Born Valmond Maurice Grossmann
in London, 1911, Guest broke into drama from an early age, acting in the
theatre and writing screenplays, including the funny Will Hay comedy Oh, Mr Porter
(1937) - he soon progressed into composing and directing in the 1940s,
helming a variety of now forgotten comedy films. His arrival at Hammer pictures came in 1953 when he bumped into actor Ben Lyon in London and was invited to write and direct Life with the Lyons (1954). His strong direction was quickly acknowledged by the studio and in 1954 he directed their first colour film Men of Sherwood Forest (1954) and Lyons sequel The Lyons in Paris
(1954). The next year, Guest was chosen to direct Hammer's biggest film to date, their
first X rated horror themed picture, The Quatermass Xperiment
(1955). The film proved very popular and after shooting a couple of
independent films, Guest returned to Hammer to shoot the sequel Quatermass 2 (1957) and The Abominable Snowman (1957) - a vehicle for the studio's biggest new star Peter Cushing.
Never a fan of horror films, he avoided Hammer's new gothic horror
pictures, instead helming a couple of comedies as well as gritty war
dramas The Camp on Blood Island (1958) and Yesterday's Enemy (1959) and completing his work for the studio with the equally gritty crime drama Hell is a City(1960).
Guest left the studio to work on his own production, the sci-fi paranoia piece The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), followed by a variety of pictures including medical thriller 80,000 Suspects (1963), and David Niven spy comedy Where the Spies Are (1965) - this role lead Guest to a directoral role in Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), a film he described as a complete mess. A last fling with Hammer Films came in 1970s when Guest wrote and directed the rather generic fantasy picture When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970). After this, with the decline in British cinema, came the rather absurd soft-core Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974) and the action/crime film Killer Force
(1976) as well as directoral roles on several television series. He
retired after directing part of the final Hammer TV series Hammer House of Mystery and Suspence (1984). In recent years Guest penned an autobiography So You Want to be in Pictures? (Reynolds & Hearn Ltd 2001) and recorded a number of interviews and audio commentaries for his films. He died in May 2006.