Transcript: Thirty Years Of British Cinema | Mar 08, 1978

Elwy Yost appears in the studio. He’s in his fifties, mostly bald with some dark hair on the sides, and he has a moustache. He wears glasses, a brownish suit jacket, a white shirt, and a tartan tie in shades of brown. He hosts the program sitting on a chair against a black background with a red film reel. The reel reads “Talking Film” several times, alternately in white and orange.

Elwy says WELCOME TO
TALKING FILM,
THE SERIES OF PROGRAMS
ABOUT THE MOVIES BY THE
PEOPLE WHO MAKE THEM.
WHEN ONE THINKS OF THE HISTORY
OF MOTION PICTURES, ONE
USUALLY HAS TO THINK OF IT
IN TERMS OF THE HISTORY
OF A NATION'S FILMS.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE JAPANESE
CINEMA, OR THE BRITISH CINEMA,
OR THE FRENCH OR THE AMERICAN
OR THE CANADIAN CINEMA,
OR THE GERMAN, OR WHATEVER,
THE RUSSIAN, YOU NAME IT.
ON THIS PARTICULAR PROGRAM,
WE ARE GOING TO DO A LITTLE
HISTORY OF THE BRITISH CINEMA.
AND WE ARE GOING TO
CONCENTRATE, NOT ON THE WHOLE
CLOTH, AS IT WERE, BUT ON THE
PERIOD AROUND 1946-1947,
UP TO THE PRESENT TIME.
A LITTLE OVER 30 YEARS.
THAT'S OUR PARTICULAR
TARGET UPON THIS OCCASION.
WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO IT
CHRONOLOGICALLY, RATHER, WE
ARE GOING TO GIVE YOU QUITE
A GROUP OF BRITISH CRAFTSMEN
AND CRAFTSWOMEN, AND LET THEM
TALK ABOUT THEIR IMPRESSIONS
OF THE BRITISH CINEMA.
ABOUT THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS
AND THEIR MEMORIES.
HERE NOW ARE A GROUP OF
CRAFTSMEN, TALKING FILM.

A caption appears. It reads “Ralph Thomas, Director.” Then Ralph Thomas appears. Ralph in is his mid-sixties, and has short grey hair. He wears glasses, a brownish jacket, and a light-coloured t-shirt. He is sitting opposite Elwy Yost. There are glass panes in the background.

Elwy says WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN I
SAY
DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?
BECAUSE YOU STARTED IT ALL.
A BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED FILM.
I'D LOVE TO KNOW YOUR MAIN
MEMORY IMPRESSION OF IT.
IT CERTAINLY LAUNCHED
A WHOLE SERIES.
YOU DID THE FIRST THREE, I
THINK, IF MY MEMORY SERVES.

Ralph says ACTUALLY, I DID SEVEN.

Elwy says GOOD LORD, YOU'RE
WAY AHEAD OF ME.

Ralph says WELL, ONLY THREE HAVE GOT
ANY REASON TO BE REMEMBERED,
I'M AFRAID.
BUT WE MADE THE OTHERS,
AND WE ENJOYED THEM.
AND I HOPE THEY GIVE PLEASURE.
NO, WHAT HAPPENED WAS I WAS
FINISHING ANOTHER MOVIE AT THE
TIME, AND BETTY HAD TO
GO TO PREVIEW IN CARDIFF.
AND ON THE STATION SHE BOUGHT
A BOOK TO COME BACK ON THE
TRAIN WITH IT.
AND IT WAS
DOCTOR
IN THE HOUSE.
AND I READ IT THE
NIGHT SHE GOT BACK.
I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY.
WE PAID 500 POUNDS FOR
IT, AND WE MADE THE MOVIE.

Ralph smiles and continues AND IT WAS THE FIRST BRITISH
MOVIE TO MAKE A MILLION POUNDS
CLEAR PROFIT.

Elwy says THE FIRST ONE?
HISTORICAL FILM.
WHAT DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THAT,
APART FROM, AND THIS MAY,
I DON'T MEAN TO
UNDULY FLATTER YOU,
BUT IT'S A BEAUTIFULLY
CRAFTED PICTURE.
I'VE ALREADY SAID THAT.
BUT WHAT DID IT
HAVE BEYOND THAT,
DO YOU ACCOUNT
FOR THE SUCCESS?

Ralph says I THINK, FIRST OF ALL, IT WAS
THE FIRST PICTURE TO TREAT
DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS WITHOUT
ANY REVERENCE AT ALL.
IT MANAGED, SOMEHOW, AND
THIS CAME FROM THE WRITER.
IT SOMEHOW MANAGED TO
TREAT ILLNESS AND SICKNESS
AS PART OF LIFE THAT
YOU CAN LAUGH AT.
AND IT WAS A
COMFORT TO PEOPLE.
IT ALSO HAD THAT GREAT CAST OF
JAMES ROBERTSON JUSTICE WHO
WASN'T AN ACTOR, BUT WAS
AN ENORMOUS PERSONALITY.
AND HE WAS ALSO A DOCTOR.
AND HE HAD ENORMOUS TRUTH.
AND HE WAS AS SOLID AS A ROCK.
AND ALL THE OTHER ACTORS
SOMEHOW PLAYED WITH REALITY.
SO WE HAD COMEDY, IT WAS
EXCEPTIONALLY FUNNY.
BUT IT HAD A QUALITY
WHICH WE WERE NEVER ABLE
TO ACHIEVE AGAIN.
IT HAD A FRESHNESS.
I'M VERY PROUD OF IT.
IT WAS GOOD.
STARTED A LOT OF MOVIES.

A caption appears. It reads “Dame Anna Neagle.” Then Anna appears. She is in his seventies, and has blondish short curly hair. She is wearing a blue jacket, a black turtleneck sweater, and pearl earrings. She is sitting against a leafy wallpaper in the background, opposite Elwy.

