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Shooting A Likely Story under a tax shelter


The Glass Menagerie
Billy Williams Film-maker
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I only shot the first 11 minutes of The Exorcist and then the next film I did was The Glass Menagerie with Tennessee Williams, directed by Anthony Harvey, with Katharine Hepburn in the leading role and her son Tom played by Sam Waterston, and we shot it on a composite set at Pinewood, and the financing was from television. It was going to be a movie of the week for ABC in America. I remember having a discussion with... with Tony Harvey, who insisted that the film was actually going to be released as a movie, and so when we shot the picture we framed it for 1:8:5, although it was initially going to be shown on television, but we framed it for 1:8:5 because we all felt the film was going to come out in cinema as well and it was... I mean, it was... it was a good picture, it was beautifully played and meeting Miss Hepburn and working with her was just kind of an amazing experience because she... she had such a presence and such a personality, and strength. She had a way of... of getting what she wanted and she had an extraordinary relationship with... with Anthony Harvey, who'd previously been an editor, and they had, a couple of years before, done a very successful picture called The Lion In Winter, Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, and it was... their relationship was... was like a... an aunt with a favourite nephew, in that she was kind of protective of him and he was willing to... very anxious to please her all the time, because everything was... was... you know, it was... revolved around Kate's performance and... and of her having her way, and Tony was... was kind of working in that direction all the time. And it worked because I mean she's a central character and it was a very good film. But sadly, apart from a showing at the London Film Festival, it... it never went into the cinema, and I was told afterwards it was because the producers refused to pay the actors the extra fee to release it as a movie. So it's never been shown as a movie.

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, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008