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A tricky scene at the magic hour in On Golden Pond


Losing the make-up battle with Jane Fonda
Billy Williams Film-maker
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We'd been shooting with... with Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda for a week or two before we came to our first scene with... with Jane and when she came on set her makeup was very dark, she looked sort of very much over made-up, so I called the makeup-man on set and said ‘Well, you know, what's.. what’s happened with the makeup?’ and he said, ’Well, Miss Fonda did it herself’ and this brought back memories to me of when I'd had a similar experience with... with Orson Wells so I thought well I... I must, as discreetly as possible, talk to her about this so I went to her and said ’Look Jane, you know, your makeup does look very dark’ and she said ’Well I want to look suntanned because I've just come from Los Angeles and everybody in Los Angeles has got a suntan and I think this is right for the role’. And she wouldn't budge. She did her own makeup for the whole of the picture and to my eye she always looked made up and she looked too dark because Miss Hepburn didn't wear any makeup apart from a little powder and lipstick and she had a very pale skin, so when the two of them are together there's a big contrast which... which troubles me but there was nothing I could do about it. That's what she wanted and... and I had to accept it. Can't win them all.

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, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008