Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Going Behind the Scenes: Special Effects and Stunts…Day 63 of Bond 365

Bert Luxford at work
Bert Luxford
Passed away this day in 2003
Special Effects on Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever

He was nicknamed “The Gimmick Man” because he designed most of the gadgets used in the early Bond films, including Bond’s Aston-Martin in Goldfinger, according to Bert Luxford’s IMDB profile. Luxford’s first special effects film was Goldfinger in 1964 and his last was for Highlander (1986).

In 2002, Luxford and Gareth Owen wrote Albert J. Luxford, the Gimmick Man: Memoir of a Special Effects Maestro, published by McFarland & Company. In the book, Luxford and Owen discuss Luxford’s career in detail as well as special effects techniques. Of note, Desmond Llewelyn wrote the foreword.

While I researching Luxford, I came across a fascinating and insightful blog. I want to direct you to Matte Shot – a tribute to Golden Era special fx. There are numerous photos about matte and special effects. It’s where I found the photo of Luxford working on a shot.

Paul Baxley, Star Trek collector card
Paul Baxley
Passed away this in 2011
Stunt Arranger and Stunts for Diamonds Are Forever

Through a chance meeting with Richard Talmadge, who was a successful stunt coordinator at the time, Paul Baxley blended his sports and stunts interest into a lengthy career arranging and executing stunts. He doubled for several stars that included James Dean and Marlon Brando. He eventually added Second Unit Director duties and acting to his list of skills as well.

As an actor, he worked on a number of popular television series, such as Star Trek, Peter Gunn and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He directed several episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard and a couple of T.H.E. Cat (I haven’t heard of this one). However, the bulk of his work, 144 credits, was in the arena of stunts, which he started in 1947 with Deep Valley. His last stunt credit was on the Bruce Willis’ Red (2010). I’m actually surprised that he only worked on one Bond film!

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