The well regarded film director Lewis Gilbert has died at the age of 97. Gilbert made 40 moving pictures. He was famous for his bitter-sweet romantic comedies such as Alfie (1966) and Educating Rita (1983) and Shirley Valentine (1989). While these masterful human interest films appealed to the female audience, he also made excellent war and action films “for the boys”. These included retelling World War II histories including that of the irritating but determined “legless” Battle of Britain fighter pilot Douglas Bader in Reach for the Sky (1956). the story of the sadly heroic wartime agent Violet Szabo in Carve Her Name with Pride (1958), and, best of all, the excellent naval hunting story Sink the Bismark (1960).
Directing battle action scenes came to the fore when he successfully delivered three James Bond films including the very good space related You Only Live Twice (1967) starring Sean Connery, and the good-in-parts Moonraker (1980) starring Roger Moore. The other was the nuclear submarine related Bond movie The Spy who Loved me (1976) which is ranked as the best of Roger Moore’s Bond appearances.
Gilbert, who was awarded a CBE, noted that he deliberately played up Moore’s more humorous side. We give our salute to Lewis Gilbert and note that we have enjoyed all of the above films. We give our condolences to Lewis Gilbert’s friends and family.