Sunday, July 14, 2013

James Bond Intro Gun Barrel Sequence (1962-2008)

Clipped from Wikipedia: Originally designed by Maurice Binder, the sequence has featured in every James Bond film produced by Eon Productions and, although retaining the same basic elements, it has evolved noticeably throughout the series. It is one of the most immediately recognizable elements of the franchise and has featured heavily in marketing material for the films and their spin-offs.

The sequence was created by Maurice Binder 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!"
Evolution of the sequence: The six James Bond actors of Eon Productions films, as they appear in their individual gun barrel sequences, from left to right - Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.

1962 -1964 ( Bob Simmons): For the first three films - Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger - Binder had designed the gun barrel sequence to feature Bond only in silhouette, with a non-widescreen aspect ratio, he used stunt man Bob Simmons, rather than Sean Connery, to film the scene.

1965–1967 (Sean Connery): For Thunderball, the aspect ratio of the films was changed to a Panavision anamorphic format and so the gun barrel sequence had to be reshot, this time with Sean Connery in the role. It is also the first gun barrel sequence in which the white dot segues to the film's pre-credit sequence, opening up to reveal the entirety of the scene. Bond wobbles slightly while firing his gun as he adjusts his balance from an unstable position and he bends over to fire.The opening sequence from Thunderball was also used in You Only Live Twice.

1969 (George Lazenby): With a new actor, George Lazenby, in the role of James Bond for On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), a third sequence had to be filmed. Lazenby is the only Bond who kneels down to fire; this is also the only version where the descending blood completely erases Bond's image, leaving only the red circle. In this version, the gun barrel is awash with prismatic splashes of light.
1971 (Sean Connery): When Sean Connery returned to the role of Bond for Diamonds Are Forever (1971), the gun barrel sequence filmed for Thunderball was used. 

1973–1985 (Roger Moore): With the introduction of Roger Moore a fourth sequence was shot. It was used for just two films: Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun. Moore wears a business suit and uses both hands to fire his gun, his left hand bracing his gun arm. This is the first gun barrel sequence in which Bond is not wearing a hat.  

A fifth version of the sequence was shot for The Spy Who Loved Me. Moore's Bond wears a dinner suit and again uses both hands to fire his gun. This rendering would feature in all Moore's subsequent films in the series, for a total of five appearances, the most uses of the same footage to date. In this version of the sequence, unlike previous and later incarnations, the prop gun held by the actor is never actually fired, as can be determined by the lack of gunsmoke following the shot. 
1987–1989 (Timothy Dalton): In The Living Daylights (1987), Timothy Dalton fires with only one hand, and leans towards the right of the screen, crouching slightly. This sequence was reused in Licence to Kill (1989). These were the last to be presented in non-computer-generated format.
1995–2002 (Pierce Brosnan): Following Maurice Binder's death in 1991, Daniel Kleinman became the designer of the Bond opening graphics. Beginning with GoldenEye (1995), the barrel was computer-generated but still resembles the original images of the barrel itself. Like Dalton, Brosnan shoots one-handed. Unlike the previous Bonds, he remains bolt upright as he fires, with his gun arm extended straight at the camera. For Die Another Day (2002), Michael Wilson, the film's producer, requested that a CG bullet be added into the sequence, which is seen zooming from Bond's gun towards the viewer and disappearing, suggesting that Bond has fired straight into his opponent's weapon.

20062012 (Daniel Craig): The gun barrel sequence was revised again for Daniel Craig's first portrayal of Agent 007 in Casino Royale (2006). Unlike previous installments, the gun barrel sequence does not open the film as a standalone segment: it is part of the plot. This sequence differs considerably from previous versions: it is incorporated into the film's narrative; it begins with Bond standing stationary (although he was walking toward the door before turning) and the first in which Bond is wearing neither a business suit nor a dinner suit.

A redesigned and more traditional-looking gun barrel sequence is reinstated for Quantum of Solace (2008). This version of the sequence was created by design house MK12, which had replaced Daniel Kleinman as main title designer for the film. 

Yet another redesigned gunbarrel was used for the 2012 film Skyfall. Although director Sam Mendes had originally intended to place the gunbarrel at the start of the film, he felt that it would be better placed at the end, as in Quantum of Solace

After the blood runs down the frame, the screen fades to black, before being replaced by a title card with a small gunbarrel logo celebrating fifty years of Bond films, and the text "James Bond Will Return" underneath. Fox Digital Entertainment released an app in 2013 called the Skyfall Gun Barrel app on iOS, so people can walk down the gunbarrel and shoot, just as Bond does in Skyfall.

No comments: