A shot from the opening sequence for the 1964 film, ‘Goldfinger.’
Back in 1961 visual artist Maurice Binder (who got his start creating department store ads for retail giant Macy’s) presented an idea to Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli that would become an intrinsic part of their James Bond movie franchise—the famous title sequence that featured naked girls, guns and of course Mr. Bond caught in the sights of a gun barrell.
The famous ‘gun barrel’ shot originally conceived by Maurice Binder. This one taken from 1969’s ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ starring George Lazenby.
According to Binder his pitch to Saltzman and Broccoli was put together on the fly after he had been contacted by the studio when his title sequence for the 1961 film The Grass is Greener caught their attention. Binder was asked to adapt some similar ideas for the opening sequence for Dr. No. The storyboard that Binder brought to the fateful meeting was cobbled together with white price tag stickers that served as a means to convey gunshots floating across the screen. Needless to say Saltzman and Broccoli dug his pitch and Binder’s overall original concept—that included the image of a Bond viewed through the scope of a gun—became an important part of the films’ success.
When it comes to how later Bond titles sequences would come to be realized, we have Robert Brownjohn to thank. As a student at the Institute of Design in Chicago Brownjohn studied under the tutelage of Hungarian-born artist, painter and photographer László Moholy-Nagy. Moholy-Nagy, a former professor of the Bauhaus School helped influence a technique used by Brownjohn of projecting in-motion footage onto the bodies of his subjects (which Moholy-Nagy used in his early films in the 1920s) when he created the title sequences for From Russia with Love in 1963 and perhaps the most memorable Bond title sequence in the franchise’s history, 1964’s Goldfinger. Brownjohn was also the brainchild behind covering model Margaret Nolan in gold paint. Shortly after Goldfinger’s success the artist’s relationship with Saltzman and Broccoli became contentious and Binder returned and would go on to create every Bond film title sequence until 1989’s Licence To Kill. He too often used the technique of projecting films onto the models.
I can’t lie—I’m a sucker for the Bond franchise especially the ones that star Sean Connery (and the dashing George Lazenby who briefly took over for Connery for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). When I was recently watching yet another James Bond marathon I became focused on the opening sequences. What struck me was the gorgeous placidity of the images when you got to gaze at them for a moment without the credits popping up. Which sent me off in search of finding said images sans credits—and I wasn’t disappointed. And I’m sure you won’t be either. Check them out below and a video of what the opening sequence looks like without the help of text for A View to a Kill.
‘The Spy Who Loved Me,’ 1977.
‘Licence to Kill,’ 1989.
More after the jump…