Elwy says I'D LIKE YOU TO COMMENT ON
SOME OF THE LEADING MEN IN
YOUR LIFE IN THE FILMS, IN
YOUR FILMS, AND REX HARRISON
COMES IMMEDIATELY
TO MIND BECAUSE OF
I LIVE IN GROSVENOR SQUARE.

Anna says THAT'S RIGHT, YES.
THEN, OF COURSE, WE DID
FRENCH WITHOUT TEARS
ON THE CONTINENT
FOR THE TROOPS.
WE WERE IN HOLLAND AND
BELGIUM AND FRANCE.
HE'S A BRILLIANT ACTOR.
I THINK, OF ALL THE PEOPLE
I'VE ACTED WITH, I THINK I
WOULD REGARD HIM AS THE
MOST BRILLIANT ACTOR.

Elwy says TRULY BRILLIANT?
IN WHAT SENSE,
INTERPRETATION OF ROLE,
OR JUST ABLE TO ACT WELL?
INTELLIGENCE?

Anna says JUST THE MOST
MARVELLOUS ACTOR.

Anna claps her fingers and continues AND THE MOMENT THAT CAMERA
STARTS TURNING YOU ARE SO,
YOU KNOW, YOU
ARE SO TOGETHER WORKING.
MICHAEL, I ABSOLUTELY ADORED
WORKING WITH MICHAEL WILDING.
WE MADE SIX PICTURES TOGETHER.
HE IS THE MOST DELIGHTFUL,
SWEET PERSON OF THEM ALL.

Elwy says YOU MADE ONE OF MY
FAVOURITE MUSICALS TOGETHER,
DIDN'T YOU, TOGETHER?
SPEAKING PARTS.

Anna says YES, YES.
LOVELY, LOVELY SUCCESS.
HAPPY, HAPPY PICTURES.
HAPPY DAYS.

Elwy says HE WAS A VERY GRACIOUS MAN?

Anna says OH, YES.
SO MANY PICTURES IN A ROW
WHICH WERE ALL SMASH HITS.
WE WERE SITTING ON
TOP OF THE WORLD.
THAT HELPS HAPPINESS.

A caption appears. It reads “George Cole, Actor.” Then George appears. He is in his mid-fifties, and has grey short hair. He is wearing a beige jacket, and a light-coloured turtleneck jumper. He is sitting opposite Elwy, and there are white and yellow flowers in the background.

Elwy says I WANT TO HEAR A STORY ABOUT
CLEOPATRA
BECAUSE I'VE BEEN
CURIOUS ABOUT THAT PICTURE, I
GUESS, EVER SINCE THE FIRST
PUBLICITY RELEASE OCCURRED.

George says WELL, THAT DID ONE TERRIBLE
THING FOR ME BECAUSE I SIGNED
FOR 24 WEEKS, AND I WAS
OUT THERE FOR 18 MONTHS.

Elwy says WHAT?
YOU SAY 'OUT
THERE', YOU MEAN...?

George says IN ROME.
IT'S A VERY SMALL PLACE.

Elwy says CINECITTÀ IS IT?

George says YES.
AND I GREW TO HATE
MICHELANGELO, I MUST SAY.
AFTER ALL THAT TIME.

Elwy laughs.

George continues BUT I WILL TELL YOU
ONE STORY ABOUT IT.
I HAD TO HAVE A
BEARD, A FULL BEARD.
AND THE MAKE-UP MAESTRO, WHO
WAS SURROUNDED BY HIS MINIONS
WHO WOULD HAND HIM
EVERYTHING, ITALIAN.
DECIDED IT HAD
GOT TO BE LAID ON.
THAT'S, YOU KNOW, PUT ON, NOT
A HAIR AT A TIME, BUT A FEW
HAIRS AT A TIME, SO IT
TAKES ABOUT TWO HOURS.

Elwy says WHAT?

George says AND I HAD TO GO IN 5 O'CLOCK
EVERY MORNING TO HAVE
THIS BEARD LAID ON.
AND IT WAS A VERY
BEAUTIFUL BEARD.
AND AFTER THREE MONTHS, I
BEGAN TO GET FED UP WITH
THIS EARLY MORNING CALL.
AND I SAID TO HIM, WHY
DO YOU LAY ON THE BEARD?
WHY DIDN'T YOU HAVE
A BEARD MADE FOR ME?
AND HE SAID, WELL, YOU ACTORS,
I KNOW YOU DON'T LIKE THE
FEELING THAT A BEARD PULLS
YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU ARE SAYING
YOUR LINES.
WHICH IS QUITE TRUE.
BUT AS I POINTED OUT TO HIM,
I WAS PLAYING A DEAF MUTE.

George laughs.

Elwy says OH, MY GOD.
OH, THAT'S A RIPPING TALE.

A caption appears. It reads “Jean Coquillon, Cinematographer.” Then Jean appears. He is his mid-fifties, and has grey hair and dark sideburns. He is wearing a light-coloured jacket, and a white shirt. He is sitting opposite Elwy, and there are glass panes in the background. Jean smiles as he speaks.

Elwy says YOU DID
STRAW DOGS
HERE.
I THINK THAT WAS IN THE LATTER
PART OF THE SIXTIES WASN'T IT,
OR EARLY SEVENTIES?

Jean says 1971.

Elwy says 71, WITH DUSTIN
HOFFMAN AND COMPANY.
WHERE WAS MOST OF THAT SHOT?

Jean says HALF OF IT WAS SHOT IN
CORNWALL, AND HALF AT
TWICKENHAM STUDIOS.

Elwy says SO IT WAS REALLY ALL MADE
OVER HERE IN ENGLAND?

Jean says YUP, YES.

Elwy says DRAW ME A PORTRAIT AS FREELY
AS YOU CAN ABOUT PECKINPAH.
HE'S THE DIRECTOR, I MUST
PREFACE THIS BY SAYING I'VE
LONG ADMIRED
A WILD BUNCH,
AND
RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY,
I THINK ARE TWO OF THE
GREATEST FILMS EVER MADE.
AND I KNOW YOU FEEL THAT.

