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia and the Sirkeci railway station, which also was used for the Belgrade and Zagreb railway stations. The MI6 office in London, SPECTRE Island, the Venice hotel and the interior scenes of the Orient Express were filmed at Pinewood Studios with some footage of the train. In the film, the train journey was set in Eastern Europe. The journey and the truck ride were shot in Argyll, Scotland and Switzerland. The end scenes for the film were shot in Venice.[20] However, to qualify for the British film funding of the time, at least 70 percent of the film had to have been filmed in Great Britain or the Commonwealth.[21] The Gypsy camp was also to be filmed in an actual camp in Topkapi, but was actually shot in a replica of it in Pinewood.[22] The scene with rats (after the theft of the Lektor) was shot in Spain, as Britain did not allow filming with wild rats, and an attempt to film white rats painted in cocoa in Turkey did not work.[23] Principal photography wrapped on 23 August.[24] Ian Fleming spent a week in the Istanbul shoot, supervising production and touring the city with the producers.[25][3]

Director Terence Young's eye for realism was evident throughout production. For the opening chess match, Kronsteen wins the game with a reenactment of Boris Spassky's victory over David Bronstein in 1960.[26] Production Designer Syd Cain built up the "chess pawn" motif in his $150,000 set for the brief sequence.[22] Cain also later added a promotion to another movie Eon was producing, making Krilencu's death happen inside a billboard for Call Me Bwana.[3] A noteworthy gadget featured was the attaché case (briefcase) issued by Q Branch. It had a tear gas bomb that detonated if the case was improperly opened, a folding AR-7 sniper rifle with twenty rounds of ammunition, a throwing knife, and 50 gold sovereigns. A boxer at Cambridge, Young choreographed the fight between Grant and Bond along with stunt coordinator Peter Perkins. The scene took three weeks to film and was violent enough to worry some on the production. Robert Shaw and Connery did most of the stunts themselves.[27][20]

After the unexpected loss of Armendáriz, production proceeded, experiencing complications from uncredited rewrites by Berkely Mather during filming. Editor Peter Hunt set about editing the film while key elements were still to be filmed, helping to restructure the opening scenes. Hunt and Young came up with the idea of moving the Red Grant training sequence to the beginning of the film (prior to the main title), a signature feature that has been an enduring hallmark of every Bond film since. The briefing with Blofeld was rewritten, and back projection was used to refilm Lotte Lenya's lines.[20]

Behind schedule and over-budget, the production crew struggled to complete production in time for the already-announced premiere date that October. On 6 July 1963, while scouting locations in Argyll, Scotland, for that day's filming of the climactic boat chase, Terence Young's helicopter crashed into the water with art director Michael White and a cameraman aboard. The craft sank into 40–50 feet (12–15 m) of water, but all escaped with minor injuries. Despite the calamity, Young was behind the camera for the full day's work. A few days later, Bianchi's driver fell asleep during the commute to a 6 am shoot and crashed the car. The actress's face was bruised and Bianchi's scenes had to be delayed for two weeks while the facial contusions healed.[20]

The helicopter and boat chase scenes were not in the original novel but were added to create an action climax. The former was inspired by the crop-dusting scene in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest and the latter by a previous Young/Broccoli/Maibaum collaboration, The Red Beret.[28] These two scenes would initially be shot in Istanbul but were moved to Scotland. The speedboats could not go fast enough due to the many waves in the sea,[29] and a rented boat filled with cameras ended up sinking in the Bosphorus.[22] A helicopter was also hard to obtain, and the special effects crew were nearly arrested trying to get one at a local airbase.[29][30] The helicopter chase was filmed with a radio controlled miniature helicopter.[22] The sounds of the boat chase were replaced in post-production since the boats were not loud enough,[31] and the explosion, shot in Pinewood, got out of control, burning Walter Gotell's eyelids[29] and seriously injuring three stuntmen.[28]

Photographer David Hurn was commissioned by the producers of the James Bond films to shoot a series of stills with Sean Connery and the actresses of the film. When the theatrical property Walther PPK pistol did not arrive, Hurn volunteered the use of his own Walther LP-53 air pistol.[32] Though the photographs of the "James Bond is Back" posters of the US release airbrushed out the long barrel of the pistol, film poster artist Renato Fratini used the long-barrelled pistol for his drawings of Connery on the British posters.[33]

