John Glen

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Speaker 1  0:00  
John, the copyright of this is in the British entertainment history project and numbers 747. John, you it will own in Sunbury

Speaker 2  0:22  
on Thames, which is was at that time in the sort of centre of all the film studios there was Shepparton metal folds Twickenham, you name it there were all kinds of studios and I started there I got to get on my bicycle and go to Shepperton Studios. My first job as a messenger boy arrived into a fantastic period in filmmaking with these big costume dramas at Shepperton. The ideal husband directed by Sir Alexander Calder, great costume piece and Hyde Park, the slotted Shepherd and was transformed into Hyde Park for the filming. And that's when I kind of arrived in the in the film industry. And I met Kat later on is to meet Cal read and work on the third man, mod heavy. I progressed eventually from an office boy into into the cutting rooms, I was attracted by the smell of ml acetate, I think that which we used to use the join the film smells like pear drops, just still like funnily enough. And so you know, I started on my career in the editing rooms at the very lowest level, reclaiming unused film, we used to send it to a factory where they used to process it to get the silver back from the emulsion. And I used to have to wind up the odds and ends of film into big rolls and send it off. That was one of my jobs. And then I became a lumbering boy, principally on the third man, which was directed by Carol Reed. And I used to they had a fire in the cutting rooms. As what happened Rector was the editor. And I can remember the old the firemen trying to restrain him from rushing into the burning cutting room. And when it eventually reemerged, he was clutching not the film, but his old coat that he loved the boat from Austria when he was a refugee. But we we had to reprint three quarters of the film. And of course, as the number of boys meant I was working every hour God sent you know, and getting lots of overtime, which on my two pounds 50 A week mount mounted, not very much money in today's coinage. But at the time I was quite well off.

Unknown Speaker  3:03  
It was about 1949

Speaker 2  3:06  
I think it was 1947 I think we when we did the third man and I had a very similar bill to Joseph Cotton. And I went over to the west tracks theatre and I used to watch the film and I loop and I would then go into the little alleyway outside the theatre and record the footsteps for the service team in the third man, so I did the footsteps.

Unknown Speaker  3:42  
And that was cold. It wasn't Alexander cold. So

Speaker 2  3:45  
Alexander Calder was head of London films. We also did a film called The wooden horse. And that was I was a second assistant editor on that film and Lord Braeburn came on as an assistant to get gain experience, if I remember rightly. And humbly Fisher was the Archbishop of Canterbury camped at Canterbury son. And he was he was the first assistant from Riley on the film as well. So it was quite a quite eminent people at the cutting rooms in those days. This was all at Shepperton, that was at Shepperton Studios. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  4:32  
So where did you go on after that to

Speaker 2  4:37  
go? I got caught up in the RAF in 1950. And I just started work on a film called The Long Dark Hall, which record back was co directing with Anthony Bushnell and that took place at metal photo studios and I had to leave before the film was finished. Do my national service. And I spent two, two years out of the business completely in the RAF. In fact, I, after three weeks in the RAF, the Korean War started and they put the the period of national service up from 18 months to two years. So I was already counting the days when I would be back in the film industry, and then either throw that idea away. But now I had two years away from it. And I was very fortunate because it was a very bad period. And it in the 1950 to 52 in the film industry, and a lot of my friends left the business because there was no work. And it was after my UPSC going in towards the end of my service, and I started to receive telegrams from people ask him to employ me as a second assistant editor. And so I went to the commanding officer, and I said, I'm not due to be demand for another three weeks, but I've got this offer of a job. And he said, off you go late. I got out early three weeks early. Very nice job. And I started work at for ES Laurie had battlefield studios. And I quite enjoyed my time there. I worked on a film called there was a young lady, Lauren, something directed. And Joe Sterling was the editor. And obviously, as a system enjoyed that very much. Before I moved on to group three at Bekins field, which is now a school for filmmakers.

Speaker 1  6:58  
When did you start to editing made up from assistant to editor?

Speaker 2  7:03  
Well, funnily enough, working with Joe Sterling, he was sick for a period for two or three days. And I called in to see how he was and I said, Would you like me to try and put a few pieces of film together. And I didn't really know what I was doing. But that was my really my first foray into into really putting some film together has been an editor. But because Joe came back after a week and recap what I've done, I've made a mess of it. And which always do. I can remember sitting over the movie, with a pencil poised and trying to make up my mind where to cut the film. Because not like today, they didn't have the tape join us. But came in later on where you could actually make a mistake and join up and have another go. There used to lose two frames every time you you made a cut or a recap. And we had various techniques where we try and minimise the amount of film that we were losing by blooping using blooping ink to bloop out the first frame of the next scene. And so it was just like a quick blink of the eye is almost that used to go through so we could extend this shot. Quite a I became quite adept at rewinding film. One of the My early experiences was on the wooden horse. And we were rushing to make a screen emphasis or Alex in a month or six Piccadilly where his head office was. And I was very fast, join rewinder, and I'm sitting there, let's rewind and suddenly all the paper clips come flying out of the reel. And there's bits of filth online all over the floor. Nice. There was no time. You know the drivers waiting to take us out. They put all these pieces back in the film. And we arrived at the screening and the great man. So Alexander walks in to 146 and sits down and I gave the signal start the film. We started running in half halfway through suddenly all these bits of film came up upside down screen. So Alex didn't even blink an eyelid whether he was half asleep or not, I don't know that we carried on for a while and then he'd made a a signal with his arm. And I've tried to figure out what he meant by that and somehow he must sound up. So I looked behind me and there was a little button that said raise and lower. So I hit raise and of course the lights went up in the theatre and the curtain drew on the screen and the senior editing staff or rushed over knocked me aside and press more buttons and restore audits are what it should be but good guy. So Alexander credit he didn't didn't blink an eyelid very calm.

Speaker 1  10:08  
You're well known for your sound editing as well in football.

Speaker 2  10:12  
Yeah, so I became an assembly editor on the Green Man back at Sheppard them. Bernie Gribble was the editor. And that was my think my first credit as assembly editor. And of course, the Senior Assistant used to do the sound in those days, we didn't have Sound Editors really, there were maybe one or two about but generally the assistant editor would be in charge of doing the sound and it wasn't as sophisticated as it is today. You know, we had like seven or eight heads in the, in the projection theatre to rerecord the sound and, you know, we didn't like doing too many premixes because the quality would go down. So that was, you know, I was started sound editing and then I sounded it became more of a profession, if you like, and I did various films did some for Lewis Gilbert. The Honourable Crighton for one, and scamp.

