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

(December 1, 1925–     ): Academy Award–winning underwater cameraman, inventor, and engineer who worked on Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, and Never Say Never Again. Klein’s film career began in 1952, when he was hired by Barry & Enright Productions (this author’s alma mater) to produce a pilot for an underwater series titled 20 Seconds to Zero. The pilot subsequently bombed, but Klein learned some valuable lessons about the filmmaking process. Beginning in 1954, when he shot underwater stills on The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Klein became involved in virtually every major film and television show that featured underwater sequences.

His early association with Ivan Tors Studios on Sea Hunt and Flipper made him a natural choice to build all the underwater props for Thunderball in 1965. His original assignment called for the manufacture of the underwater A-bomb sled and six swift one-man scooters. The bomb carrier was designed by Ken Adam, who sent Klein a balsa wood model. From that basic model, Klein designed the fully operational carrier, which was equipped with a 12 horsepower motor. It was completed in five weeks.

In addition to contributing his engineering skill, Klein was recruited to share filming chores with cameraman Lamar Boren. He filmed mostly insert shots of crabs on the ocean floor, dead divers, spear hits, etc. He even ended up appearing on camera running the bomb carrier. That’s him in the cockpit, wearing a gold Rolex. Klein explained that the sequence in which the Vulcan bomber crash-lands in the Bahamas was shot in miniature off Rose Island. The miniature bomber was launched down a wire from a 150-foot tower. The full-size bomber shell was lowered into the water off Clifton Pier.

Klein’s surprise on the film was the underwater backpack he designed for Bond (Sean Connery). It was something he cobbled together over a weekend for the underwater battle sequence. The producers told him that if it wasn’t ready for shooting at 8:30 am Monday, it couldn’t be used. Klein guaranteed its delivery, and it became a highlight of the shoot. The pack was equipped with two spearguns, which were actually stainless steel tubes with 12-gauge shotgun heads. The smokescreen was a yellow dye. The headlight never really worked, but since the battle was fought in daylight, it wasn’t necessary. As for the pack’s rocket motor, it was an effect. Connery’s double, Frank Cousins, was actually pulled along by a piano wire attached to a high-speed motorboat.

On You Only Live Twice, Klein was once more teamed with Lamar Boren for the brief sequence in which British naval divers return the “corpse” of James Bond to a nuclear submarine. Klein built a small section of the submarine, which was placed on the ocean floor off Nassau, Bahamas.

Although some of his shark footage appears in Live and Let Die, his next major 007 assignment was for Never Say Never Again, for which he once again built a bomb carrier—this one designed to carry the SPECTRE-hijacked cruise missiles. In addition to the carrier, Klein built a huge section of the Flying Saucer yacht’s hull, which was lowered into the waters of Silver Springs, Florida. Unlike the Disco Volante in Thunderball, this time the underwater hatch was located on the side of the ship rather than underneath it. It is through this side exit that the cruise missile carrier travels.

On both Thunderball and Never Say Never Again, Klein also worked with huge, sixteen-foot tiger sharks. On the latter film, he was assigned the task of installing electronic sensors on the sharks’ dorsal fins. The sensors are attached to a homing device placed on Bond’s scuba gear by the evil Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera).


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