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Pennies from Heaven: problems selling the film

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'The first and last major musical I had ever designed'
Ken Adam Artist
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It was the first and last major musical I had ever designed and I loved every moment of it because also to see these, you know, 200 dancers, beautiful girls dancing down my staircase off the bank or something like that, and of course we couldn't really afford… You know, what we did, because we couldn't afford to rehearse 200 dancing girls for two weeks or so on, so Nora [Kaye] just had two dancers... dancers with her and she rehearsed all the dance numbers with the two dancers, and then we called the whole lot in I think a day before shooting, because we could never have afforded to pay for that, and Herb [Ross] kept changing his mind so I had to be, you know, very elastic, changing certain designs, coming up with other designs, but I didn't mind that because it was a magical atmosphere at the studio.

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: Nora Kaye, Herbert Ross

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 18 November 2011