Jean smiles proudly.

Elwy continues I CAN SEE BY YOUR FACE, JOHN.
BUT TELL ME ABOUT SAM.
WHAT MAKES HIM TICK?
WHAT KIND OF A MAN --
WHAT ARE HIS HABITS,
WHAT DOES HE DO?

Jean says WELL, SAM IS TOTALLY
UNPREDICTABLE.
HOW DOES ONE DESCRIBE SAM?
HE'S AN ANGEL ONE DAY, AND
HE'S HELL ITSELF THE NEXT.

Jean and Elwy laugh.

Jean continues BUT HE CERTAINLY KNOWS
HOW TO MAKE PICTURES.
HE CANNOT TOLERATE
ANY INEFFICIENCY.
IF SOMEONE'S HEART ISN'T IN
IT, THEY JUST CAN'T SURVIVE.
SAM DEMANDS TOTAL AND ABSOLUTE
DEDICATION FROM EVERYBODY
ON A PICTURE, 24 HOURS
A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK.

Elwy says THE KIND OF DEDICATION,
JOHN FORD DEMANDED SIMILAR.
HE'S THAT KIND OF A CHARACTER.
HE'S BEEN CRITICIZED FOR UNDUE
VIOLENCE IN HIS PICTURES.
AND MY GOSH,
STRAW DOGS IS
NO EXCEPTION TO AT LEAST
THAT FLAVOUR, IS IT?
POWERFULLY VIOLENT FILM.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY ANYTHING
ABOUT VIOLENCE AND PECKINPAH?

Jean says WELL, SAM ALWAYS SAYS VIOLENCE
IS NOT HIS INVENTION.
HE SAYS IT'S A THING THAT
EXISTS IN THE WORLD, AND WHAT
HE IS TRYING TO DO SHOW PEOPLE
IT DOES ACTUALLY EXIST.
IT'S NO GOOD SAYING,
OH, ISN'T THIS TERRIBLE,
YOU MUSTN'T GO SEE THAT
TERRIBLY VIOLENT PICTURE.
THESE THINGS DO GO ON.
I THINK HE DOES GO A LITTLE
OVER THE TOP AT TIMES,
BUT MAYBE THIS IS TO DRAW
HIS AUDIENCE'S ATTENTION.

Elwy says GOOD LOOKING MAN?
WHAT DOES HE LOOK LIKE?
HOW OLD, FIFTIES, FORTIES?

Jean says SAM IS, I THINK,
EARLY FIFTIES.
HE'S SMALLISH.
VERY FIT.
SLENDER FIGURE.
AND HE'S LIKE A DYNAMO.

Elwy says DOES HE HAVE ANY WEAKNESSES
THAT MAKE HIM INTERESTING?

Jean says HE'S VERY FOND OF PRETTY
LADIES, PRETTY GIRLS.

Jean laughs.

Elwy says THAT'S A BEAUTIFUL
WEAKNESS, ISN'T IT?
YEAH, THAT'S A
BEAUTIFUL WEAKNESS.

Jean says HE HAS A PASSION
FOR MAKING PICTURES.
HE HATES TO START PICTURES.
DAY ONE AND DAY TWO,
HE'S VERY SLOW START.
THEN HE HATES
TO FINISH THEM.
WE HAVE TO DRAG
HIM OFF THE SET.
YOU KNOW, THE LAST DAY, HE
STILL WANTS, JUST ONE MORE
SHOT, ONE MORE SHOT.
I USUALLY HAVE TO SAY, COME
ON, SAM, IT'S ALL OVER.
IT'S A WRAP.
WE'RE FINISHED.

A caption appears. It reads “John Justin, Actor.” John is in his early sixties, and has black hair. He is wearing a brown suit jacket, a matching tartan vest, and a patterned neckerchief. There is a plant in the background.

Elwy says I WANT TO HEAR WHAT JOHN
JUSTIN HAS BEEN DOING
THE LAST FEW YEARS.
AND I KNOW THAT YOU HAVE
BEEN MAKING SOME PICTURES
FOR KEN RUSSELL.
I THINK
SAVAGE MESSIAH
IS ONE OF THEM,
AND
LISZTOMANIA,
AM I RIGHT?
IN THE TIME WE HAVE LEFT, A
LITTLE PORTRAIT OF KEN RUSSELL.
BECAUSE HE'S A MAJOR FIGURE
IN THE LAST 20 YEARS OR SO.

John says A PORTRAIT OF KEN RUSSELL?

Elwy says IS THAT POSSIBLE TO DO?

John says PARDON ME, KEN.
DON'T MIND, DO YOU?

John laughs and continues NO, KEN HE'S ANOTHER, ANOTHER
CRAZY AND WONDERFUL --
FOR ME, FOR EVERY ACTOR HAS
DIFFERENT VIEWS ABOUT WHAT IT IS
WORKING WITH KEN, APART
FROM ONE THING FROM KEN.
HE WAS A MOST EXCITING
PERSON TO WORK WITH.
IN QUITE A DIFFERENT
WAY TO THE OTHERS
I'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT.
HE'S SO... HE'S A
MAN FOR DETAIL.
HE... WHAT HE KNOWS WHEN HE'S
DIRECTING IS EVERYTHING.
IT'S MOST EXTRAORDINARY.
HE'LL BE DIRECTING A SCENE
WITH YOU, AND IN THE MIDDLE OF
IT -- HE DOESN'T REALLY START
WORKING, INCIDENTALLY, UNTIL
AFTER THE CAMERA
STARTS ROLLING.
BEGINNING PART, IT'S
ALL YOURS, YOU DO IT.
HE GIVES YOU ABSOLUTE FREEDOM.
HE LIKES YOU TO
INVENT, WHICH I LIKE.
I LIKE TO WORK...
AND THEN AS YOU GET NEARER TO
IT, THEN HE SAYS, ALL RIGHT,
LET'S SHOOT.
AND YOU THINK, WELL, HE'S
GOING TO TAKE EXACTLY
WHAT I INVENTED.
IT'S ALL MINE, YOU SEE?
WELL, I'M PRETTY GOOD.
THEN HE STARTS.
AND HE BEGINS TO GIVE
YOU, 'NO, NO, A LITTLE...'
WHILE YOU'RE SHOOTING.
'TAKE ANOTHER ONE.
ANOTHER TAKE, ANOTHER TAKE'.
AND YOU THINK, I SEE, HE
REALLY DID KNOW WHAT HE
WANTED, DIDN'T HE?

