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The Goldfinger laser

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An example of successful set design
Ken Adam Artist
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At the end of the picture, or after the picture came out, United Artists were bombarded with letters from irate American film fans who said, 'How was it possible that a British unit and a British director were able to shoot inside Fort Knox, when the president – our president – is not allowed in it?'

Sir Kenneth Adam, OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam in 1921, is a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: United Artists, Fort Knox

Duration: 32 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 14 October 2011