For the opening credits, Maurice Binder had disagreements with the producers and did not want to return.[34] Designer Robert Brownjohn stepped into his place, and projected the credits on female dancers, inspired by constructivist artist László Moholy-Nagy projecting light onto clouds in the 1920s.[35] Brownjohn's work started the tradition of scantily clad women in the Bond films' title sequences.[36]


Principal photography commenced on 20 January 1964 in Miami Beach, Florida, at the Fontainebleau Hotel; the crew was small, consisting only of Hamilton, Broccoli, Adam and cinematographer Ted Moore. Connery never travelled to Florida to film because he was shooting Marnie[22] elsewhere in the United States. On the DVD audio commentary, director Hamilton states that other than Linder, who played Felix Leiter, none of the main actors in the Miami sequence were actually there. Connery, Fröbe, Eaton, Nolan, who played Dink, and Willis, who played Goldfinger's card victim, all filmed their parts on a soundstage at Pinewood Studios when filming moved. Miami also served as location to the scenes involving Leiter's pursuit of Oddjob.[37]

After five days in the US,[38] production returned to England. The primary location was Pinewood Studios, home to, among other sets, a recreation of the Fontainebleau, the South American city of the pre-title sequence and both Goldfinger's estate and factory.[39][40][22] Three places near the studio were used: Black Park for the car chase involving Bond's Aston Martin and Goldfinger's henchmen inside the factory complex, RAF Northolt for the American airports[37] and Stoke Park Club for the golf club scene.[41]

The end of the chase, when Bond's Aston Martin crashes into a wall because of the mirror, as well as the chase immediately preceding it, were filmed on the road at the rear of Pinewood Studios Sound Stages A and E and the Prop Store. The road is now called Goldfinger Avenue.[42] Southend Airport was used for the scene where Goldfinger flies to Switzerland.[37] Ian Fleming visited the set of Goldfinger in April 1964; he died a few months later in August 1964, shortly before the film's release.[40] The second unit filmed in Kentucky, and these shots were edited into scenes filmed at Pinewood.[39]

Connery with co-star Tania Mallet during filming in Switzerland

Principal photography then moved to Switzerland, with the car chase being filmed at the small curved roads near Realp, the exterior of the Pilatus Aircraft factory in Stans serving as Goldfinger's factory, and Tilly Masterson's attempt to snipe Goldfinger being shot in the Furka Pass.[37] Filming wrapped on 11 July at Andermatt, after nineteen weeks of shooting.[43] Just three weeks prior to the film's release, Hamilton and a small team, which included Broccoli's stepson and future producer Michael G. Wilson as assistant director, went for last-minute shoots in Kentucky. Extra people were hired for post-production issues such as dubbing so the film could be finished in time.[22][44]

Broccoli earned permission to film in the Fort Knox area with the help of his friend, Lt. Colonel Charles Russhon.[22][44] To shoot Pussy Galore's Flying Circus gassing the soldiers, the pilots were only allowed to fly above 3,000 feet. Hamilton recalled this was "hopeless", so they flew at about 500 feet, and "the military went absolutely ape".[45] The scenes of people fainting involved the same set of soldiers moving to different locations.[44]

For security reasons, filming and photography were not allowed near or inside the United States Bullion Depository. All sets for the interiors of the building were designed and built from scratch at Pinewood Studios.[40] The filmmakers had no clue as to what the interior of the depository looked like, so Ken Adam's imagination provided the idea of gold stacked upon gold behind iron bars.

Adam later told UK daily newspaper The Guardian: "No one was allowed in Fort Knox but because [producer] Cubby Broccoli had some good connections and the Kennedys loved Ian Fleming's books I was allowed to fly over it once. It was quite frightening – they had machine guns on the roof. I was also allowed to drive around the perimeter but if you got out of the car there was a loudspeaker warning you to keep away. There was not a chance of going in it, and I was delighted because I knew from going to the Bank of England vaults that gold isn't stacked very high and it's all underwhelming. It gave me the chance to show the biggest gold repository in the world as I imagined it, with gold going up to heaven. I came up with this cathedral-type design. I had a big job to persuade Cubby and the director Guy Hamilton at first."[46]