Unknown Speaker  11:17  
Read law was the tapping, read

Speaker 2  11:19  
law was the chief mixer. And when we had the RCA theatre Shepparton and then of course, later on, they built the West tracks, theatre and I think it was Bob Jones was the mix of the hair. Red law got very sick at one point he had a brain tumour and he had a very serious operation that but then he came back and carried on mixing very, very nice people. So I suppose the sound editing went on for quite a few years and then I gradually graduated back into into picture editing. Went to Merton park, to get a break, really, and I worked with a director called Phil Ressler on a series called chemistry for six forms. Work with the orals. Remember Professor Pryor, who told me that, that he had to grow pee is he said, he said, you know, because I had small children at the time, he said, Oh, you get your nappy water, he said, and you said, you dilute it, and leave it for 24 hours, he said, and then pour it on the piece, he said, and just watch them grow. So I did learn some things about gardening. Also, we had a series about how to make an atom bomb and all sorts. So it was quite instructive working on that series. And of course, we used to do our own animation in in house, because we didn't have time to send it out to a house that specialised in. So we used to use high contrast stock and, and, you know, do our own animation. So that was quite instructive as well. Something I hadn't done before. There was two editors. I think Mike Arrington was one myself. And yeah, it was it was a nice studio laevis Yeah, Arthur Lavers was the cameraman if I remember right. And anyway, we did that for a while and a friend of mine, Spencer Reeve, he called me and he said, Oh, he said, I'm doing a series TV series at shepherd them and the star medicine is they need another editor. So, I got in touch with a producer who was Harry fine. And met arranged an interview and I managed to get a job working on a series called man of the world, I think it was with Craig Stevens was the actor. And that was very nice. And I started to work with a lot of lot of directors. I was really still learning my business, how about editing quite honestly and it was my really first first attempt at actually cutting dialogue scenes and so forth. And I rather over studied that material. I think looking back on it, I became much more ruthless as an editor. So I got more experienced. You can treat film with too much respect sometimes. So after that, we did another series called sentimental Agent with the same production team Harry fine was a producer. And the actor the lead actor went AWOL towards the end of production, and we had an awful job touching up the last episode. without the main actor being it was a German actor. Thompson something Thompson if I remember rightly. But anyway, we got through that. And then Harry quite liked my work. My editing work and he thought I might become a director one day. So he said, I'd quite like to do a film with you as director. And we worked on the script, but it didn't come to anything. We couldn't, obviously couldn't launch it. The next move I made was to Pinewood where, oh, no, it wasn't it was to MGM. At our st. The studio, there was a fantastic studios at the MGM Studios, very modern building and so forth. And I went over there work with IED young on the danger Man series, and I took over from John Victor Smith. He was editing he'd gone off to to edit a feature film. So I took his place on this sit TV series with Patrick McGoohan. It was a fantastic series. Patrick McGoohan was a wonderful actor. And often said he would have made a wonderful James Bond actually. It wasn't to be. Anyway, I enjoyed that. And I enjoyed working with IED young. And then she left to do a feature film and Sydney Cole took over. And Sydney and I instantly had a good relationship on the film. And I used to go off and shoot second unit do I would do all the inserts for the danger man, you know, the little razor they used to use as a microphone to record and so forth. Not only did I shoot that material, but it was also in my hands and the picture as well. Because central to costume would be asked to send down someone to do handwork for the inserts. And they would get someone who was very old and very doddery. And you know, you've got the pack lens on camera, and these fingers would come into frame and they'd be shaking in and out of shot in the novice so you sit down and have a cup of tea and I'll do it died young man. Oh, it's quite steady, handsome. I was able to it was all very good experience. I had the great advantage that I could edit some of my rushes before anyone else saw them. So the rubbish I could I could cut out there. It's quite an advantage being an editor as well as the second unit director. From there, I suppose the danger Man series ended. And Pat went off to do the prisoner. They Austria and I stayed with Sid and we did a man in a suitcase. And that was very interesting. And I was a supervising editor on that. And I had a series of letters, other editors working for me. And we, it was very enjoyable and said, you know, we'd have a conference in the evening with all the directors. Charlie Crighton was one and we'd go into his office in the evening and discuss the work the day's progress and how we're getting on with various episodes that weren't finished and what have you. And said would go to the cabinet and bring out the whiskey bottle. And he and Charlie crying but then fight over the whiskey bottle. He was going to get the largest glass if you like and I said to sit and I said, I said who provides the whiskey. Then he said oh, he said the studio provide the cabinet. He said and Lou grape provides the whiskey they all like to drop. Don Chafee was another one. There was one of the directors. A lot of the excess exhaling directors used to come and come and direct episodes of men in the suitcase. So I got to meet quite a few of the directors, Charlie cried and I liked, particularly because he was a very fine editor in his day and became a very fine director. Eventually, John Cleese, he directed a very Fish Called Wanda, which was a great success. And John Cleese and Charlie were going to co direct it together to start with. And then when it came to it, John, John Cleese very kindly stepped aside and said Oh, Charlie, I'm gonna give you the sole credit, which is really nice of them to do that.

Unknown Speaker  20:06  
You then got a few features to edit.

Speaker 2  20:09  
I went on to the I do quite a few and I suppose my big breakthrough came I was down on my lap really and worked on The Italian Job as a son of a, an additional sound editor. And it was I directed an episode of men a suitcase, and I'd gone a couple of days over shedule, which is unpalatable when television so they didn't ask me again. And I was a bit down. I thought, Michelle, I'm not really ready for this big step to direct and I could see that wasn't ready. And I got kind of depressed and I got a call from John Trumper, who was the editor on the Italian Job, and he asked me if I'd come and help out with a sound wanted. Mike. They said the Americans said they couldn't understand Michael Caine. He couldn't understand his accent. So I posting rerecord all his voice throughout the film. Everything he said try and modify his cockney accent, which was ridiculous. But, I mean, that's his characters now. I mean, so we've got the theatre with Michael Caine and Michael Caine was charming, and we modified it to a degree but not know, you know, what the Americans is like, they could not understand Michael Caine, too bad in the end. It was just that was anyway, the film. We all thought is become a huge success now. But I know Michael Daly, I see him occasionally. And he says, you know, he's still making a loss. It's still three $3 million in the red even after all these years. There's no way some of these films can ever turn a penny really. But it was a wonderful film. And it is. Well, I think Louis, probably, Lewis Gilbert really launched Michael Caine with with Alfie. He did a wonderful job on that. And ALF Alfie was produced and directed by Lewis Gilbert. And they got a great relationship. And then later on, they did several great films together.

Unknown Speaker  22:41  
And you was tweaking it. As was.

Speaker 2  22:47  
Yeah, I worked with you. And Lloyd was a Chaplet. Very good producer that admired my bond work, basically. And what edited on the Majesty's Secret Service and done second unit on that was my first foray into the bond camp, if you like. And the later on I went to do between I went from that to do the world GIS editor and second unit director that I enjoyed very much. We shot the film in Africa, and we had a mobile web or mobile cutting room, and John Grover was my editor on it as well. So we've sort of improvised the cutting room. And the first time I met Richard Burton, who I admired very much, Richard Burton had the most wonderful voice. And he was also a very nice man. And I had occasion to meet him on several occasions socially, and he was a wonderful conversationalist, and had that wonderful, wonderful ability to get you talking, you know, and he wasn't just dominating the conversation, but he was a draw you out of yourself in a way and make you feel at ease. He was a lovely, lovely man.