John chuckles and continues HE DOESN'T WANT WHAT I'M
DOING, HE WANTS SOMETHING ELSE.
IT TAKES TIME.
MONEY, AGAIN, YOU SEE?
THEY ALL SPEND MONEY THESE
GOOD ONES, DON'T THEY?

Elwy says YES.

John says AND THEN SUDDENLY, HE'LL
SAY, WHAT'S THAT ON THE WALL
BEHIND THERE?
AND IT'S TEN YARDS AWAY.
THERE'S A FLY ON
IT, ISN'T THERE?
AND THERE IS.
TAKE IT OFF!

John laughs and continues EXTRAORDINARY.
AND THE TIME YOU THINK
HE'S BEEN LOOKING AT YOU,
AND HE'S LOOKING
BEHIND AS WELL.
THERE'S A LIGHT,
THERE'S A SHADOW,
THERE'S TOO MUCH
LIGHT THERE.
HE CAN DO THE
CAMERAMAN'S JOB.
HE IS A REAL FILMIC MAN.
AND HE ALSO KNOWS
HOW TO CUT A PICTURE.

Elwy says HOW IS HE WITH
PEOPLE, THOUGH?
I MEAN, IS HE DESTRUCTIVE?

John says THIS IS THE BAD THING.
HE HAS THIS THING WHICH,
INCIDENTALLY SOMEBODY ELSE
YOU MENTIONED HAD ALSO,
WHICH I DON'T KNOW WHETHER
IT'S A PSYCHOLOGICAL THING.
BUT HE WILL, EVERY NOW
AND THEN, IN HIS NERVES,
HE ATTACKS PEOPLE, AND NEARLY
ALWAYS SMALL PEOPLE.
THE GRIP.

Elwy says HE ATTACKS SMALL PEOPLE?

John says REALLY, TERRIBLE.
THE PROP MAN,
THE MAKE-UP GIRL.
AND HE DOESN'T JUST ATTACK.
THIS GOT BETTER, BUT IN THE
FIRST PICTURE YOU MENTIONED --

Elwy says SAVAGE MESSIAH.

John says SAVAGE MESSIAH.
IT WAS THE ONLY TIME
I REALLY SAW HIM DO IT,
AND IT IS
EXCRUCIATING TO WATCH.
CHAP DID SOMETHING.
WHAT WAS IT?
IT WAS THE PROPS.
HE WAS A PROP MAN.
DIDN'T GET A PROP RIGHT.

John shouts WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING...

John goes back to normal tone and continues SORRY, SORRY, Mr. KEN.

John shouts BLOODY WELL GET IT RIGHT!

John goes back to normal tone and continues RIGHT.
OVER.
YOU THINK IT'S OVER?
NO.
ALL RIGHT, GET THE
CAMERA ROLLING AGAIN.

John shouts WHAT THE HELL
WERE YOU DOING?!
COME HERE!

John goes back to normal tone and continues ALL OVER AGAIN.
AND THE CHAP SAYS...

John shouts I WILL
NOT HAVE PEOPLE ON MY SET.

John goes back to normal tone and continues YOU THINK IT'S
OVER, DON'T YOU?
ALL RIGHT,
GET THE THING.
HE SEES HIM AGAIN.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
AND IT CAN GO ON
FOR HALF AN HOUR.

Elwy says RIDING AND RAILING.

John says YOU GET SO YOU'RE FEELING,
ALL RIGHT, I'LL LEAVE, TOO.
WE'LL ALL GO ON
STRIKE, WE'LL GO OFF.
I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY DON'T.
IT IS TERRIBLE.
IT'S REALLY TERRIBLE.
AND I SAID, I MEAN, DOES
THIS GO ON ALL THE TIME?
NO, NO.

John chuckles and continues IT WAS MUCH WORSE BEFORE,
THEY SAID, IN OTHER PICTURES.
AND I SAID, WELL I HOPE IT
WON'T GET ANY WORSE IN THIS ONE.

George says MY CLASSICAL CAREER TOOK A
KNOCK WHEN RICHARD WIDMARK WAS
OVER HERE, AND HE WAS HAVING
DINNER WITH US AT HOME.
AND THE PHONE RANG.
I ANSWERED IT.
AND WHEN I WENT BACK,
I SAID I'VE JUST BEEN ASKED
TO PLAY OTHELLO.
AND WITH HIS FORK ON HIS WAY
TO HIS MOUTH HE STOPPED,
AND WENT, 'WHERE'?

Elwy crackles.

George continues AND MY CONFIDENCE EBBED FAST.

A caption appears. It reads “Stanley Kubrick’s Production Designer.” Then Ken Adam appears. He is in his fifties, and has short dark hair. He is wearing a white shirt, and brown trousers. He is sitting comfortably, laying back on a cushioned couch.

Ken Adam says I THINK THE EASIEST TERM
IS TO SAY THAT A PRODUCTION
DESIGNER, ONCE YOU GET A
SCREENPLAY, HIS TASK IS TO
TRANSLATE THE SCREENPLAY
INTO VISUAL TERMS.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Ken Adam.”

Elwy says YOU ARE WORKING VERY CLOSELY
WITH THE DIRECTOR THEN,
AREN'T YOU?

Ken Adam says ABSOLUTELY, YES.

Elwy says ALMOST LIKE AN ALTER EGO,
AT TIMES, I SUPPOSED TO HIM.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT?

