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Successful day for night scenes in Women in Love


Filming the climax of the wrestling scene in Women in Love
Billy Williams Film-maker
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We went off to Switzerland and... for a couple of weeks and shot in the snow. Whilst we were in Switzerland the editor put the scene together and when we came back Ken looked at it and he said: ’We've got to do some more wrestling’. Well we were no longer at the location in Derbyshire; we were in London at a small studio at Merton Park, where we had a few close scenes to do, a few scenes on small sets, and we had to match the wrestling because Ken wanted to shoot a sequence at high speed — 72 frames a second — of the... of a.. the kind of climax to this wrestling where, instead of throwing themselves around all over the floor, they came into very close physical contact and they were kind of embracing each other at the same time as they were trying to... one was trying to force the other to yield and fall to the floor. And we shot it at... at 72... all I had were some matching flats and a couple of candelabra and the original rug that we had on location. So we matched it just really by... by staying close and matching the lighting style. But, of course, I had to use a lot more light because instead of shooting at 24 I was at three times the speed; I needed another... stop and a half. And when it's cut together you... you don't see... you don't realise there's been a cut and... and it finishes with them falling down in close-up onto this rug and it's at 72, and then cutting to a wider shot, which was at the original 24, as they fall apart, and the cut works; absolutely great. So it's one  of... it was a scene that caused a great deal of controversy. In fact, the film should have been released by the Rank Organisation but because of this scene and... and various other scenes of love making, which were quite sort of frank and revealing for the time, Rank refused to release the picture, and so in England it went out on the... the other circuit, the ABC circuit.

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, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008