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My lighting techniques for On Golden Pond


On Golden Pond: a success for everyone but Lew Grade
Billy Williams Film-maker
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It was a very happy picture. I had a house on the other side of the lake and Ann came out with my four daughters, Claire, Helen, Jo... Jo and Kate and we enjoyed some time on the lake. Of course I was working six days a week but it was lovely to have them there and... I've always enjoyed when they've been able to come and be with me for a while on location. It was such a happy picture and of course it was a success, it was a huge commercial success, but it wasn't such a success for Lew Grade because he'd financed the picture. And this was the third picture I'd done with him and he'd made a lot of really big budget pictures, not very many winners. And just before we got the end of shooting On Golden Pond he released a film called Raise the Titanic and it was a complete disaster. As a result of that, he had to sell his distribution company. I think it was called General Distributors. So when On Golden Pond came out, although he'd produced the film, he didn't have his distribution company anymore. Universal released the picture and I think they take a third of the profit, so he lost all that revenue. From a picture that was... I think that and The Pink Panther were the most successful films that Lew Grade ever made. And, I recently did a commentary for the DVD which was... which was nice, in which I talk about some of these things that I've been saying to you.

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: 1 minute, 46 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008