a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


A pleasant surprise when filming on location for Women in Love


Women In Love: On location at Kedleston Hall
Billy Williams Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

One often talks about whether it's better to shoot on location or in the studio. What are the advantages and disadvantages of shooting either in the studio or with what's available. Well, on Women in Love we had some marvellous locations. We had Kedleston Hall, which was the ancestral home of the Curzon family, and this was supposed to be the home where Alan Bates' first lover — played by Eleanor Bron — lived. She lived in great luxury and we were given the full range of this magnificent house with all its antiques and precious paintings, but we had certain restrictions on where we could go. And I was very limited into where I could put the lights and there were only a couple of occasions where I was actually able to rig a lamp, and one is a... an extended dance, which takes place with Eleanor Bron and Jennie Linden, Glenda Jackson dancing, and Alan Bates and Oliver Reed, and one or two others are watching this dance, which... which takes place in a beautiful marble hall with columns and candelabra, and the only lamp I could rig was a top... a soft top light with diffusion on it, and I suppose it was about 10 by eight, so I'd got like a very soft top fill light. Everything else I had to do from the floor. Now because I had all these marble columns I could hide lights behind them. So I used mainly direct light to get a... a rather... quite a dramatic look to this sequence.

So that was one scene that we did in this house and there was another one in a room where there were beautiful paintings and lovely antique furniture, and this is the room where Alan Bates and Eleanor Bron struggle and she hits him with a paperweight, which causes all the blood to run down his face, and I couldn't hang any lights at all. The only way of getting some light into the background was bounce a 10K off the ceiling and that gave a little bit of soft light into the background, and the rest I lit from... from stands, you know, around the camera. And then of course there was the... the wrestling scene, which we could never have done in the studio, because you... you would never have designed a... a room like that with these wonderful gothic arches and have a real fire. So there... there was another case where the location gave us this tremendous advantage. And incidentally this was... these were the early days of... of filming sort of extended sequences on location, and we had a marvellous location manager called Lee Bolon and she'd made the deal with the Curzon family and we had this magnificent house with all its grounds for £100 a day... a snip.

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: 3 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008