Ken Adam says YES.
IT DEPENDS, OBVIOUSLY, ON THE
TYPE OF PICTURE, AND ALSO ON
THE TYPE OF DIRECTOR
ONE IS WORKING WITH.
OBVIOUSLY, WITH MEN LIKE
KUBRICK, ONE SPENDS
16 HOURS A DAY, YOU KNOW.

Ken Adam chuckles and says IF IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO
SLEEP WITH HIM, YOU WOULD.

Ken Adam grabs a cigar and continues ALSO, AND, YOU KNOW, I FIND
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR A
DESIGNER TO HAVE ALMOST
LIKE A LOVE AND SOMETIMES
LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP.
BECAUSE IT IS VERY IMPORTANT.
AND AGAIN, THE PICTURE CAN
EVENTUALLY BENEFIT FROM IT.

Elwy shows on screen. He is wearing glasses, a dark jacket, and grey trousers. He is sitting opposite Ken Adam.

Elwy says KEN ADAM, YOU ARE
PRODUCTION DESIGNER OF
Dr. STRANGELOVE
AND
BARRY LYNDON.
I WANT TO TALK A LITTLE
BIT ABOUT THOSE PICTURES
AND ABOUT THE GENIUS BEHIND
THEM, STANLEY KUBRICK.
FIRST OF ALL, COULD YOU DRAW
US, IS IT POSSIBLE TO DRAW US
A PORTRAIT, HERE IN WORDS,
OF WHAT THIS MAN IS LIKE?
BECAUSE YOU KNOW HIM
PROBABLY AS WELL AS ANYBODY.

Ken Adam says YES.
HE'S A VERY CHARMING MAN.
EXTREMELY SHY PERSON.
AND WITH A VERY PECULIAR MIND.
I MEAN, AS A CHILD, OR YOUNG
BOY, HE USED TO PLAY CHESS
IN NEW YORK.
I THINK THERE'S A PARTICULAR
PLACE, A PARK, WHERE PEOPLE
MEET TO PLAY CHESS.
AND HE WAS NEARLY IN
THE GRANDMASTER CLASS
AS A YOUNG MAN PLAYING CHESS.
AND SO HIS MIND, I ALWAYS
FEEL, WORKS LIKE THE MIND
OF A CHESS PLAYER.
IT CAN ONLY BE COMPARED
WITH A COMPUTER, I THINK,
IN OUR PRESENT-DAY TIME.
HE'S ALSO AN EXTREMELY
VISUAL MAN.
BECAUSE HE STARTED HIS CAREER
AS A STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
FOR
LOOK MAGAZINE.
AND HE IS QUITE A BRILLIANT
PHOTOGRAPHER AND HAS AN
INCREDIBLE EYE FOR
YOU KNOW WHAT HE SEES.
AND IT IS REALLY LIKE
A PHOTOGRAPHER'S EYE.
HE'S NOT THE EASIEST PERSON
TO WORK WITH BECAUSE HE IS
EXTREMELY DEMANDING.
ALSO, ON HIMSELF, BUT ON
EVERYBODY ELSE WHO WORKS.

Elwy says WHAT MIGHT HE DEMAND OF YOU?
CAN YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE
OF THE KIND OF DEMAND
YOU MIGHT BE DEMANDED OF?

Ken Adam says WELL, HE TRIES TO PROBE INTO,
YOU KNOW, BASICALLY WHAT
MOTIVATES HOPEFULLY
ONE'S CREATIVENESS
AND WHY IT HAPPENS.
AND SOMETIMES, VERY DIFFICULT
TO INTELLECTUALIZE ON A
CERTAIN WAY YOU DESIGN A
SETTING OR YOU MAKE A SKETCH.
BUT STANLEY HAS TO BE ASSURED
IN EVERY DETAIL, YOU KNOW, TO
MAKE SURE THAT HE FEELS IT IS
RIGHT FOR HIS TYPE OF CONCEPT
OF THE WAY HE VISUALIZES A
SCENE OR SETTING OR LOCATION.

Elwy says THEN YOU HAVE TO JUSTIFY
ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU DO.

Ken Adam says YES, YOU HAVE TO
JUSTIFY EVERYTHING.

Elwy says YOUR WAR ROOM DESIGN IN
STRANGELOVE, WHICH I THINK IS
BRILLIANT, WOULD THAT
HAVE TO BE JUSTIFIED?

Ken Adam says YES.
I HAD TO JUSTIFY THAT.
I FIRST STARTED OFF WITH A
DESIGN WHICH HE SEEMED TO LIKE
VERY MUCH INITIALLY, AND THEN
SOME WEEKS LATER, HE DECIDED
IT WASN'T THE RIGHT
CONCEPT, WHICH REALLY
THREW ME AT THAT TIME
BECAUSE I HADN'T WORKED
WITH SOMEBODY LIKE
STANLEY BEFORE.
AND I REMEMBER I WENT FOR A
WALK OUTSIDE MY OFFICE AT
CHAPELTON TO TRY AND CALM DOWN
AND GET MYSELF BECAUSE IT
WAS, I THINK, TWO OR THREE
WEEKS AFTER I'D DONE THE
INITIAL DESIGN.
AND HE SAID, WELL, JUST CALM
DOWN AND DO SOMETHING ELSE.
SO I STARTED SCRIBBLING AGAIN.
AND I CAME UP WITH
THIS TRIANGULAR SHAPE
FOR THE WAR ROOM.
AND I REMEMBER HIM
ASKING ME WHY DID I CHOOSE
A TRIANGULAR SHAPE?
AND IT JUST HAPPENED
TO COME AT THAT TIME.
AND HE SAID, WELL, HE
ALMOST ANSWERED IT FOR ME.
HE SAID, ISN'T IT ONE OF THE
STRONGEST GEOMETRIC FORMS?
AND I SAID, YES,
I THINK IT IS.
AND HE SAID, WELL, YOU KNOW,
THAT MAKES SENSE BECAUSE
THE WAR ROOM WOULD
PROBABLY BE UNDERGROUND
LIKE A BOMBPROOF SHELTER.
HE SAID, WHAT MATERIAL
DO YOU INTEND TO USE
FOR THE CONSTRUCTION?
MEANING WHAT MATERIAL
WOULD I FAKE?
AND I SAID, WE COULD DO
IT IN REINFORCED CONCRETE.
AND HE SAID, GREAT.
BUT IT HAD TO BE JUSTIFIED.

