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My granddaughter's acting debut in The Rainbow


Working with Ken Russell again on The Rainbow
Billy Williams Film-maker
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In 1988 I received a call from Ken Russell's producer; would I like to do another film with him, The Rainbow. Well, I hadn't worked with Ken since Women in Love, and the reason was that he... he invited me to photograph The Devils, and after a lot of soul-searching and in view of the nature of the material, I decided I didn't want to do it so I turned it down, so he'd gone for a long time using several other cameramen and now he'd asked... asked me to go back and film another story by DH Lawrence, The Rainbow, which in fact was the novel before Women in Love and it's about the same family. And he also invited the same production designer that we had on Women in Love and Glenda Jackson and Christopher Gable, who had a small part in Women in Love. Also in the cast were Sammi Davis and Paul McGann and David Hemmings, and... it was a much lower budget picture and unfortunately, we didn't go to the coalmining areas to shoot; it was shot in Oxfordshire and London and the Lake District. And we... we had some nice locations but they didn't look like the coalmining areas where it should have been set. And although it was... it was great to work with him again, and we just came together as if we hadn't been apart all that time and there was no kind of hard feelings, you know, that I’d... he never mentioned the fact again that I'd turned him down. And we came back and it was... it was like old times, except — old times — except we... we were both a lot older. And, although the... I mean, it was a... it was a good film, but it didn't have the impact of Women in Love-, I... I think it didn't have the originality; we didn't have any wonderful night exteriors or dusk scenes or mining communities and it lacked that gritty earthiness which was so essential.

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, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008