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Toshirō Mifune's screen presence on Agaguk


Fibreglass igloos built for Agaguk
Billy Williams Film-maker
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We went into the studio and we had igloos made of fibreglass, obviously they couldn't be made of snow. We had fibreglass igloos and it's an extraordinary feeling being in an igloo because you have no sense of distance because every... everything is round and white and in one side as you come in the igloo, always on the left, is a small fire burning in a piece of soapstone... soapstone and... and they use whale oil or seal oil and they burn a... a wick of moss, and this provides light at night and they also cook by it, there's a little cooking stove hanging just above this flame. And of course, just above the fire you get a certain amount of melting from the snow but otherwise the temp... temperature inside the igloo is below freezing and that's the way they live. And it, you know, it was wonderful, sort of studying how... how the igloo [sic] lived years ago because this hardly exists now, living in igloos except occasionally when they go on hunting expeditions. So we were recreating the way they lived... the picture was set in the 1930s.

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, 27 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008