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No urge to be a director


The Madness of King George: protecting the director
Ken Adam Artist
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Even with a first time director like Nick, a very good cameraman, myself who was with him all the time, wonderful actors, cast, which he had directed at the National, you know, in the play, it worked, and it worked extremely well, and a very great… good costume designer too, and you know, one tried to protect him obviously because Hollywood was trying at one time to dictate what they wanted to see and what they didn't want to, I said, ‘Nick, if they say a certain shot didn't work and you agree with that, do it again, but if they want to dictate to you you're too talented to be influenced by that’, you know, and I think that helped him too because he's an... he's an enormously talented guy, not necessarily a film maker... but on that film he was because it somehow worked, I mean, the script by… I keep forgetting the names now… by… I've got his book there. It's terrible, isn't it? Alan Bennett. Alan Bennett, yes, of course, yeah. By Alan Bennett, yeah... was fabulous, and everybody got affected by that, by...by the scenes and by the way, and then how certain things came up, by the performance of the actors and so on. Yeah, Helen Mirren played the queen, but he was wonderful too.

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: Hollywood, Nicholas Hytner, Alan Bennett, Helen Mirren

Duration: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 11 November 2011