Saltzman disliked the design's resemblance to a prison, but Hamilton liked it enough that it was built.[47] The comptroller of Fort Knox later sent a letter to Adam and the production team, complimenting them on their imaginative depiction of the vault.[40] United Artists even had irate letters from people wondering "how could a British film unit be allowed inside Fort Knox?"[47] Adam recalled, "In the end I was pleased that I wasn't allowed into Fort Knox, because it allowed me to do whatever I wanted."[45] In fact, the set was deemed so realistic that Pinewood Studios had to post a 24-hour guard to keep the gold bar props from being stolen. Another element which was original was the atomic device, for which Hamilton requested the special effects crew get inventive instead of realistic.[44] Technician Bert Luxford described the end result as looking like an "engineering work", with a spinning engine, a chronometer and other decorative pieces.[48]


Guy Hamilton was invited to direct, but considered himself worn out and "creatively drained" after the production of Goldfinger.[49] Terence Young, director of the first two Bond films, returned to the series. Coincidentally, when Saltzman invited him to direct Dr. No, Young expressed interest in directing adaptations of Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Thunderball. Years later, Young said Thunderball was filmed "at the right time",[50] considering that if it was the first film in the series, the low budget (Dr. No cost only $1 million) would not have yielded good results.[50] Thunderball was the final James Bond film directed by Young.

Filming commenced on 16 February 1965, with principal photography of the opening scene in Paris. Filming then moved to the Château d'Anet, near Dreux, France, for the fight in precredit sequence. Much of the film was shot in the Bahamas; Thunderball is widely known for its extensive underwater action scenes which are played out through much of the latter half of the film. The rest of the film was shot at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, Silverstone racing circuit for the chase involving Count Lippe, Fiona Volpe's RPG-armed BSA Lightning motorcycle and James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 before moving to Nassau, and Paradise Island in the Bahamas (where most of the footage was shot), and Miami.[51] Huntington Hartford gave permission to shoot footage on his Paradise Island and is thanked at the end of the film.

The home used as Largo's estate in the film

On arriving in Nassau, McClory searched for locations to shoot many of the key sequences of the film and used the home of a local millionaire couple, the Sullivans, for Largo's estate, Palmyra.[52] Part of the SPECTRE underwater assault was also shot on the coastal grounds of another millionaire's home on the island.[49] Most of the underwater scenes had to be done at lower tides due to the sharks on the Bahamian coast.[53]

After he read the script, Connery realised the risk of the sequence with the sharks in Largo's pool and insisted that production designer Ken Adam build a Plexiglas partition inside the pool. The barrier was not a fixed structure, so when one of the sharks managed to pass through it, Connery fled the pool, seconds away from attack.[51] Ken Adam later told UK daily newspaper The Guardian,

We had to use special effects, but unlike special effects today, they were real. The jet pack we used in Thunderball was real - it was invented for the United States Army. Bloody dangerous, and it only lasted a couple of minutes. The ejector seat in the Aston Martin was real and Emilio Largo's boat, the Disco Volante, was real. You had power boats at that time, but there were no good-sized yachts that were able to travel at 40 to 50 knots, so it was quite a problem. But by combining a hydrofoil, which we bought in Puerto Rico for $10,000, and a catamaran, it at least looked like a big yacht. We combined the two hulls with a one-inch slip bolt and when they split it worked like a dream. We used lots of sharks for this movie. I'd rented a villa in the Bahamas with a saltwater pool which we filled with sharks and used for underwater filming. The smell was horrendous. This was where Sean Connery came close to being bitten. We had a plexiglass corridor to protect him, but I didn't have quite enough plexiglass and one of the sharks got through. He never got out of a pool faster in his life - he was walking on water.[54]

When special-effects coordinator John Stears provided a supposedly dead shark to be towed around the pool, the shark, which was still alive, revived at one point. Due to the dangers on the set, stuntman Bill Cummings demanded an extra fee of £250 to double for Largo's sidekick Quist as he was dropped into the pool of sharks.[55]

