On October 12th 2003 about a hundred of Peter Hunt's friends, colleagues and fans gathered at Pinewood Film Studios for a tribute to his work in the film industry.
A beautiful autumn day at Heatherden Hall greeted us as we gathered to celebrate one of the defining contributors to the action film genre of the last 40 years, Peter Hunt.
To the fans of his work it was a chance to pay our respects to the entertainment he has provided us with and with his legacy, he still continues to provide to us.
However as some of the luminaries of Peter Hunt's world gradually appeared, it was increasingly apparent that we, as fans, will always have the work of Peter Hunt to look back on and which continues to thrill us and new generations of fans. For my part I've always found the two films he made with Roger Moore, Shout At The Devil and Gold to be two of Roger's finest performances. In fact I can't think of any other films which are 30 to 40 years old, to still be shown on primetime TV in the UK and USA and the rest of the world.
However for those who worked with Peter Hunt it was a chance to pay tribute to a colleague and a dearly loved and much missed friend
As we gathered in the Gatsby Suite at the hall, you could sense from the conversations around that this was to be an occasion that would be exactly what it said it would be. A Party For Peter.
For fans of George Lazenby, we've always known that many other fans and filmmakers remain of the opinion that thou shalt have no other Bond than Sean, Roger or Pierce so we have become accustomed to at best a questioning reaction, at worst, a hostile reaction when our Bond allegiance is revealed
So at first, there was some trepidation on my part and being somewhat in awe of many of the great filmmakers around me, it was a bit difficult to enter into conversations with many of those present who had all known and worked with Peter and knew him far more than we ever could have. But as the afternoon progressed, barriers were broken and I was able to have several pleasant conversations with many of those present. From what I was told about Peter Hunt he loved fans talking about his work so for a fan to have the chance to speak to those who he had worked with is something that I think he would have appreciated.
For my own part, having seen his film, OHMSS, this had then prompted me to take my wife on honeymoon to that beautiful part of Switzerland where it had been filmed and later to take the USA half of Lazenbyland to visit the spectacular locations for the film; so his influence on our lives has long been established. Whether seeing Roger Moore in Gold subconsciously prompted me to embark on a career as a Mining Engineer is something I'm not so sure about but it did teach me not to sleep with the bosses wife(even if she is as good looking as Susannah York) or you may get your arms nearly chopped off!!
After some drinks and a few nibbles, the host, Gareth, gathered us into a viewing room where he read out some messages from those who weren't able to make it that afternoon including Susannah York, Sir Sean Connery and George Baker. Bernard Horsfall, one of Peter's favourite actors and appeared in OHMSS, Gold and Shout At The Devil, was unfortunately unable to attend as he had a prior engagement which had been arranged previously which he could not cancel.
Following a filmed message from George Lazenby we were then treated to a short video of Peter Hunt's work both as an editor, a rather crafty one at that as it turned out,("You have to fight with the film!" he was heard to say) and as a director. It was particularly satisfying to see Peter talking about OHMSS when he said "Who's James Bond? It's not Sean Connery, it's not Roger Moore or any of the others. (In OHMSS) its James Bond!" The film finished with some shots of Peter on location to the tune of "All The Time In The World" which caused a few watery eyes amongst those present.
Following this Gareth then introduced Alec Mills, Michael Wilson and Sir Roger Moore to each say a few words about Peter Hunt. This all proved very entertaining as we were treated to stories which included uncooperative parrots, the respective spectacle prescriptions of Roger Moore and Alec Mills and two ton runaway concrete wheels nearly flattening Roger Moore as John Glen and his crew ran away leaving him to his fate.
Gareth closed the presentation pointing out that without Peter Hunt's contribution to the Bond series...leaving the audience to finish the sentence in our thoughts.
As well as those above, others in attendance to pay tribute to Peter were Sir Ken Adam, Syd Cain, Peter Lamont, Norman Wanstall, John Mitchell, Barbara Broccoli, Alan Hume, Michael Reed, Malcolm Christopher, Terry Ackland-Snow, Stephen Greif and John Glen.
It proved to be a an excellent tribute and it was obvious that Peter was much missed by those present but will never be forgotten. I will certainly never forget the days proceedings and it was a privilege to be allowed to attend. And as the Bond films and other action films enter the 21st century, it was clear that they continue to be in debt to the pioneering work undertaken by Peter. And for the fans of Peter Hunt (and George Lazenby), his film OHMSS continues to be the high water mark to which all other action films, let alone Bond films, strive to attain.
Lazenbyland would like to thank the following in the production of this article.
Dave Worrall of The James Bond Collectors Club for providing photos of the day.
Lee Pfeiffer at Spyguise for providing photos of Peter Hunt.
Lazenbyland would also like to extend their appreciation to the following for the organizing the days events and for their kind invitation.
Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions Sir Roger Moore KBE Jeanie Sims Gareth Owen Andrew Boyle Pinewood Studios Nikos Kurtis Hunt
Sir Roger Moore KBE
Nikos Kurtis Hunt
For the last major interview conducted with Peter Hunt, visit SpyGuise
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