Speaker 1  24:13  
So when did you get the first you edited bond, but then got a chance to direct? Well,

Speaker 2  24:21  
as I say, I was a bit down on my luck on the Italian Job. And I was in the theatre with Peter Collison, the director, and we were dubbing the film, Twickenham with Jerry Humphries. And the phone rang, they said, Oh, John, there's a call come through from Pinewood Studios. So I tapped out into the room and Peter Collison said said, Oh, he said, pilot, he said, you've got a job on the new Bond film. So I said that rubbish. He said, I'll talk to Harry Saltzman I know Harry Sox myself rather you didn't So anyway, I asked permission if I could go over to Pinewood. And speak to Peter hunt, he was directing his first Bond film, Peter had been a very successful film editor with Terrence Xiang laden all this formulated the Bond style with Fleming's great books. And so when I were there, and Peter was in the middle of shooting a scene with George Lazenby and Diana, Rick, and he said, I just finished this thing, John, he opened up the script, he said, Read that scene, see if you see what you think of it. And it was the Bob Brown sequence from a Majesty's Secret Service, the fight with Blofeld and bond on the on the Bob slay. So I read this, there was about four pages. And he came over and he said, What do you think I said is wonderful. He said, I'd like you to direct it. So on the following Monday, I found myself travelling first class to Switzerland until a whole new life if you like, and I did the bulk run sequence very successfully. And I inherited a lot of the other action scenes, the avalanche and everything else. And then Peter asked me if I'd edit the film as well. So that was really a wonderful opportunity for me. Later on, I was to work with Peter again as second year director and editor on the two films that he did with my memory

Speaker 2  26:44  
so yeah. Lovely, lovely man. Anyway, oh, come to me in a minute. He said. You know, what was the name of that? I'm trying to think of his name God. Gold and shout at the devil, the producer. Oh, my God. So let's pick this up again. Yeah. So later on i i had a phone call from Michael clan because I edited for Michael I edited a film called Baby love, which was an exploitive type of film, where they all made a bit of money out of it. And it was quite considered to be quite six successful at the time. And then, Michael had been trying to get me to work for him. In fact, Michael, Michael clingers offered me a job to direct actually, and I had already said I was going to do Murphy's war with Michael, with Michael Daly, in Venezuela, and I said to Michael clinger, I said, I've given my word, I will do this, this film in Venezuela, and I'll stick by my word, I won't let him down. So I thought I'd get another opportunity, maybe along the line somewhere. So I went off to Venezuela and I worked on a very troublesome film called Murphy's war, which is a whole new saga, but everything went wrong, was a very corrupt country at the time, and we all assembled in I think it was Barbados, one of the Caribbean islands and we boarded this ship. And we were going to live on the ship. While we filmed nerf his bore. And we went to this wonderful area. We got held up for about a week by the Venezuelan Navy, they wouldn't let us land. Then they impounded all our passports. Eventually, we went to our location and then the ship but we were on wood couldn't go over the sandbar. The charts we were using were dated 1937 emerald charts, and the river had all silted up and we couldn't get to our location. So we had to change locations. And that delayed the film for several weeks and

Speaker 1  29:15  
they leave the stock behind. Well, the flight,

Speaker 2  29:18  
the flight out, we the producers hired Aer Lingus flight 707 flight and we loaded up all our equipment. I was all the cutting room staff, the movie Ola, and everything else and all the camera gear and the lenses and everything else. And when they were loading up, they decided that they were overloaded. So the most important thing of all was left behind that was the film stop. We arrived in Venezuela without any film. We had everything else we had plenty of lenses and plenty of cameras, but we didn't have any film We took off. And we were so overloaded. And we've got over the started out over the Atlantic. And I looked out the window, I was sitting next to sue Mary, who was the continuity girl. And I suddenly saw this fight are coming from one of the engines. And she's looked and she saw it as it is perfect. All right, so they're just, they're just getting rid of a bit of fuel, they're a bit overweight. And with that, the plane veered off and landed in Ireland, and sheduled. And they then took more stuff off the cut off the plane because it was really was overloaded. And then we eventually we set off with any not everything we needed to begin filming. So that had to be sent on in due course, which delayed us even more. So we didn't get off to a very good start. But the Agile film now when you look at Murphy's law as a very good film, and yeah, good action movie, and Pedro tour was magnificent. Such a nice man and his wife also was in the film with his wife at that time, but no, it was, it was an adventure. I loved it. Actually, I left Venezuela, on the river, the Orinoco River. You know, I'd wake up in the morning, and there was the same old palm tree outside the window. And we slept on board the ship and we lived on there, we had all our meals there. And after about a week or two weeks, suddenly all the stars started leaving the ship. And they went by helicopter to a hotel in portrait days, which is the nearest big city, big town. And, in the end, anyone who was of any importance have gone ashore, we will have done both the ship. But I loved it. I have my own dugout canoe and a driver and I used to race around the place. I was doing second unit director, chores and editing with Frank Keller. I was sort of the CO editor on it. And we had one move the other so we used to do shifts of editing. And it was quite fun. And anyway, Michael Klinger carried on and made a very successful film. The one he offered me and I wasn't to join Michael again until we did a film called gold in South Africa much against the union's wishes because apartheid was in full stream then and that was a project with Roger Moore. Yeah. And I worked with Roger doing second unit and my heavy did a lot of second unit work. I worked down the mine and did a lot of the work down the mind. And Roger was very brave because he suffers from claustrophobia. He suffered from claustrophobia. And we were shooting 6000 feet below ground, going down in these lifts and various that there was a thing that was shaped like a coffin were about 10 people get in and it was an inclined shaft, and it was shoot down on a cable blade speed. And we'd pass each level in the mind and whichever is pretty scary stuff. So we shot that it was a very successful film goal. And then later, we were to do another film together called Shout at the devil with Lee Marvin. And that one I didn't edit I did the second unit, but did a lot of extensive editing on that. And second unit. We had a stuntman called Rio Rena Riata his name was a South African stuntman and he was nominated to go inside a crocodile skin to perform like a crocodile come out of the water. So we took some time so in him into the skin skin and for men carried him into the water and they wish put him in the water. We could hear these muffled screens inside the crocodile skin. And it was reality it was having a severe attack of claustrophobia. So we had to cut him out and one of the one of the special effects guys did it in the end going inside the skin and did it perfectly. Okay modelling out to attack Roger.

Unknown Speaker  34:57  
Roger on the bond.

Speaker 2  34:58  
Yeah, then I did a whole series of films with Roger. And, you know, we've been kind of rivals on like on danger man with Patrick McGoohan and, and Roger was doing the same to our stream that we it was kind of like a rivalry going on until June and suddenly I'm working with Roger. And what a wonderful experience it was. In fact, after several films, Roger said to me, am I in your contract? Or are you in mine?

Unknown Speaker  35:27  
So what was the first Bond film you actually directed?

Speaker 2  35:30  
Or the one the first one I mean, I did. The second unit director and editor on the Terry Lewis films, spider love me, which was a very important film for Roger. It was fantastic. It was absolutely at its peak. And I of course, did the ski, parachute, jump and Chase, which was the very first film we shot on spy love me. And this was the film that cubby broccoli was doing on his own now, because Harry Saltzman had sold his share to MGM UA, as it turned out to be and so you know, we carried on, we made one of the best bonds, smile on me, and the wonderful, wonderful shots of the submarine panel because we had to build a whole new Stage at Pinewood to accommodate it. The Apollo seven stage as it's called now, and add three submarine pens inside and three submarines actually inside the stage, all moving and very clever bit of production design. Ken Adams was the designer and Peter, ably assisted by Peter Lamont, you know, because all the submarines had to have under underwater traction. And they weren't engines they were coming in on on cables on the bottom. And I remember talking to Lewis about it. And he said, he said, when the when the three submarines leave the ship, the bowels of the ship open in a model shop a Derek Maddinson had made. And Lewis was a bit worried about the doors. These big studio the double oh seven. When he opened the doors, what would happen? I said, Well, I think it'll work loose. I said it, it'll just flip the light will just flop in from outside and it'll just, you'll be able to use it. So that's what we did. We had the three submarines from inside the double Oh, seven stage heading towards the door. And suddenly, the doors open. And it will absolutely worked beautifully in the film. In fact, one of the shots that we used the submarine track inside the double oh seven stage when when they fire the thing that the doors the torpedo at the doors was a shot that we shot on birth this wall that I remembered. I remember shooting it and I managed to find it find the shot and we actually used it and cut it into spy love me. We were talking about continuity later. It was everything. Everything's got a continuity in films.

Speaker 1  38:27  
That's a wonderful stage that was set in stone. Yeah, because it's a tank as well.

Speaker 2  38:32  
It's it's been burned down twice. I think it's been rebuilt. In fact, it was rebuilt on the first time on one of my films View to a Kill. We came back from San Francisco and we were supposed to have the the interior The mine was all going to be built inside that stage. But unfortunately, he got but he got in but Ridley Scott was doing a film there. And during the lunch hour, the set called light and actually project you wouldn't believe it just went up. We were coming back from town in the car and we could see it from miles away the flames. And it completely destroyed this steel structure. He wouldn't believe it just goes like toffee and it will crumble down. So we Peter the months, got the original builders in and asked him if how long it would take to rebuild the stage. So we had a hiatus for about three weeks, which was a blessing for me because I was able to I was able to assemble all my other stuff in the editing room and be very well prepared when the stage was built, rebuilt and we actually prefabricated lovely interior set and put it in at the last minute. So we minimise I think the whole operation was done in something like six weeks, which was quite amazing. We had a three week hiatus. And so that was an insurance claim.

Unknown Speaker  40:07  
So where do we go from there?

Speaker 2  40:08  
Well, Spyro loved me was great success. We then did Moonraker we're, again, we use the double O seven stage to great effect. And Derek meddings was our visual effects man. And he was very clever, man no longer with us, unfortunately. But he did some wonderful work on that for us. And then we had the laser laser fight inside. And I did some second unit work on that. And we were in the editing room one day, and Pete Davis was one of the editors on the film. And he'd been to art school. And so I said to Pete, you either draw some lasers on the film during the fight. So he got the work with a scriber, and he scribed scratches on the emulsion. This is just purely for the cutting copy it wouldn't be for the final film that he actually put the lasers in and married up with the explosions at the other end, and the coloured it with a magic marker blue, blue lasers. And it was so good. It was because it was so imperfect, it worked even better than the finished article. I never felt the finished article looked as good as Pete's destroys the cutting room in the Kenyan coffee. So yeah, that was a big success, Aspire love me. And of course, the opening sequence, which I shot. A Lewis was always very, very good. He always gave me full credit for it. Allah did say to him, Can I have a credit on this film, say? Tight pre title sequence shot by Directed by John Glenn? And he said absolutely not. Which is fair enough. I appreciated that. I mean, he has the responsibility. He gave me the opportunity and the support. So you know, I think that was fair enough. And funnily enough, I had the same experience with Arthur Wooster, who did an awful lot of my second unit on my films, and Tom Perez came up here one day, he said, What about giving author a credit for shooting the truck sequence on Licence to Kill? And I said, Absolutely not. But, you know, it's, the director has to, you know, he has to design the whole thing and, and see it through and, you know, look at the brushes coming from all over the world and different units and, you know, the way bonds work, you know, you have to be able to delegate to make a good bond. You can't, can't do it all yourself. It's impossible. And you have a wonderful team. They are the best people. So that we were after Moonraker, which I don't think Moonraker was quite as successful I think probably went just a bit over the edge a bit wet in terms of humour and what have you, I don't know but there was some wonderful stuff in it the stuff where the cable car in Rio, what have you with the guys fighting on the top of the cable car without any restraints or any I mean, health and safety would not be pleased

Unknown Speaker  43:35  
with that kind of accidents.

Speaker 2  43:38  
No fatal accidents now. There are a few few bruises. Local stump in the eye never they do these terrific falls on that and they spring up and say they're fine. You know, really, if you could look underneath their trousers, they're in pretty bad shape. But yes, it's interesting way things evolve. And after after spot after the break, there was an interval as always a couple of years between films and whatever. And then one day I got a phone call. When I come down and have lunch with cubby broccoli, he was coming back from the States after a period of time. And of course his table at the time was always the roundtable was always reserved for him. And when I went there, there was Peter Lamont, the chair Derek meddings And there was coffee and his wife Dana and my two other key technicians myself. And we had a very nice lunch and he was chatting What do y'all been doing since the last film and then Derek made it and said, and who's gonna direct the next Bond? And there was a kind of a bit of a silence some copy was stolen the base and I might be Lewis or it might be good I, Hamilton and so forth. And then looat. Derek said, Well, what about me? Don't matter. half joking, but half meaning I think, and it was a bit of an embarrassed bit of laughter went around the table. Anyway, a couple of weeks went by and get another phone call, we'll come down and have lunch with Cubby. And this time I went down and there was just Cubby, myself, Michael Wilson and Dana, at the table. And I got a feeling something was brewing. You know, you do get that instinct. And he said, after a very pleasant lunch, he, he said, Come with come back to the office. So I went and wash my hands and came back to the office, and they're all sitting there in his office. And he looked at me and he said, How would you like to direct the next Bond? Well, my knees almost gave away I just complete, utter surprise. And not only was I surprised, I think the whole industry was surprised. She said, if you want time to think about it, I said, I don't need any time to think. So that was how it happened for me. He said, I've got a cleric with MGM in MGM UA in Hollywood, he said, But and sure enough, it was slightly me on my, on my directing career. On the on the What a way to start, I start at the top, there's only one way to go.

Unknown Speaker  46:33  
And how would you did you do five

Speaker 2  46:35  
out of five. I mean, I'll send you a copy of the wonderful producer. He was loved by his crew. He was incredible man, and very generous in spirit, everyone you can think of. But we were in Corfu, and the whole of United Artists hierarchy, argue under their umbrellas on the beach, when I was doing the dune buggy scene. And these dune buggies were hopelessly couldn't cope with the salt water. And they were cranking that out all the time. And that was him to pan the camera to simulate the movement of the thing that you know, it was a real nightmare. And you could see all the heads of UA sort of muttering to each other here. He was getting behind schedule, if he's going to be like this, was he going to be like in six months time, you know, without fall behind? Are we going to be how much money it's gonna cost? You can see this going on and Cubby came up to me and he said, You got to sort this out, John, get a mover. So we're about three days behind schedule in the first week. And Friday came and then on him turned to me and he said, Well, we haven't got the sack yet. We've been there. And the following week, I caught up and I managed to manage to get away there was a scene that was fairly easy for me to do. And we got we caught up within two weeks. And cubby did me a wonderful compliment. He came up to me and he said Jon Snow, I'm going off to Hollywood. If you if you need me, you know where I am. And he left me. He just left me to get on with it, which is a wonderful, wonderful way to give confidence to you, isn't it? And of course you'd never let copy down. He was such a nice man. Such a good man. So that theorise only was a very pleasant film. And the rest is history. Really I went on each time I was only a hired ever hired for one film at the time. But each time I'd be in the cutting room. Cubby would come in and he'd say, like you did in the next film job. And that happened for five movies. I couldn't believe it.