The climactic underwater battle was shot at Clifton Pier and was choreographed by Hollywood expert Ricou Browning, who had worked on Creature From the Black Lagoon in 1954 and other films. He was responsible for the staging of the cave sequence and the battle scenes beneath Disco Volante and called in his specialist team of divers who posed as those engaged in the onslaught. Voit provided much of the underwater gear, including the Aqua-Lungs, in exchange for product placement and film tie-in merchandise. The ability to breathe underwater for extended periods of time was a new product that had previously been used by underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau and using it in a movie was a new approach. Lamar Boren, an underwater photographer, was hired to shoot all of the sequences.[55] Filming ceased in May 1965, and the final scene shot was the physical fight on the bridge of Disco Volante.[49]

While in Nassau, during the final shooting days, special-effects supervisor John Stears was supplied experimental rocket fuel to use in exploding Largo's yacht. Ignoring the true power of the volatile liquid, Stears doused the entire yacht with it, took cover, and then detonated the boat. The resultant massive explosion shattered windows along Bay Street in Nassau roughly 30 miles away.[49] Stears went on to win an Academy Award for his work on Thunderball.

As the filming neared its conclusion, Connery had become increasingly agitated with press intrusion and was distracted with difficulties in his marriage of 32 months to actress Diane Cilento. Connery refused to speak to journalists and photographers who followed him in Nassau, stating his frustration with the harassment that came with the role; "I find that fame tends to turn one from an actor and a human being into a piece of merchandise, a public institution. Well, I don't intend to undergo that metamorphosis."[56] In the end he gave only a single interview, to Playboy, as filming was wrapped up, and even turned down a substantial fee to appear in a promotional TV special made by Wolper Productions for NBC, The Incredible World of James Bond.[55] According to editor Peter R. Hunt, Thunderball's release was delayed for three months, from September until December 1965, after he met David Picker of United Artists, and convinced him it would be impossible to edit the film to a high enough standard without the extra time.[57]

You Only Live Twice

Small, one man, open-cockpit helicopter on a lawn about the size of a car next to it, with a man sitting in it.
The Little Nellie WA-116 autogyro with its creator and pilot, Ken Wallis
The scene of the Japanese fishing village
Mount Shinmoedake in 1998 (the crater was filled by an eruption in 2011)

Filming of You Only Live Twice lasted from July 1966 to March 1967.[27]

The film was shot primarily in Japan, and most of the locations are identifiable.[58]

In summary:

  • Tokyo: After arriving in Japan at Akime, Bond goes to Tokyo. The initial scenes are set in and around the Ginza area. The Hotel New Otani Tokyo served as the outside for Osato Chemicals, and the hotel's gardens were used for scenes of the ninja training. A car chase using the Toyota 2000GT and a Toyota Crown was largely filmed in the area around the Olympic Stadium used previously for the 1964 Summer Olympics. Tokyo Tower and the center of Tokyo can be briefly seen in a sequence where the villain's car is dropped in Tokyo Bay. Tanaka's private subway station was filmed at the Tokyo Metro's Nakano-shimbashi Station. A sumo wrestling match was filmed at Tokyo's sumo hall, the Kuramae Kokugikan; this has since been demolished.
  • Kobe Docks appears in a sequence when Bond investigates the ship Ning-Po, and is involved in a fight.
  • Bond's wedding at a Shinto Shrine was filmed in Nachi.
  • Himeji Castle in Hyōgo Prefecture was depicted as Tanaka's ninja training camp.
  • The village of Bonotsucho Akime was where Bond and his Ama wife lived and where the Ama scenes were shot.
  • The ryokan Shigetomi-so (now known as Shimazu Shigetomisoh Manor) was used as the exterior of Tanaka's house.
  • Kagoshima Prefecture was the location for various scenes depicting Little Nellie (see below).
  • Mount Shinmoe-dake in Kyūshū was used for the exteriors of SPECTRE's headquarters.[59][60][61]

Most of the interiors were shot at Pinewood. The opening sequence in Hong Kong used some location footage of a street in Kowloon. Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour is also shown, but the at-sea burial of Bond and the retrieval of the corpse was filmed off Gibraltar and the Bahamas. The scenes with the light aircraft ferrying Bond to his supposed death were shot over very English-looking countryside in Buckinghamshire, whereas this was supposed to be Japan.[58]

Large crowds were present in Japan to see the shooting. A Japanese fan began following Sean Connery with a camera, and police had to deal with fan incursions several times during shooting.[59][22]