Elwy says RATIONALIZED.

Ken Adam says RATIONALIZED IN EVERY DETAIL.
WHEN YOU CAN RATIONALIZE
IT BECOMES EXCITING.
BUT SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T ALWAYS
RATIONALIZE BECAUSE YOU KNOW,
AS A DESIGNER, AS A PERFORMER
OR ANYTHING, YOU KNOW, CERTAIN
THINGS COME INSTINCTIVELY.

Elwy says HOW DOES HE WORK WITH ACTORS?
IS HE VERY QUIET WITH THEM?

Ken Adam says HE'S VERY QUIET, YES.

Elwy says DOES HE ENJOY WORKING
WITH THEM, OR RATHER
NOT WORKING WITH THEM?
HOW IS HE?

Ken Adam says HE IS ALSO VERY
DEMANDING WITH ACTORS.
HE'S A VERY QUIET PERSON.

Elwy says NOT BOMBASTIC.

Ken Adam says NO, NOT AT ALL BOMBASTIC.
BUT AN ACTOR MAY HAVE TO GO
THROUGH HIS LINES, ON SCREEN,
MANY, MANY TIMES BEFORE
STANLEY DECIDES A
TAKE IS A RIGHT TAKE.

Elwy says BARRY LYNDON, WE DID HEAR
STORIES BACK IN CANADA THAT
HE REALLY WANTED TO MAKE THE
WHOLE THING WITHIN 20 TO 30
MILES OF HIS HOME BECAUSE
HE DOESN'T LIKE TO TRAVEL.
WHICH BRINGS UP THE LEGEND
OF HIS RECLUSIVENESS
AND SO FORTH.
AND I'M WONDERING, IS THAT TRUE,
OR IS THAT PUBLICITY HOKUM?

Ken Adam says NO, I THINK STANLEY
LIKES TO STAY AT HOME.
HE HAS A FAMILY WHICH HE
ADORES, AND HE HAS A LOT
OF ANIMALS.
HE HAS THREE DOGS
AND SEVEN CATS.

Elwy says I DIDN'T KNOW THAT.

Ken Adam says SO HE, I SUPPOSE, FEELS MOST
SECURE IN THOSE SURROUNDINGS.
AND HE CERTAINLY IS NOT THE
SORT OF PERSON WHO GOES
OUT FOR SOCIAL REASONS.

Elwy says HOW DID YOU APPROACH
BARRY LYNDON?
I THINK A GREAT FILM.
I FEEL AN ENORMOUS
EPIC QUALITY.

Ken Adam says WE HAD A LOT OF PROBLEMS
INITIALLY ON THAT FILM
BECAUSE, BASICALLY, STANLEY
DID WANT TO SHOOT IT WITHIN A
CERTAIN AREA AROUND HIS HOME.
AND FINALLY, YOU KNOW, WE HAD
TO GO MUCH FURTHER AFIELD.
AND SINCE STANLEY DIDN'T
WANT IT AS A STUDIO PICTURE,
BUT HE WANTED TO GET
THE REALISM OF THE PERIOD.
AND OF COURSE IN ENGLAND
AND IRELAND, A LOT OF THESE
STATELY HOMES STILL EXIST.
SO WE DID SHOOT THE WHOLE
PICTURE ON ACTUAL LOCATION,
BUT LOGISTICALLY MAKES A
PICTURE OF THAT SIZE, MADE IT
SOMETIMES VERY DIFFICULT
BECAUSE, AND ALSO THE
PERFECTIONIST STANLEY IS, HE
INSISTED ON GETTING THE BEST,
LET'S SAY, OUT OF SIX OR SEVEN
STATELY HOMES AND MAKE IT ALL
AS CASTLE HOWARD -- CASTLE
HOWARD WAS ONE OF THE HOMES
WE USED, AS LADY LYNDON'S
HOME IN ENGLAND.
SO YOU FIND IT'S A COMBINATION
OF PROBABLY SIX OR EVEN EIGHT
STATELY HOMES AT ONE PLACE.

Elwy says YET, THE SELECTION OF THOSE
HOMES, A LOT WOULD FALL ON
YOUR SHOULDERS
THERE, WOULDN'T IT?

Ken Adam says YES, YES.

Elwy says TO GET THAT PRODUCTION, THAT
LOOK, THE PRODUCTION DESIGN,
THE UNITY AND FEELING.

Ken Adam says YES, YES.
OBVIOUSLY, YOU
KNOW, I HELPED A LOT.
STANLEY ALSO FELT, AND MAYBE
TO SOME EXTENT, I AGREED WITH
HIM THERE, WAS ON THE COSTUMES.
HE WANTED COMPLETE REALITY.
BECAUSE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY COSTUMES,
WHETHER YOU LOOK AT PANTOMIMES
OR SOMETHING, CAN LOOK
SO TERRIBLY PHONY.
SO WE BASED ALL OUR RESEARCH
ON EIGHTEENTH CENTURY PAINTINGS.
AND REALLY COPIED COSTUMES
FROM THESE PAINTINGS.
WE WERE ALSO VERY FORTUNATE
TO BUY ACTUAL EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY
COSTUMES, YOU KNOW?
AND FOUND THEY
WERE MUCH SMALLER.
THEY FITTED ONLY
VERY SMALL PEOPLE.
AND SO INSTEAD OF USING THE
NORMAL FORM OF THEATRICAL
COSTUMIERS, WE SET UP OUR OWN
WORKSHOP, MAKING ALL THESE
COSTUMES, AND USING THE
ORIGINAL CUTTING PATTERNS --

Elwy says LIKE THE INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION.
YOU'RE GOING BACK
IN YOUR LITTLE SHOPS.

