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Creating a storm for The Manhattan Project


Collaborating with Peter Yates on Eleni
Billy Williams Film-maker
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The night before the children are due to leave their mother and flee to America, she draws them together in a group, and tells them that tomorrow they're going to escape and that she will have to stay behind, but that she will join them later. Well, she knows that it's more than likely that she won't ever join them and she never does because she's executed. And we rehearsed this scene and I noticed that when she started speaking, she took the hand of Nicholas and held his hand throughout the whole of this kind of little, you know, discussion... what she was telling them, what... what the children had to do and what was going to happen... that she first of all took his hand, so I said to Peter, ’Why don't we start on a close-up of that, with her voice over, so we start on a big close-up of her hand taking her young son's hand and then pull back, to reveal where we are and then just play the... the rest normally?’ And he said: ’Yes, let's do it, fine’. And we did it and it worked. It's lovely when you can work with a director who, if you've got an idea you can feel free to suggest it, and if, you know, if he hadn't liked the idea I... you know, it wouldn't have bothered me enormously but at least one feels that, you know, you've got the ability bring forward ideas and suggestions which... which might help to tell the story visually, and it's things like that, I think, which is part of our responsibility if you like, or opportunity to... to use. And, working with Peter was such fun anyway, lovely man, great sense of humour and I was later to do another picture with him, called Suspect, but this... this was a good movie. I'd love to see it again.

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, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008