The heavily armed WA-116 autogyro "Little Nellie" was included after Ken Adam heard a radio interview with its inventor, RAF Wing Commander Ken Wallis. Little Nellie was named after music hall star Nellie Wallace, who has a similar surname to its inventor. Wallis piloted his invention, which was equipped with various mock-up armaments by John Stears' special effects team, during production.[27]

"Nellie"'s battle with helicopters proved to be difficult to film. The scenes were initially shot in Miyazaki, first with takes of the gyrocopter, with more than 85 take-offs, five hours of flight and Wallis nearly crashing into the camera several times. A scene filming the helicopters from above created a major downdraft, and cameraman John Jordan's foot was severed by the craft's rotor. It was surgically reattached by surgeons visiting the country, and then amputated in London when the surgery was deemed to have been flawed.[62] Jordan would continue work for the Bond series with a prosthetic foot. The concluding shots involved explosions, which the Japanese government did not allow in a national park; hence, the crew moved to Torremolinos, Spain, which was found to resemble the Japanese landscape.[59] The shots of the volcano were filmed at Shinmoedake on Kyushu Island.[63]

The sets of SPECTRE's volcano base, including operative heliport and monorail, were constructed at a lot inside Pinewood Studios, at a cost of $1 million.[59][60] The 45 m (148 ft) tall set could be seen from 5 kilometres (3 miles) away, and attracted many people from the region.[64] Locations outside Japan included using the Royal Navy frigate HMS Tenby, then in Gibraltar, for the sea burial,[65] Hong Kong for the scene where Bond fakes his death, and Norway for the Soviet radar station.[59][61][64]

Sean Connery's then-wife Diane Cilento performed the swimming scenes for at least five Japanese actresses, including Mie Hama.[59] Martial arts expert Donn F. Draeger provided martial arts training, and also doubled for Connery.[66] Lewis Gilbert's regular editor, Thelma Connell, was originally hired to edit the film. However, after her initial, almost three-hour cut received a terrible response from test audiences, Peter R. Hunt was asked to re-edit the film. Hunt's cut proved a much greater success, and he was awarded the director's chair on the next film as a result.[67]

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Filming at Piz Gloria, Switzerland

Principal photography began in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland, on 21 October 1968, with the first scene shot being an aerial view of Bond climbing the stairs of Blofeld's mountain retreat to meet the girls.[68] The scenes were shot at the revolving restaurant Piz Gloria, located atop the Schilthorn near the village of Mürren. The location was found by production manager Hubert Fröhlich after three weeks of location scouting in France and Switzerland.[69] The restaurant was still under construction, but the producers found the location interesting,[why?][7] and had to finance the provision of electricity and the aerial lift to make filming there possible.[68] The first chase scene in the Alps was shot at the Schilthorn and the second one at Saas-Fee, while the Christmas celebrations were filmed in Grindelwald, and some scenes were shot on location in Bern.[70] Production was hampered by weak snowfall which was unfavourable to the skiing action scenes. The producers even considered moving to another location in Switzerland, but it was taken by the production of Downhill Racer.[7] The Swiss filming ended up running 56 days over schedule.[69] In March 1969, production moved to England, with London's Pinewood Studios being used for interior shooting, and M's house being shot in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. In April, the filmmakers went to Portugal, where principal photography wrapped in May.[68][7] The pre-credit coastal and hotel scenes were filmed at Hotel Estoril Palacio in Estoril and Guincho Beach, Cascais,[71] while Lisbon was used for the reunion of Bond and Tracy, and the ending employed a mountain road in the Arrábida National Park near Setúbal.[70] Harry Saltzman wanted the Portuguese scenes to be in France, but after searching there, Peter Hunt considered that not only were the locations not photogenic, but were already "overexposed".[72]

Cameraman Johnny Jordan dangling from a helicopter

While the first unit shot at Piz Gloria, the second unit, led by John Glen, started filming the ski chases.[73] The downhill skiing involved professional skiers, and various camera tricks. Some cameras were handheld, with the operators holding them as they were going downhill with the stuntmen, and others were aerial, with cameramen Johnny Jordan – who had previously worked in the helicopter battle of You Only Live Twice — developing a system where he was dangled by an 18 feet (5.5 m) long parachute harness rig below a helicopter, allowing scenes to be shot on the move from any angle.[68] The bobsledding chase was also filmed with the help of Swiss Olympic athletes,[7][74] and was rewritten to incorporate the accidents the stuntmen suffered during shooting, such as the scene where Bond falls from the sled. Blofeld getting snared with a tree was performed at the studio by Savalas himself, after the attempt to do this by the stuntman on location came out wrong.[68] Heinz Lau and Robert Zimmermann served as the stunt doubles for Bond and Blofeld during the bobsleigh scene.[3] Glen was also the editor of the film, employing a style similar to the one used by Hunt in the previous Bond films, with fast motion in the action scenes and exaggerated sound effects.[7]