Unknown Speaker  48:48  
Which Octopussy was

Speaker 2  48:52  
Octopussy is one of my favourite actually I think Octopussy and probably Licence to Kill I probably my best films. Octopussy I had no confidence in it and I wrote most of the action scenes and a lot of it was from my memories of the kid going to set the morning pitches you know, like birkoff Chasing bonds and bonds car gets the tire shot out and he finishes up on the railway line. Sounds a little bit Keystone Cops, doesn't it? And I think copies sort of they all Roger they all thought I was been going overboard a little bit with a humour but it was worth it. It worked very well. And John Richardson was now doing this the special effects and it was a brilliant engineer John and when the when the when the locomotive hits the Mercedes car. He thought Beside is from an air cannon across the bowels of the Local Motors thunder pass, but he gave the appearance of me and hit been hit by the train the locomotive and we had stomping in a boat supposed to be fishermen and that the car comes hurtling through the air and is split was supposed to be a near miss, but it might hit the boat that these pups three stuntman jumped for their lives as soon as he fired this Mercedes out of the Santa cannon, landed in, in, in the water. The Nene Valley Railway we used as, as the Russian East Germany at that time had steam engines still. And because the nene Valley Railway was perfect for us, and we had wonderful cooperation. We go back every now and again for reunions, you know, the staff there's one or two of them still surviving. And they always make a big fuss laying down. It's always a nice day out.

Unknown Speaker  51:11  
Did you have much say in the scripting? Oh, yeah.

Speaker 2  51:13  
It was usually see all most of the inflaming stories. The books had been filmed, the time I came along and for your eyes only was a combination of you know, some of these short stories as well as Octopussy you know, property of a lady and Octopussy and mod Adams was, I think she appeared twice as leading lady in the Bond films. And she was lovely mod. Yeah, so we'd start with a blank page. And I mean, Octopussy. For instance, George MacDonald, Fraser was hired as the writer, mainly because of the Indian connection. You know, he'd written this, this, this series of books on India. And, you know, sort of, we thought, Well, it'd be a perfect fit, because the Indians connection came about because India had a moratorium on Hollywood receipts, and the Hollywood films that were shown in India, they couldn't remit the money back to America, or, or to England, or wherever it was frozen the school of frozen rupees. So I think Michael Wilson, our producer had this wonderful idea. He said, If we can buy up some of these frozen rupees, at half price, cut out budget a lot, we were under a lot of pressure to get these films down to about $30 million, you know. And so, he did, he went around all the major studios, and he said, offered them half price for their frozen rupees. And it enabled us to film in India for you know, for quite a saving a discount. So that was one of the reasons we went to India. And it was a wonderful location UHD i Poor and food, I probably wasn't the tourist destination that it's become now mainly because of the film, I think. But it had the Lake Palace Hotel where the crew used to live. And there was a palace in the, in the lake, which was in the state of disrepair, so we repaired it quite a bit. And then the Palace Hotel was in the process of being converted into a hotel from a palace. So we put the swimming pool in and stuff like that we help with lot with that. And then there was a Winter Palace up on the hill, like about a couple of 1000 feet above the village, but it was all very set very contained as the location. So it was absolutely the most economical location you can ever have. You're almost within walking distance of every, every every location. And the same people. Remi Julianne, whose team did The Italian Job. When I first met them. I use them on all my films, mainly because of that connection. And we took them out to India and they did all the chase, Chase and the taxes and stuff that's in there. Remy Julianne wonderful, wonderful man.

Speaker 1  54:35  
Pinewood was in those days, the the only studio that or whether other studios that you went

Speaker 2  54:43  
well. Pinewood was our sort of traditional base. And it became, Pinewood became very popular with American films and what happened and sometimes we would have a job to get the facilities as you know, to get those things In the stages that we needed, they did expand the studio quite a bit. Or we did our bit with the doubler seven stage of course, that's been in great demand. I believe it's still part of the proceeds still go against the negative of a spider love me, the rentals. Stranger is an asset. And it's always been used particularly with commercials. I love it. Other studios have huge space. And yes, progression I suppose. But

Unknown Speaker  55:41  
so what was the last round?

Speaker 2  55:44  
I did Licence to Kill now you're talking about the availability of Pinewood we're also the cost came into it. We were under MGM, we're in a bit of trouble financially, they've always been taken over and what have you and we will used to get these menus to come in from Hollywood and query what we were spending on extravagant sets, you know, do you need to have an extravagant set? Well, you certainly need it for a Bond movie, don't you? Otherwise you what do you do? I mean, that's what it's about a Bond films isn't that extravagant some. And they will come over and try and cut their budgets down. So that was the reason that we went to Mexico Churubusco studios in Mexico City had been built, I think, pre war and it was dilapidated, it was not been maintained. Few American films went in there, but not many, but it had been designed by an American, I think and you know, it was like proper studio, but it was in disrepair. In fact, the first explosion of the oil tankers that I did on a stage in Churubusco all the ceiling panels came down like autumn leaves as we were filming so people aren't did a fantastic job of repairing the studio as well as preparing all the sets. You know, we had to in that sequence, the main action sequence, which I wrote was the, towards the end of the film, which is whether, you know, these all these oil tankers are carrying liquid cocaine, basically, it was dissolved in petrol. Some big scam to move, move this cocaine around, and we had to get 1010 Tankers we had to buy, and they're quite big ticket items. So we scoured the country, and we actually found 10 tankers in pretty some of them are in pretty bad condition, what have you, but we, we, I think we spent a million dollars on these tankers. And we were very fortunate because there was a factory in Mexicali, American factory that actually serviced these, these tractors and made them trying to think of the name of the company. Anyway, they had a big factory there, and we approached them and they were very keen to cooperate it was that their vehicles anyway. So all these tankers were sent there for various modifications because Remi Julianne, he was doing the stunts, he needed, special equipment put on them, we needed weights on some of the prime movers and that sort of good two wheelers and all sorts. And so we spent that much money and it was a very, very dangerous scene to shoot. And after wisdom, did most of the action work on it? I drove through the sequence up and a Barbara broccoli produced. That was the first job was produced that she produced the actual sequence, which was a big number to do. And I took my actors down there for a week did the shots with Tim and what have you, and he was very good. He's physically very good with the action stuff. And we did that sort of stuff. And then we use the same guy that I used in, Octopussy. cokie Thorne off to do the aerial stuff that's involved in that sequence. And we had a builder we went to a place called Rubirosa up in the mountains, and we had to actually construct an airfield up there for him to fly his plane from. So it was logistically it was a very difficult film and And then you had the federal is coming around all the time, you know, the Mexican special police and so, it was a Rubirosa we we found a road that had been disused. It was disused, because it was so dangerous. They had so many fatal accidents up there. And they'd actually done a bypass, they'd build another road that bypass this section that was about a five mile section of windy road. And that became our playground. That's where we shot most of the tank gets sequence and very, very dangerous stuff. The Remi, Julian said to Remy, one of the action scenes was one of the tankers has to do a wheelie. So that when they fire the rocket, the reason he does the wheelie is so that the rocket passes underneath harmlessly and goes on. So I said to me, how are we gonna do this for me? He said, I got a guy in France. He said in Paris, he said, he said he does wheelies with with 1010 Wheel vehicles. And I said, really? He said, Yeah, he said, he's crazy guy. But so it they rehearsed this on the record, they rehearsed it on the aerodrome in Paris is with this guy. And then on the appointed time, we got close to it. And I said, Where's your man? And he said, I don't know He should be here. On the day, John Richardson that made up some stabilisers on the tanker, so that if he didn't turn up, do his wheelie, I would have to fake it, you know, we're doing the stages and fake it. And I hated the thought of doing it. And on the morning, that we would just shoot a suddenly out of the blue, he turned up. And the story was that you met a girl on the plane, and then gone off with her for two or three days, I had a wonderful time and suddenly realised he should be on the set. And he arrived, and he did it in one take. Take one absolutely perfect. So that was that was a bonus. But Crazy guy. And what

Speaker 1  1:02:25  
was the average shedule of a bond? Six months?

