The Biography: John Glen

Today at ‘The Biography’ we present John Glen, who directed five James Bons films and turns 84 today, Happy Many Returns!

John Glen (born 15 May 1932) is an English film director, film editor, and author. He is best known for his directorial and editing work on eight James Bond films from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Glen had his start in the film-making industry as a messenger boy in 1945.

By the late 1940s, he was working in the visual and sound editorial departments of Shepperton Studios for films produced by Alexander Korda,such as The Third Man (1949) and The Wooden Horse (1950). Moving up the ranks, Glen made his picture editorial debut on a documentary series titled Chemistry For Six Forms in 1961, and his directorial debut on the TV series Man in a Suitcase in 1968.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Glen served as a film editor and second unit director, working on such films as Superman (1978) and The Wild Geese (1978); he also contributed to three James Bond films: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). Following the release of Moonraker, Glen was promoted to the rank of official director of the series;he went on to direct all five Bond films of the 1980s. He holds the record for directing the most number of films in the series to date, just one film more than Guy Hamilton. The films are:

  • For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  • Octopussy (1983)
  • A View to a Kill (1985)
  • The Living Daylights (1987)
  • Licence to Kill (1989)

In 2001, he published his memoir, For My Eyes Only.

Glen’s films contain a recurring motif in the form of a startled pigeon that makes the actor  jump; it is especially noticeable in his five James Bond films. In addition, all of Glen’s Bond feature a character who dies by falling from a height, in a sequence commonly accompanied by the same “male scream” sound effect.

In art and iconography, a motif is an element of an image. A motif may be repeated in a pattern or design, often many times, or may just occur once in a work.

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