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Lighting issues when shooting On Golden Pond


Offers to work on On Golden Pond and Gandhi
Billy Williams Film-maker
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In the spring of 1980 I was sent the script of On Golden Pond, which was going to star Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, and directed by Mark Rydell. Well I'd never met Mark Rydell and in fact the job came to me largely through my friend Vilmos Zsigmond who’d worked with Mark on several pictures. So it was agreed that I would go to New Hampshire and look at the locations with... with Mark and see if we liked each other before any deal was made. And so I went for a few days and we met, and I met Stephen Grimes who was English who was the production designer. And we looked around this wonderful location called Lake Squam. It was a small protected lake in New Hampshire renowned for the loons, very rare birds which feature in the course of our story. And so I had a good look round, and the... the film was going to be shot about 50% on exteriors around the lake and... and the remainder in this beautiful house which was set on the shores of the lake and for which Stephen Grimes had taken out certain partition walls inside and... and built a second story upstairs because we needed that in the course of the story. So then I came back home for a few weeks while the preparations were made to... to shoot, and during that time I was sent another script by Richard Attenborough, Gandhi. And I went to meet Richard and we had worked previously for a few days, in fact in which you were the camera operator, Neil, a few days on Young Winston, when Gerry Turpin, the cameraman was away sick and we did a... a few... a few scenes on a railway, and so we had worked once before. Anyway, the... it was a huge script in two parts, and I read the first part in one evening. And I knew that... that Dickie was going to India the next day to kind of carry on with the preparations for the film, and so having read the first half, I sent him a cable which he would receive before he flew away to India and I just said: ’Yes, love Billy’, because it was an absolutely marvellous script.

Billy Williams, London-born cinematographer Billy Williams gained his first two Oscar nominations for the acclaimed “Women in Love” and “On Golden Pond”. His third nomination, which was successful, was for the epic “Gandhi”. He was President of the British Society of Cinematographers, and was awarded the Camera Image Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Listeners: Neil Binney

Neil Binney began working as a 'clapper boy' in 1946 on spin-off films from steam radio such as "Dick Barton". Between 1948-1950 he served as a Royal Air Force photographer. From 1950 he was a Technicolor assistant technician working on films such as John Ford's "Mogambo" (photographed by Freddie Young), Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (Bob Burke), and Visconti's "Senso" (G.R. Aldo/B. Cracker). As a camera assistant he worked on "Mind Benders", "Billy Liar" and "This Sporting Life". Niel Binney became a camera operator in 1963 and worked with, among others, Jack Cardiff, Fred Tammes and Billy Williams. He was elected associate member of the British Society of Cinematographers in 1981 and his most recent credits include "A Fish Called Wanda" and "Fierce Creatures".

Duration: 2 minutes, 39 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008