Ken Adam says RIGHT.
AND WE HAD THIS SWEDISH
GIRL, ULLA-BRITT SODERLUND,
WHO WAS VERY PRACTICAL.
SHE'D MADE
THE EMIGRANTS.
AND STANLEY LOOKED AT THE FILM
AND LIKED HER APPROACH TO IT.
AND SHE USED TO MAKE A LOT
OF THE COSTUMES HERSELF.

Elwy says THE LOOK YOU GOT IN THAT
PICTURE, WITH A LOT OF NATURAL
LIGHTING USED, APPARENTLY.

Ken Adam says WELL, STANLEY IS
A MASTER AT THAT.
AND HE ALSO EXPERIMENTED
ON THE FILM WITH A VERY,
VERY FAST LENS.

Elwy says SO HE COULD USE CANDLES.

Ken Adam says WE SHOT WITH ACTUAL
CANDLELIGHT.

Elwy says NO OTHER PICTURES, I DON'T
THINK, EVER LOOKED LIKE
BARRY LYNDON.

Ken Adam says NO.
I THINK THAT'S TRUE, YES.

A caption appears. It reads “Reflections of Three Child Stars.”

Elwy, addressing George, says DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENT
ABOUT THE IMPACT OF BEING
A CELEBRITY ON A
VERY YOUNG MIND.
IS IT A VERY BAD THING, OR CAN
IT BE A GOOD THING OR WHAT?

George says I DON'T THINK IT CAN BE A GOOD
THING FOR A CHILD OF SORT OF
SEVEN OR EIGHT,
ABOUT THAT AGE.

Elwy says BUT YOU COULD
HANDLE IT, PERHAPS.

George says WELL, I THINK I HANDLED IT
BECAUSE I WASN'T AWARE OF IT.
YOU SEE, MY FIRST PART
WAS A LITTLE COCKNEY BOY,
A RATHER NASTY, DIRTY
LITTLE COCKNEY BOY,
WHO HAD TO SWEAR ON STAGE.
WELL, IT COULD HAVE BEEN
WRITTEN FOR ME BECAUSE THAT'S
JUST EXACTLY WHAT
I WAS, A NASTY, DIRTY,
LITTLE COCKNEY BOY.
AND I THOUGHT, THIS
WAS MARVELLOUS.
PAYING ME MONEY FOR BEING RUDE
TO MY ELDERS AND SWEARING?
THAT'S SOMETHING.
SO BY THE TIME I THOUGHT
SERIOUSLY ABOUT ACTING, I WAS
THEN SAVED, AGAIN, BECAUSE I
WAS PLAYING LITTLE BOYS IN
SHORT TROUSERS UP TO THE AGE
OF 18, AND THEN I WENT TO THE
RAF FOR FOUR YEARS.

Elwy says WOW.

George says SO THAT BROKE MY VOICE.

Elwy says YES.

George says AND THAT GOT ME OVER THE
HURDLE FROM PLAYING...
BEING A CHILD ACTOR
TO PLAYING A JUVENILE.
AND I CAME BACK AND STARTED
AGAIN WITH A PLAY IN LONDON.

Vincent Winter appears. He is in his mid-thirties, and has brown short hair. He is wearing shaded sunglasses, a brown suit jacket, a white shirt, and a matching checkered tie.

Elwy says IS THERE ANY PRICE
THAT YOU PAID HAVING BEEN
A CHILD STAR TODAY?

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Vincent Winter.”

Elwy continues ARE PEOPLE ALWAYS SEEING YOU
THEN AND NEGLECTING YOU NOW?
OR DOES THIS RELATE
AT ALL TO YOUR LIFE?

Vincent says I THINK IT RELATES
IN A POSITIVE WAY.
I DON'T THINK I WOULD HAVE
GOTTEN A JOB THAT I HAVE NOW,
I WOULDN'T HAVE INVOLVED
MYSELF IN MOVIES HAD I NOT
BEEN INVOLVED IN
FILMS AS A CHILD.
AND I CONSIDER MYSELF
EXTREMELY LUCKY.
VERY LUCKY, INDEED.

Elwy says YOU WOULDN'T MIND YOUR
CHILDREN, WHEN YOU'RE MARRIED
SOMEDAY, GOING
RIGHT INTO THE SCREEN
AND BECOMING CHILD STARS?

Vincent says IF I FELT I COULD HANDLE THEM
IN THE SAME WAY MY FAMILY
HANDLED ME, I
WOULDN'T MIND AT ALL.

Hayley Mills appears. She in in her mid-thirties, and has shoulder-length wavy blond hair. She is wearing a dark blue blouse, and a flowery white vest. She is sitting opposite Elwy on a black leather couch.

Elwy says CAN YOU TAKE OUR VIEWERS
THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY?
LETTING OUR VIEWERS NOW KNOW
WHAT TIME YOU WOULD GET UP IN
THE MORNING, AND WHERE YOU'D
REPORT, AND HOW A DAY GOES?

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Hayley Mills.”

Elwy continues HOW YOU EAT WHEN
YOU'RE ON LOCATION?
SOME INSIGHT INTO WHAT IT'S
LIKE SPENDING ONE DAY OUT THERE.

Hayley says I SUPPOSE YOU'D GET UP AT 6:30
AND HAVE A CUP OF TEA AND
STAGGER DOWN TO THE CAR
THAT WAS WAITING OUTSIDE.
I ALWAYS RATHER LIKE GETTING
UP IN EARLY MORNINGS.
IT WAS EXCITING WHEN
EVERYTHING WAS STARTING
AND THE DAY WAS
FRESH AND YOUNG.
GET OUT TO
LOCATION, FREEZING.
JUMP OUT OF THE CAR,
MUD UP TO YOUR KNEES.
AND THE BEST THING ABOUT
CATERED FOOD, AS A LITTLE GIRL,
WERE ALL THE LOVELY SORT OF
FRIED EGG SANDWICHES AND
THINGS YOU'D GET AT ABOUT
8 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING.