Unknown Speaker  1:02:29  
She ran about

Speaker 1  1:02:31  
26 weeks. And then additional post production?

Speaker 2  1:02:35  
Where are you going to get your very short post production period because, you know, being such a long shedule, six months shedule you're at us as you go along, basically. And within three weeks of endo shooting, you've got a usually got, you've got an assembly Nice. Yeah, and you know, new work then from from the, they've already predetermined when they want to release the film. So you work back. And I remember going to the pinewood with my first boss on the Manchester Secret Service, actually. And we had a tight shedule, the Americans came over and made the usual demands, they wanted it for Memorial Day, or whatever it is. And it looks impossible, because the film had gone over shedule. And it was a it was a big post production thing really to do. And so what we do was we Pinewood is unique in that it's got to two diamond theatres, and they share one projection booth. Okay, so you can shuffle your films across from one studio to the other. So one, one studio, they mix usually deal with the footstep sound, the sound effects, etc. And then Mac would be in the other theatre, doing all the dialogue and add in the music and so forth. And then the prefixes are all come together and be finalised in Mac's data. So but they'd never use the TOS as a, as a unit before they were always doing separate films, that theatre one theatre two. And I think I was the first one to actually combine the two so that we could keep our shedule and I remember Matt was a bit of a fiery character. And I went in there with my shedule because I was editing that site and went in with a shedule of what we had to do. And Matt went into a rage bid the shedule up in just tiny pieces and threw it in the air. And I just walked out the theatre and got plenty more copies of the shedule I wasn't worried about that. I just walked out of the theatre and after about an hour he calmed down and he came in apologised to me and I said but it's a fact of life Mac. I said we have Do we have to keep the state? I said if if you can't do it, we'll have to take off the film to Twickenham. Get Jerry Humphries to do it, oh, that that set him off again. But it's a fact of life, you have to move with the times. And they've been so used to Pinewood Derby, you know, they've been so used to the Rank Organisation have been, you know, they were the big, big fish. Now, they weren't such big fish anymore. And when

Speaker 1  1:05:33  
the Americans come in, they got the money and that's it. But

Speaker 2  1:05:37  
you have to you have to make the sheduled where we were quite business life. And, of course, you know, certain elements, I mean, I worked with in Paris with Lewis did several films in Paris. And we there Postproduction is nothing like ours, it's more of a cottage industry, you know, but they have some very talented people. And there was a group there are some people there that used to do footstep sound effects, you know, replacing all the sounds on the set, which you have to do for the farm versions anyway. And it was like a two man team, basically, it was a father, the son in law. Jambi, the long I think his name was and they worked as a team, and they would just rock and roll all the way through and that was, whereas in England, we were looping the film's, and employing like five or six different editors, Sound Editors to to break the film down into small parts, and then, you know, join all back and adjust in the sink and what have you. And it used to take forever. Well, I had to gain three or four weeks out of the post production. So I use I sent the film overdose young PL along and his and his dead. And they did a fantastic job. They like it in time when initially but it didn't save us a lot of time. The music was the music. It was CTS. Yeah, we used to use CTS in town where the Beatles Abbey Road. Yeah. We, John Barry. John Barry did some of the films but he he'd fallen out with the tax people and he was kind of persona non grata artists in England, otherwise, he'd have to pay a huge amount of money. But so we had a variety of composers came in, but they all did. I mean, John's area, John and Monty Norman, of course, Monty Norman's thing is always used when you start the James Bond theme, and the John Berry theme, and we used to use them and when John Barry would come into the country room with a China graph, and we'd have to run the music and it makes us mine. That's more so you can measure it afterwards and you get paid so much royalties for that. John didn't like the tie in out. Didn't loot like lose any money to Montes and put it that way. Mont is still around is good.

Unknown Speaker  1:08:28  
And after bond

Speaker 2  1:08:32  
really after bond. I mean, I'm in the bonds, they took about 20 years of my life. I think when eventually cut he called me and said he wouldn't be using me on the next one. I said I think that's a good idea company. And he said, Well, I'm not too sure about that. And I said I said look it's been three or four year interval. Since we did the last one I said none of us can any younger I said you need to get bring the changes, get some new ideas on that. And they did they think they did well. They went they did Casino Royale and they gave the whole thing a new lease of life. There'll always be changes. You know, there's Daniel

Unknown Speaker  1:09:14  
to stay on.

Speaker 2  1:09:18  
When I got the first gig is on furies only my first instruction was find a new James Bond. Rogers getting too old. That was the pitch and I toured the world. They're testing everybody and people came into time when we tested all kinds of actors for it for the role. But it turned out to be a bit of a poker game between kabhi and Roger I think and to try and keep his money down a bit. And it turned out in the end I did three films three more films with Roger, but he was cracking on the on the last one of you to Achilles beginning to look a bit Jolie and you know that doesn't go on forever. And nothing lasts forever as I keep telling my wife it's No, I think Roger was fantastic. You know, he, what was wonderful about Roger was he was a perfect English gentleman. He was such fun. He was such fun on the set. And every everybody who worked on a Bond film, they couldn't wait to get to work in the morning. It was like, it was entertainment. You worked hard, but you laughed a lot. And with Roger, he was always cracking jokes. And he was very professional, too. He was he was a very good actor. He never gave himself credit for being a good actor. I used to have to reassure him all the time. But I used to say you can do it Roger, you're a good actor. You can do it. That night he was on reset. Certainly missed. Certainly missed as a person.

Unknown Speaker  1:11:01  
Well, personality. Yeah, I met him a couple of times.

Speaker 2  1:11:04  
Yeah. But it's very thoughtful man. And he used to say to me, don't forget the little people, John, you know, in other words, you treat you treat everybody on the set, you know, with respect to our smaller job as they do or anything else, respect them for what they do. That's true.

Speaker 1  1:11:27  
So there was what was the next film that was to Columbus?

Speaker 2  1:11:31  
Columbus? Yeah, that came out of the blue. Well, I think the next I think I did a film called Asus iron Eagle first. I think that's right. There's an Asus con trying to remember which comes first but anyway, I did ISIS iron eagle in shot that in America, producer Ron Samuels who had his wife was a bodybuilder, racial MacLeish. And he was trying to promote her as a, you know, strong woman in films. So, you know, a kind of almost like a female bond, I suppose. You could say that. She was very personal. In fact, we'd met her before Barbara broccoli. And I travelled out to Las Vegas to see her in. Do you think they'll cast her in a Bond movie and we saw her in Las Vegas at a bodybuilding place? Where Sean Connery we used to go bodybuilding as well. And but it wasn't the hand on that film. But then Ron Sandra was married her and he tried to promote her. And, you know, we tried to make it work. I don't think it worked. 100% But it's a solar film that still people rent out on a Sunday when it's raining. You know? Iron Eagle three. The first one was very good. Actually. The second one wasn't very good. But the third one I did was okay. I got a lot of micro Elliott Mills was my photographer. I was allowed to bring him over. And John Richardson was a special effects man. He did a wonderful job for me. He's terrific. Terrific, a big bang, shall we say? There's some spectacular explosions on that film. Lou Gossett of course, is a wonderful actor. A brilliant, brilliant actor and such a nice man. Had a good cast. Think Rachel quiet, did it. But that probably was partly my fault. But it's difficult, really. And I think the trouble was that the studio was going through financial problems. And it involved us in the America using the American Air Force. And I was told by Ron when I started that they had full cooperation from the US Air Force so we could use their planes because that was going to be a major item in the budget with these guests, Galson aeroplanes, you can imagine it in the event, of course, when they read the script, and they said, smuggling drugs. They declined to cooperate. So we had to get the Confederate Air Force involved in the course that was those jet skis, very expensive to run. So we had some, some problems, financial problems, that I didn't know what it costs in the end, about $12 million or something, but it was a lot more than they anticipated. And got Alko we're going broke at the time. And I remember when we started the film I was in I was preparing I was in this office for almost a year, being paid it. And I said to Amanda, I said, Well, I'm going to shoot this film. And the cheap man there. He said, he said, If I could, he said, If I wasn't pregnant with you and Lou Gossett because we're on pale, like deals that I wasn't pregnant with. Lou Gossett, he said, I've cancelled the film. My bet they wish they had afterwards because I made the money out of it. It probably had by now that at least it got passed on. Who's owns it now? I'm sure. But

