Film editor-director Peter Roger Hunt, who cut the first five James Bond pics, creating a style imitated in many action movies, and who directed 007 entry “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969), died Aug. 14 of unreported causes in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 77.
London-born Hunt studied violin at the London College of Music and the history of art at the University of Rome, but was enticed by cinema. He learned his craft from an uncle who made government training and educational films. At 17, he joined the British army and was shipped to Italy, where he took part in the Battle of Cassino. After WWII, he returned to work with his uncle and become a clapper boy at Denham Studios in 1947.
After working as an assistant editor on “The Man Who Watched Trains Go By” (1952), he edited “Stranger From Venus” (1954), “A Hill in Korea” (1956), “The Admirable Crichton” (1957), “Ferry to Hong Kong” (1959) and “Sink the Bismarck!” (1960) and others.
Several of these were for Terence Young and Lewis Gilbert, who then invited him to edit their Bond efforts, starting with 1962’s “Dr. No.” (Hunt also is credited by some with pitching Sean Connery as an 007 candidate after Hunt noted the actor in footage from another project.)
For the Bond movies, Hunt perfected what he called “crash-cutting,” the use of jump cuts and multiple quick cuts, with few fade-ins, fade-outs and dissolves. He went on to edit both “From Russia With Love” (1963) and “Goldfinger” (1964) and was supervising editor on “Thunderball” (1965) and “You Only Live Twice” (1967), serving as second unit director on the latter. In addition, he edited “The Ipcress File” (1965) and served as production associate on Albert Broccoli’s musical film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968), including responsibility for its title sequence.
In 1969, Hunt called the shots on “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Other helming credits include two Roger Moore starrers, “Gold” (1974), “Shout at the Devil” (1976); Charles Bronson pics “Death Hunt” (1981) and “Assassination” (1986); part live-action/part animated “Gulliver’s Travels” (1977), “Wild Geese II” (1985), episodes of the television series The Persuaders (1971) and miniseries “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1984).
Survivors include partner Nicos Kourtis and a son.