Maurice Binder

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Maurice Binder
Born (1925-08-25)August 25, 1925
New York City, New York, United States
Died April 4, 1991(1991-04-04) (aged 65)
Occupation Title designer

Maurice Binder (August 25, 1925 – April 4, 1991) was a film title designer best known for his work on 14 James Bond films including the first, Dr. No in 1962 and for Stanley Donen's films from 1958. He was born in New York City, USA, but mostly worked in Britain from the 1950s onwards. The Bond producers first approached him after being impressed by his title designs for the 1960 Stanley Donen comedy film The Grass Is Greener. He also worked with Stanley Donen in Charade (1963) and Arabesque (1966), both with music of Henry Mancini.

James Bond[edit]

Binder created the signature gun barrel sequence for the opening titles of the first Bond film, Dr. No, in 1962. Binder originally planned to employ a camera sighted down the barrel of a .38 calibre gun, but this caused some problems. Unable to stop down the lens of a standard camera enough to bring the entire gun barrel into focus, Binder created a pinhole camera to solve the problem and the barrel became crystal clear.[1]

Binder described the genesis of the gun barrel sequence in the last interview he recorded before his death in 1991:

That was something I did in a hurry, because I had to get to a meeting with the producers in twenty minutes. I just happened to have little white, price tag stickers and I thought I'd use them as gun shots across the screen. We'd have James Bond walk through and fire, at which point blood comes down onscreen. That was about a twenty-minute storyboard I did, and they said, "This looks great!"[2]

At least one critic has also observed that the sequence recalls the gun fired at the audience at the end of The Great Train Robbery (1903).[3]

Binder is also best known for women performing a variety of activities such as dancing, jumping on a trampoline, or shooting weapons. Both sequences are trademarks and staples of the James Bond films. Maurice Binder was succeeded by Daniel Kleinman as the title designer for 1995's GoldenEye.

Prior to GoldenEye, the only James Bond movies for which he did not create the opening title credits were From Russia with Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964), both of which were designed by Robert Brownjohn.

Selected other films[edit]

Other sequences[edit]

Binder shot opening and closing sequences involving a mouse for The Mouse That Roared (1959), a sequence of monks filmed as a mosaic explaining the history of the Golden Bell in The Long Ships (1963), and a sequence of Spanish dancers explaining why the then topical reference of nuclear weapons vanishing in a B-52 mishap shifted from Spain to Greece in The Day the Fish Came Out (1967).

He designed the title sequence for Sodom and Gomorrah (1963) that featured an orgy (the only one in the film). He took three days to direct the sequence that was originally supposed to take one day.[4]

Binder also was a producer of The Passage (1979), and a visual consultant on Dracula (1979) and Oxford Blues (1984).

Death[edit]

Binder, who never married, died from lung cancer in London, aged 65.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cork, John & Scivally, Bruce (2002). James Bond: The Legacy. Boxtree, 46.
  2. ^ Pfeiffer, Lee & Lisa, Philip (1995). The Incredible World of 007: An Authorized Celebration of James Bond. Boxtree, 200.
  3. ^ Chapman, James (2000). Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films. Columbia, 61.
  4. ^ Christopher Frayling Ken Adam and the Art of Production Design, London and New York: Faber, 2005, p.91

External links[edit]