Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

(January 23, 1942–     ): Accomplished German cameraman, director, writer, and former Olympic skier whose uncanny ability to capture the movement of skiers has provided the James Bond series with some of its most breathtaking action sequences. A native of Munich, Bogner gained prominence with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, most of which takes place in the snows of Switzerland.

Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli had seen some of Bogner’s early films, including Skifascination (1966), a forty-seven-minute 35mm documentary that won first prize at sports festivals in Cortina D’Ampezzo and Grenoble. He enlisted the filmmaker to shoot the ski sequences for OHMSS. Equipped with a modified Arriflex camera and an adapted Hasselblad viewfinder, Bogner held his camera while skiing backward to catch the swiftly moving Olympic-level skiers as they flew down the slopes above the Swiss village of Mürren. Sometimes he shot backward looking through his legs. His skis were modified with curved tips at both ends to allow him the proper mobility.

OHMSS director Peter Hunt remembered, “I’ve never seen anyone manipulate skis and a camera like Willy. Of course, in the rushes, we got lumps of sky, bits of his bottom, and somebody’s shoe—things like that—but when you took all of the best pieces, you had some exciting material.”[1] After the success of his work on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bogner was hired to handle the acrobatic ski sequences on The Spy Who Loved Me, once again photographing his stunt performers while skiing himself.

For the close-ups of Bond (George Lazenby or Roger Moore), Bogner placed his actors on a sled that was pulled forward at 40 to 50 mph while the cameras rolled. Bogner returned to handle ski stunts on For Your Eyes Only in 1981. Four years later, he journeyed to Iceland to shoot the teaser sequence for A View to a Kill, which involved not only ski scenes but also “snow surfing” to the Beach Boys tune “California Girls.”

[1] Peter Hunt, interview by Steven Jay Rubin, London, June 21, 1977.


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