Unknown Speaker  1:15:36  
he never took up producing. No,

Speaker 2  1:15:38  
no, I don't, too. I mean, I think producers are very important. sectors. And you know, I was definitely a man behind the camera. Yeah, I was definitely the man behind the camera. I'm not too good at figuring out the money side of it. And I'm very good. I'm very disciplined as a director. I mean, not all my films came in on shedule. The only one that didn't was that TV thing at the start of my career, and that taught me a very good lesson. You You've got to be in control of it yourself. You can't have people thrust onto you. You have to choose the people that work the creative people that work with you. They have to they have to be employed by you, not by the producer.

Speaker 1  1:16:27  
Today, we have 16 producers.

Speaker 2  1:16:31  
Yeah, it's not the same today. It's moved on the business and not always for the best. I mean, when you see these budgets today, you know, 250 million $300 million, all I mean, I suppose times have changed, the markets have got bigger, got all these, all these new markets everywhere. When we went to China, we were going to do a film in China. And Kobe and I, and Michael and Barbara, we went out there, we've gone to the Tokyo Film Festival. And then we decided while we were in that part of the woods, we'd go to Hong Kong and then on to China. And the government, they were very keen for us to make a Bond film in China, as you can imagine. And everything went quite swimmingly, nice studio facilities and Beijing and everything else. And they're very cooperative. We're gonna give us everything we wanted, until they read the script. And they didn't like the the script didn't show them in particularly good light. And they wanted to have be able to change the script to suit them. And of course, that wasn't, can't be he wasn't agreeable to that at all, so we didn't go to China. But everywhere we went, there were bond posters everywhere. Every kiosk, the sign DVDs, Bond DVDs, and we weren't getting a penny. There was not a penny being sent back to the producers. It was all counterfeit. So I hope things have changed.

Speaker 1  1:18:13  
Television has having so television series, and not the one offs anymore. Yeah.

Speaker 2  1:18:23  
The film that was quite interesting was Christopher Columbus. And Christopher Columbus was wrecked to be a hero. You know, until we made our film, and then suddenly you guys want adverse publicity in America that he introduced slavery and all this thing and suddenly the whole thing went pear shaped. And he became a bad word.

Speaker 1  1:18:45  
So we run Columbus. Yeah, Christopher

Speaker 2  1:18:49  
Columbus. It started off, you know, a 500 year anniversary. And three films are being made. Ridley Scott was doing one. Allen Humes photograph in one called carry on Columbus, I think it was. And then we were doing one, I got this phone call. They are in a bit of a jam. And they'd lost their director. They'd lost their actor. Timothy Dolan was playing the lead in it and would have done a fantastic job, I'm sure. But whether it was anything to do with my fact that I was chosen as director or not, I don't know. But he obviously didn't want to do do the film for various reasons. It's been having some very bad publicity. Salkind had spent $5 million promoting a canvas film and really lavish promotion which they did. I mean, they were quite amazing people. And the soakings I liked them. I like them very much. But you It was always while we were filming, it would always be chaps with dark glasses would arrive with suitcases full of dollars coming from the Middle East somewhere. I don't know how you raised the money. But it was. Then of course the last minute he he hired Val and Brando to give the give the film a bit of star appeal. And I was, I was a bit nervous, actually, the thought of working with Brando had heard so many horror stories, various people. But in fact, he was the most charming, considerate man you could ever meet. He said to me, John, he said, I'm only doing this film to pay the lawyers fees. Because his children were up on murder charges in in Hollywood. And he was having to bail him out as best he could. And that's why he did the film. And he was getting $20 million for 10 days work or something ridiculous. But he was he had a funny way. I have one of the first dialogue scenes I did with him. I asked him if he could speed up the delivery, but he was very slow, you know, with the delivery. And I said, Pick it up, pick the pace up a bit. And he saw Yeah, okay, John, we did another take just the same. And I discovered that he got an earpiece in his ear, and he had someone in the next room and assistant, he was actually really in those lines from the script, through the earpiece, and he was repeating the parrot fashion. So I felt a bit of a fool that I didn't realise that. That that was the way it worked in the end is very nice man. And he, I developed a bit of a nervous cough working with him. And he said, Johnny, so it's working in Madrid, he said, the air is very dry here. So I had the same problem. When I got back to my hotel room that night, there was a humidifier, freshly arrived. So I plugged it in and immediately blew up. So I sent him a note thanking him for your MIDI five, I never got a chance to use it. But very nice man did. And I was very pleased. I'd heard the stories and I was kind of thought I'd heard he didn't turn up sometimes, you know, he would not turn up on the appointed day at the on the set and you've got a cast of 1000s You know, probably a bit expensive. And so I put I put a contingency plan in place. So I got made him. I got him in the system. And my theory was that if he didn't turn up, I'll give the assistant his lines. It worked like magic. After one day, he'd heard that someone else was saying these lines. He was there next morning. And Michael Gotthard was the actor who was a friend of mine and very good actor. And I've worked with previously and he I got him as talking about as a system. And he was always there behind him in the background. I thought it was like a threat if you exempt her and I'm gonna give you a list of Michael Gotthard. Most of the actors. There were times when they weren't being paid, where some of the crew weren't being paid, so forth. And I got a call one morning at seven o'clock, just about to leave for the location. And it was Robert Davi the, you know, the lead, heavy actor, shall we say? And he said, John, I've been on the phone with my agent all night. He said in Hollywood, he said, and he said to me, you mustn't go on the set and film he said, because we haven't been paid for three weeks. You see, so I said, Robert, you're absolutely right. You go back to bed. We'll carry on best we can. But he's absolutely right. You've got to make a stand. So I went went to work. And I have to say side a cast of 1000s. So I said that right. Roberts first line, you take his first line, you take his second line, you take his third line, when all around the cast. So we started filming. About 20 minutes later, Robert turns out words got back to him but his lines were being reminded about the money. He's a good friend of mine. Robert Issa is good, very good actor. We often have a laugh about

Unknown Speaker  1:24:49  
Cuba stared at.

Speaker 2  1:24:51  
I missed the directing, ever since right? I'm not sure. I mean, I think things had since moved on there. I mean, it's up the it's not like it used to be we've with a nitrate film and then the safety film, and now it's all a card, isn't it? And, you know, it's probably a lot easier. I mean, you had to be pretty physical with editing, when in my day as an editor, you had to be able to handle film. I mean, I used to be up to my neck in it sometimes. But now it's much easier to to handle in the set. So you press buttons. selectronic. So it's a great step forward. Downside, of course, is that everyone can be an editor, you know, you can, the producer can take a copy of the rushes home on a card, and his boy can edit the sequence and you say, well, that's quite good, you know. So it's not, it's not too good for the editors anymore.

