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The business of film
The business of film

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1.1 The first of the Bond movies

The image below is taken from the production documentation for the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, held in the archive of Film Finances. It is an extract from the beginning of a chain of communications involving the completion guarantor, Robert Garrett, and the producers of the film, Harry Saltzman and Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli. The report suggests that Film Finances should consider providing a guarantee but also carries a warning regarding the director of the film, Terence Young.

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Figure 1 Production documentation from Dr. No

In return for a fee based on a percentage of a film’s budget, completion guarantor Film Finances offers a guarantee to investors that a film will be completed for an agreed budget in accordance with a distributor’s specified requirements, and undertakes to meet any unforeseen overcost. In the highly unpredictable business of film production, it is this essential undertaking that persuades banks to support independent production. At this stage it looks like Film Finances are willing to provide such a guarantee to the Dr. No production team.

Film Finances will only make such a serious commitment after its experts have conducted a thorough examination of script, budget and schedule, satisfying themselves that the producers have a viable plan to make the film for the agreed sum.

The nature of the company's role means that it has the right to monitor the production of Dr. No closely. It also has the right to take over a production when it believes that the film-makers risk exceeding the budget without good reason, and to recover any investment it had made from the box office takings.