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The true Stanley Kubrick

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Starting life again after my breakdown
Ken Adam Artist
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It was not the sort of thing I... I wanted ever to go through and, you know. You have a complete breakdown, you think you can't do anything anymore and you really have to start your life again, and what was wonderful that as the next director I had was an Italian called Tinto Brass, who made this film, Salon Kitty, or Madame Kitty, which was almost porn, because Tinto always liked to have a porn element. But he was an unbelievably talented director, and I worked with him in Rome, and in Berlin too for several months, and I got my… but normally I do big... big sketches like that, but I only did small sketches, you know, and he kept all my sketches too, because they were very pretty, but it wasn't the way I normally try to express myself. But I was very lucky that I met Tinto.

And then after that did another picture called The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, which was Sherlock Holmes, which was then back to the big picture-making. And then by that time I was more in Hollywood, in any case, and so I'd lost contact with Stanley, except he used to ring me when he wanted to know something, and we kept a very friendly atmosphere, and also when I came back, and so on. And he always said to me, 'Your Bond sets are fantastic, but I only wish I could photograph them', you know.

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Salon Kitty, Rome, Berlin, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Hollywood, Sherlock Holmes, Tinto Brass, Stanley Kubrick

Duration: 2 minutes, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 11 November 2011