Speaker 1  1:25:51  
And I know if you're dubbing mixes can't do it anymore. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  1:25:58  
It's moved on. Give me

Speaker 1  1:25:59  
young editors coming in? Yeah, they're out the contract.

Speaker 2  1:26:02  
Yeah. But the thing is that, you know, techniques have changed. And I think that the lesson is that you, you have to keep moving up, you can't stay. Like we know, you'd be an editor for 30 years, and retire as an editor, but not anymore. It's changed. It'll change again, it'll be something else. So I think that the answer is to become a director, quite honestly, because, but at least that way you can't be outmoded, can be easy to keep up with the times. And you know, there comes a time when you're at your peak. And then there comes a time when you're on the way down.

Speaker 1  1:26:39  
Just make sure you got the rest of the best people around you. Safe producing

Speaker 2  1:26:43  
art really making action films like The Bond films, basic action films. As you delegate, I mean, you have the the facility you have, you have the money to employ the best people, and everyone seems to want to, to work on a bomb film. There's they also Oh, yeah, you aspire to it, because it's top quality of filmmaking. But it's not a lot different to film and TV, quite frankly, I mean, you, you have to get your quota shots in every day. It's tough sometimes. I mean, when I first started, I remember when I was numbering, there might be five takes a spread over two days, sometimes, you know, like a big ballroom scene, they will realise the whole day and then shoot that five takes with a transatlantic crane swimming about all over the place is very elaborate shots. Gradually, the amount of takes per day used went up as the time progressed, and then, you know, it'd be very unusual to get more than eight or nine setups a day in the old days. And then suddenly, it's like going up to 2020 shots, 25 shots a day, probably more now. Because, you know, sometimes a camera member take two hours to light the set. And you'd have to bargain with him you know, bargain with a camera man, you know, when it can't count? Is there any way you can shortcut this? You know, it's it's a different world now. It's in a way that the all the technology has changed hugely. And you know, the lamps have changed, you know, I mean, it was a chat but one of the electricians at Pinewood you know, when they had all the big 10k lamps, you know, lots of doing a big technical production of huge amount of light needed. And the gantry above the stage where the lava lamps were positioned, the electricians would be out there and there was one electrician, in particular ease to overcome by the heat and fall asleep. And in the middle of a very quiet take. Suddenly, you'd hear him snoring, you know, and everyone would just burst out laughing. If he was well known for it fall asleep and start snoring. But anything I would tolerate that

Speaker 1  1:29:14  
so you're just retired and take it easy? Yeah, I

Speaker 2  1:29:19  
think I don't think you retire. I think you get retired in a way. You know, the telephone doesn't ring quite as often the jobs are less frequent. And the quality of the jobs is less frequent. So you know, you get a lot of inquiries, but it's very difficult to sort out the real ones from you know, you it's, it's about the actor's day really, the big time actors have all kinds of you know, they have leading lady options. You know, they approve the lighting cameraman they have to approve or approve the director quite often. They seem to have the power and And I'm not sure it's necessarily a good thing. The

Speaker 1  1:30:03  
agents as well. Well, agents have so much say,

Speaker 2  1:30:08  
Well, they do because they work for the actors. But I mean, I don't know, it's, it's the way it's developed, it'll change again, I'm sure. Some people say it's like the lunatics run over the asylum statement. Maybe I shouldn't say that.

Speaker 1  1:30:28  
It would nice to start all over again, go back to the 60s or the 50s. And 60s. I'm

Speaker 2  1:30:33  
not sure about that. About going back, I think that I personally, feel that I had the best. And I guess every generation feels that way. But you know, when I think of the times, I had the, the people, wonderful people I met, I've got no regrets at all. Towards the end of my career, I had a few unpleasant truths. But all the time with the bonds, it was pure magic. And, you know, it was work, but it wasn't work. If you follow me, it was just wonderful work. I don't think everyone has a experience with films. But it was simple. It was it was some of the tricks we used to get up to, you know, everything had to be done. You know, you don't do it like today, they do a shot, who knows about 120 different special effects are put in afterwards. So the director doesn't really see the final result of the shot until a couple of weeks before the premiere, basically, I mean, love of the shots. Whereas we always used to see our stuff the next morning, you know, in rushes. And quite often we do stuff blind, you know, we superimpose stuff without processing the film. underwater stuff we used to do. Put a tank have a tank on the on the set out a little piece of paper we'd make make a mark where the person's mouth was. And we put the bubbles in, you know, and have a wind machine blowing their hair up, you know, to make it look as though they were underwater. And fantastic. It worked. smoke and mirrors. Yeah, that's what's missing. I think today.

Speaker 1  1:32:26  
Have you KEF X number of editors who knew what they were from sound music, dialogue editors?

Speaker 2  1:32:35  
Oh, yeah, those talented people out there doing it a different way. There's not don't do it the way we did. I mean, some of the stuff we used to do was wasn't very efficient, quite honestly, I used to try and improve that I used to try and try and bring in new ways to short cut the, the process but you know, at the end of the day, you know, it's just pleasurable. It's if you're doing something worthwhile working with people who are all keen to do fantastic work. And that's what drives you really, you're all aiming for perfection in one way or another. Because it doesn't exist but you get close as you can to.

Unknown Speaker  1:33:21  
Oh, I think thank you, John. Okay. Very rewarding. Yeah.

Transcribed by



John Glen, born 15th May 1933 Sunbury-on Thames, started in the film industry at Shepperton studios as a messenger boy in 1945 and was working as numbering boy on productions produced by Alexander Korda’s London Films  The Third Man 1947 and The Wooden Horse 1949 as assistant editor. Being called in the RAF for two years, he then returned to films in 1951 at Nettlefold studios at Walton-on Thames as assistant on Long Dark Hall and then  to Beaconsfield for Group Three working with editor Joseph Sterling . John became assembly editor on The Green Man with Bernard Gribble. In 1960 at Merton Park Studio he joined director Phillip Wrestler on documentary series  Chemistry for Six Forms ; after editing 26 episodes he returned to Shepperton as editor  of Man of the World for producer Harry Fine before heading to MGM Elstree on Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan and Man in a Suitcase editing and second unit director. John  joined editor John Trumper and producer Michael Deeley on The Italian Job looking after the post sync as the US backers did not approve of Michael Caine’s accent. In 1970 John edited Murphy’s War for Deeley and director Peter Yates in Venezuela.  At Twickenham Studios John edited Gold for Michael Klinger with Roger Moore and Susannah York  before The Wild Geese  for producer Euan Lloyd . Then his first 007 Bond movie Moonraker  as editor; The Spy Who Loved Me for director Lewis Gilbert, John was second unit director, editor and in 1979 with Euan Lloyd and Roger Moore starring in Sea Wolves.  With On Her Majesty’s Secret Service he was back with the 007 Bond movies and Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman as producers. In early 1980’s following a lunch meetings Broccoli offered John to direct For Your Eyes Only and in 1882 he directed Octopussy, A View to Kill in 84, and the late 80’s  The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill . After talks with Broccoli John stepped down, and in 1992 directed Aces: Iron Eagle 111 and  went on to direct for Alexander and Iiya Salkind Christopher Columbus: The Discovery with Marlon Brando and Tom Selleck and it was in 2001 his final film directing The Point Man before retiring.