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Background to The Wind and the Lion


Shooting A Likely Story under a tax shelter
Billy Williams Film-maker
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I went to Dublin to do a film, which... which... the title of which kept changing and it finished up by being called A Likely Story, and it was a low budget film made under some kind of tax shelter arrangement, and the director was William Kronick, whom I'd not heard of before, and it was a story of a counterfeit gang and it was partly comic and partly dramatic, and we had some lovely locations and a lovely cast, and I enjoyed doing it but the picture never went anywhere; I never... it was never released and I found out since then... I had more experiences with other films, that... that these movies that are made under some kind of tax shelter arrangement, they very often don't get seen because they... they go out... they're made without a distribution deal, they're very often made by people who are not serious filmmakers... you know, they're setting up a picture so they can get the tax benefits of the particular country they're working in; in this case it was in Ireland. We were shooting in Ireland but the money was Canadian I think and... oh, it... it's all so devious that... you know one doesn't want to know too much about that side of it. So it didn't get shown except within the trade because a few months after that I was asked to do quite a big American picture called The Wind And The Lion, and it was an MGM picture and the producer, Herb Jaffe, had seen this little film that I'd shot in Dublin and that's, I think, partly how I came to get the picture; that he quite liked the look of this film.

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, 51 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008