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Working with Ted Kotcheff on Two Gentlemen Sharing


Did anyone understand the plot of The Magus?
Billy Williams Film-maker
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So we shot the whole of The Magus on this beautiful island of Majorca; lovely locations, good... good artists and a good crew, but the problem was that nobody understood the script and quite recently I was with Guy Green and we... we were talking about The Magus and he told me for the first time, he said: ‘I did not understand the story’. It’s a really enigmatic story, and even if you read the book a few times I think it's still equally difficult to know what it's really about. And... and this comes through in the movie I think. You know, we had a wonderful performance from Quinn all the time he was on screen, you know, mesmerising, a great screen actor, but... but we didn't know what it all added up to in the end except that none of us really knew where we were all going. Difficult to give a performance if you don't know what it's about, isn't it? Yes, yes. Except that he was supposed to be mystical and he had this aura about him, which... which was good, but it was a film in which nothing was really what it seemed to be. And... although we had everything going for us, we had a good budget and we shot it again in Panavision, and we had marvellous locations and a great designer and a cast, it didn't succeed and it wasn't a commercial success.

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, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008