MI6 caught up with photographer Harry Myers to talk about and his years covering the James Bond premieres.

Harry Myers Interview
8th February 2009

How did you become associated with James Bond, and was photography always a passion?
No it wasn't, it was when I was 14 - during the war. My brother and my uncle worked in Fleet Street printing, so I went and helped. I wanted to get into Fleet Street, so I went to look for a job and I joined a photographic news agency. It was called "London News Agency" - which packed up 1953. I worked for them for 18 years and I learnt the trade from them.

I soon became an assistant sales manager, and then I was in the dark room for quite a while and when I was about 17, they made me a photographer. They sent me out for a couple of assignments and from there I didn't look back. The first things I used to do in those days - I had quite a good memory for names and places - I started photographing society and from that I progressed to doing film premieres. I went on doing more and more film premieres, there were lots of them in those days. Then, in the '60s, I photographed Cubby Broccoli and we became quite friendly and that's how I became involved in all the Bond films.

Above Left: Above: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is introduced to (left to right) Dick Van Dyke, Diane Cilento and Sean Connery at the You Only Live Twice premiere.
Above Right: Michael G. Wilson introduces Princess Diana to Timothy Dalton at the premiere of "The Living Daylights"

In those days Cubby was in partnership with called Irving Allen and together they produced some war films with a few big premieres. I remember Cubby tried to interest Irving Allen in making the Bond films but he wasn't at all interested. So then he looked for other people and ended up with Harry Saltzman. Eventually the partnership broke up and Irving Allen went back to the States and started working on the "Our Man Flint" series, I think Columbia put them out.

How many of the Bond premieres have you covered and which has been the most memorable?
I covered all of them except the last couple - which my family covered. My son has taken over for me, so between us we've covered all the Bond premieres, except for one which they didn't have a premiere for. The most memorable one, I suppose, was the one that Charles and Diana went to, "The Living Daylights". It was the first film premiere she'd ever been to. It was quite successful really and I got some good pictures out of that.

Which of the Bond premieres do you think enjoyed the highest level of excitement and anticipation amongst the crowd?
Well I think "Moonraker" was the one because of that exterior shot with the Moonraker in front of the Odeon at Leicester Square.

Can you recall and funny or off-camera moments that have happened at premieres over the years?
Roger and his wife and Michael Caine and his wife were there and Roger started playing with the rope barrier - he was quite suggestive with it and got a lot of laughter. Of course, Roger was always tongue in cheek, natural and very good fun.

Do you think there is any correlation between how the night of the premiere goes and how ultimately successful the film is at the box office?
I think it relates quite well, you know. That's the nature of film premieres. The last one, "Casino Royale" was quite an event. They had the whole of Leicester Square lit up and I must take my hat off to EON Productions for organising that.


Top: Roger Moore and Barbara Bach inside the Odeon cinema on premiere night for "The Spy Who Loved Me".
Above: Cubby Broccoli introduces Barbara Bach to Princess Anne as Roger Moore looks on.

They had three theatres playing the film. It was quite something. I went along as a guest because my son Scott was the official photographer on that one. There were over 4,000 people there and they'd generated so much publicity - it must have taken a lot of organising. There's so many things to think about when doing this sort of thing.

One of the main instigators of it all is Barbara Broccoli. I think she's marvelous! They all very professional. I took photographs at Barbara's sixth birthday party. I've known her a long time and she's a lovely woman.

Of all the premieres you've been to which do you have the fondest memories of?
That is a good question. I suppose one of the best ones was in 1946, "A Matter of Life and Death" - it was my first job after the war and I was only 18 years old, but it was amazing the number of people who turned up on the night. Very little police presence, even though the King and Queen were there. As well as the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's wife. Nothing to do with Bond, and I don't think Cubby was even in the country - I think he came over in the '50s.

Tell us a little about your new book Pictures And Premieres. How did it come about?
The book contains about 300 photographs, going back to 1946. Lots of lots of pictures from over the years. Many of the ones in colour are pictures my son had taken. He's taken over my role as many of the film company's official photographers. He's doing a great job. Gareth Owen and John Willis are good friends of mine. They've written all of my adventures in the film industry and lots and lots of movie stars such as John Wayne.


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All photographs by Harry Myers.