Elwy says TREATS?

Hayley says OH, YES.
MARVELLOUS THINGS YOU'D
NEVER HAVE AT HOME.
SO FRIED EGG SANDWICHED, AND
THEN A LOT OF PAN STIK
OVER YOUR SPOTS.
AND HAIR DONE.
AND THEN YOU'D PROBABLY
GO AND SET UP A SHOT.
RUN THROUGH THE DIALOGUE.
SET IT UP.
THEN YOU'D GO BACK TO THE
CARAVAN, WAIT FOR ABOUT
TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, HOURS.

Hayley laughs and continues BUT WHEN I WAS A CHILD, YOU
SEE, I USED TO, INSTEAD OF
JUST SITTING IN THE CARAVAN,
I USED TO DO MY LESSONS.

A caption appears. It reads “Summing up.”

Ken Annakin appears. He is in his mid-sixties, and has white hair. He wears glasses, a khaki jacket, a white shirt, a khaki tie, and light beige trousers. He is sitting opposite Elwy, against a leafy wallpaper. Elwy is wearing a grey jacket.

Elwy says KEN ANNAKIN, THE DISNEY POST
WAR PRODUCTIONS YOU WERE
INVOLVED IN, WERE THEY AMONGST
THE FIRST SORT OF AMERICAN
ANGLO, ANGLO AMERICAN KINDS OF
CO-PRODUCTIONS THAT SEEM TO
BE BECOMING VERY
POPULAR TODAY?

Ken Annakin says YES, THAT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE.
ROBIN HOOD
THAT I MADE WAS,
I THINK, HIS FIRST BRITISH
LIVE ACTION.

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Ken Annakin.”

Ken Annakin continues AND HE FOLLOWED UP BY MAKING,
OH, 20 FILMS IN ENGLAND.

Elwy says WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ABOUT
THIS KIND OF CO-PRODUCTION?
DO YOU THINK IT'S A VERY
HEALTHY SALUTARY THING?

Ken Annakin says IT WAS GOOD IN ONE WAY
FOR THE BRITISH INDUSTRY;
IT WAS BAD IN ANOTHER.
BECAUSE EVERYBODY'S SALARIES,
FROM CREW, STUDIO, BUILDING,
CASTS, ARTISTS, ALL
GOT MUCH MORE MONEY
WHEN IT WAS THE AMERICANS.
NOT NECESSARILY WITH DISNEY.
DISNEY FOUGHT IT WELL.
BUT ALL THE OTHER AMERICAN
COMPANIES, WHEN THEY MOVED
INTO ENGLAND, THEY DIDN'T
CARE WHAT THEY PAID.
WITH THE RESULT
THAT PRICES WENT UP.
AND THEN WHEN THE AMERICANS
WITHDREW FROM ENGLAND,
ENGLAND WAS LEFT WITH HIGH
PRICES, AND NO MARKET TO BE
ABLE TO PAY FOR THE PICTURES
THAT COST WHAT
THEY DO COST TODAY.
AND THAT REALLY IS ONE OF
THE THINGS THAT KILLED
THE BRITISH INDUSTRY.
BECAUSE THE BRITISH
INDUSTRY IS NEARLY KILLED.
I MEAN, IT'S BEEN STRUGGLING
NOW FOR THE LAST TEN,
FIFTEEN YEARS.
WHEREAS THE FRENCH INDUSTRY,
THE FRENCH NEVER LET THE
AMERICANS IN IN THAT WAY.
AND THE FRENCH STILL MAKE A
LOT OF VERY RESPECTABLE AND
FRENCH NATIONAL PICTURES.
BECAUSE THE PRICES,
YOU CAN STILL MAKE
PICTURES MUCH CHEAPER.
BUT THE RESTRICTIONS THAT CAME
ON IN THOSE TIMES, THE UNION
RESTRICTIONS THAT YOU COULD
ONLY WORK SO MANY HOURS,
IT HAD TO BE THEN, YOU HAD
TO GET PERMISSIONS FOR THIS
AND THAT AND THAT.
AND THE COSTS WERE A
VERY BAD THING IN THE END
FOR BRITISH FILM PRODUCTION.

Elwy says IN A WORD, THE FUTURE OF
THE BRITISH FILM INDUSTRY?
WHAT DO YOU...

Leslie says WELL, AT THE MOMENT,
IT'S A VERY SAD STORY
BECAUSE THERE IS NO BRITISH
FILM INDUSTRY, REALLY,
EXCEPT WHERE IT'S CO-FINANCED
BY VARIOUS INTERNATIONAL
CARTELS, OR WHERE IT IS
PRODUCING
CONFESSIONS OF A
DRIVING INSTRUCTOR, WHICH
ONE DOESN'T EVEN BOTHER
TO GO TO SEE.
THE BRITISH FILM INDUSTRY HAS
REALLY ABDICATED ITS ROLE.
AND IF IT EXISTS AT ALL,
I THINK, THAT KIND OF
ENTERTAINMENT EXISTS
ON TELEVISION.
YOU KNOW, ONE DOES GET VERY
GOOD ONE-OFF PLAYS OVER HERE,
AND VERY GOOD SERIES, LIKE
LILY,
DRAMATIC SERIES.
AND I THINK THEY'VE TAKEN OVER
THE ROLE THAT THE BRITISH
FILM INDUSTRY WAS FULFILLING
IN THE THIRTIES AND FORTIES.
BUT OF COURSE THEY CAN'T
DO IT WITH QUITE SUCH FLAIR
BECAUSE TELEVISION BUDGETS
ARE NOT FILM BUDGETS,
AND NEVER COULD BE.

Watch: Thirty Years Of British Cinema