The avalanche scenes were due to be filmed in co-operation with the Swiss army, who annually used explosions to prevent snow build-up by causing avalanches, but the area chosen naturally avalanched just before filming.[72] The final result was a combination of a man-made avalanche at an isolated Swiss location shot by the second unit,[68] stock footage, and images created by the special effects crew with salt.[72] The stuntmen were filmed later, added by optical effects.[75] For the scene where Bond and Tracy crash into a car race while being pursued, an ice rink was constructed over an unused aeroplane track,[7] with water and snow sprayed on it constantly. Lazenby and Rigg did most of the driving due to the high number of close-ups.[68]

"One time, we were on location at an ice rink and Diana and Peter were drinking champagne inside. Of course I wasn't invited as Peter was there. I could see them through the window, but the crew were all outside stomping around on the ice trying to keep warm. So, when she got in the car, I went for her. She couldn't drive the car properly and I got in to her about her drinking and things like that. Then she jumped out and started shouting 'he's attacking me in the car!' I called her a so-and-so for not considering the crew who were freezing their butts off outside. And it wasn't that at all in the end, as she was sick that night, and I was at fault for getting in to her about it. I think everyone gets upset at one time."

George Lazenby[69]

For the cinematography, Hunt aimed for a "simple, but glamorous like the 1950s Hollywood films I grew up with",[72] as well as something realistic, "where the sets don't look like sets".[72] Cinematographer Michael Reed added he had difficulties with lighting, as every set built for the film had a ceiling, preventing spotlights from being hung from above.[76] While shooting, Hunt wanted "the most interesting framings possible", which would also look good after being cropped for television.[72]

Lazenby said he experienced difficulties during shooting, not receiving any coaching despite his lack of acting experience, and with director Hunt never addressing him directly, only through his assistant. Lazenby also declared that Hunt also asked the rest of the crew to keep a distance from him, as "Peter thought the more I was alone, the better I would be as James Bond."[69] Allegedly, there also were personality conflicts with Rigg, who was already an established star. However, according to director Hunt, these rumours are untrue and there were no such difficulties—or else they were minor—and may have started with Rigg joking to Lazenby before filming a love scene, "Hey George, I'm having garlic for lunch. I hope you are!"[77] Hunt also declared that he usually had long talks with Lazenby before and during shooting. For instance, to shoot Tracy's death scene, Hunt brought Lazenby to the set at 8 o'clock in the morning and made him rehearse all day long, "and I broke him down until he was absolutely exhausted, and by the time we shot it at five o'clock, he was exhausted, and that's how I got the performance."[78] Hunt said that if Lazenby had remained in the role, he would also have directed the successor film, Diamonds Are Forever, and that his original intention had been to conclude the film with Bond and Tracy driving off following their wedding, saving Tracy's murder for the pre-credit sequence of Diamonds Are Forever. The idea was discarded after Lazenby quit the role.[68]

On Her Majesty's Secret Service was the longest Bond film until Casino Royale was released in 2006.[79] Even so, two scenes were deleted from the final print: Irma Bunt spying on Bond as he buys a wedding ring for Tracy,[80] and a chase over London rooftops and into the Royal Mail underground rail system[81] after Bond's conversation with Sir Hilary Bray was overheard.[79]

Critical response

Film Critical
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Dr. No 95% (56 reviews)[82] 78 (8 reviews)[83]
From Russia with Love 95% (57 reviews)[84] 85 (13 reviews)[85]
Goldfinger 97% (61 reviews)[86] 87 (12 reviews)[87]
Thunderball 87% (46 reviews)[88] 64 (9 reviews)[89]
You Only Live Twice 72% (47 reviews)[90] 61 (14 reviews)[91]
On Her Majesty's Secret Service 81% (48 reviews)[92] 61 (12 reviews)[93]


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