August 25, 1925|
New York City, New York, United States
|Died||April 4, 1991(aged 65)|
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.
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.
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!"
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.
- Dr. No (1962)
- From Russia with Love — gun barrel sequence only (reused from Dr. No) (1963)
- Goldfinger — gun barrel sequence only (reused from Dr. No) (1964)
- Thunderball (1965)
- You Only Live Twice (1967)
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
- Live and Let Die (1973)
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Moonraker (1979)
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Octopussy (1983)
- A View to a Kill (1985)
- The Living Daylights (1987)
- Licence to Kill (1989)
Selected other films
- Indiscreet (1958)
- The Mouse That Roared (1959)
- Once More, with Feeling! (1960)
- Purple Noon (1960)
- The Grass Is Greener (1960)
- Road to Hong Kong (1962)
- Charade (1963)
- Call Me Bwana (1963)
- The Running Man (1963)
- The Mouse on the Moon (1963)
- The Long Ships (1963)
- The 7th Dawn (1964)
- The Chase (1966)
- Caccia alla volpe (After the Fox) (1966)
- Arabesque (1966)
- Kaleidoscope (1966)
- Bedazzled (1967)
- Fathom (1967)
- Billion-Dollar Brain (1967)
- Two for the Road (1967)
- Barbarella (1968)
- Battle of Britain (1969)
- The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
- Young Winston (1972)
- Gold (1974)
- The Tamarind Seed (1974)
- Shout at the Devil (1976)
- The Wild Geese (1978)
- Dracula (1979)
- The Sea Wolves (1980)
- The Final Countdown (1980)
- Green Ice (1981)
- The Last Emperor (1987)
- The Sheltering Sky (1990)
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.
Binder, who never married, died from lung cancer in London, aged 65.
- Cork, John & Scivally, Bruce (2002). James Bond: The Legacy. Boxtree, 46.
- Pfeiffer, Lee & Lisa, Philip (1995). The Incredible World of 007: An Authorized Celebration of James Bond. Boxtree, 200.
- Chapman, James (2000). Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films. Columbia, 61.
- Christopher Frayling Ken Adam and the Art of Production Design, London and New York: Faber, 2005, p.91
- Maurice Binder at the Internet Movie Database
- Examples of Maurice Binder's Work on the Art of the Title website.