Cinema Retro reports the sad news that acclaimed production designer and art director Peter Murton passed away shortly before Christmas 2009. An accomplished technician in his field with a career spanning six decades, Murton is best known in the world of 007 for his work on three James Bond films.
Murton got his start in the art department in the mid-1940’s, working as a draughtsman on Madonna of the Seven Moons and Caravan. He continued this role on several films that followed into the 1950’s, also serving as a set dresser on titles such as Across the Bridge, The Wind Cannot Read and Carry on Sergeant.
In 1959, Murton would receive his first assistant art director credit on Tarzan’s Greatest Adventures, which featured a pre-007 Sean Connery in the cast. He also served in this role the following year for Walt Disney’s classic family adventure Swiss Family Robinson.
1961’s Mr. Topaze, starring Peter Sellers, provided him with his first art director credit. Murton also headed the art department on 1963’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and 1964’s Woman of Straw, the latter also starring Connery.
It was also in 1964 that Murton was introduced to the cinematic world of James Bond, working as the art director on Goldfinger alongside production designer Ken Adam. The two would meet up again the following year for the even more successful Thunderball as well. In between his two 60’s Bond films, Murton also worked as the art director on the classic espionage tale The Ipcress File (produced by Harry Saltzman).
Several years would pass until Murton took on another 007 film, but he kept very busy with credits on Funeral in Berlin, Half a Sixpence and The Lion in Winter (the last featuring a young Timothy Dalton almost 20 years before he would debut as the fourth official James Bond).
In 1972, Murton transitioned to the role of production designer on The Ruling Class and continued in this position for his third and final 007 credit, 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, creating the film’s numerous standout set pieces, including Scaramanga’s junk and the funhouse.
After he departed from Bond, several more high-profile film credits followed in the 1970’s and 80’s, including The Eagle has Landed, Death on the Nile, Dracula, Superman II and Superman III. His final credit was 1994’s Stargate, on which he served as art director.
In 2005, Murton was reassociated with the James Bond series when he attended the 40th anniversary Thunderball event in London. This was followed by appearances at Bondstars.com’s ‘Behind the Scenes of Bond’ in July 2007 and ‘Goldfinger: The Reunion’ in April 2008. The former event reunited Murton with fellow production designers Ken Adam and Peter Lamont.
CommanderBond.net wishes to extend their condolences to the family and friends of Peter Murton.