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'There were too many real bombs around': making Ten Seconds to Hell

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Getting rid of diplomatic cars
Ken Adam Artist
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He also had an assistant, it was Kevin McClory, I don't know if you know him, and we were shooting the big scenes in the Rue de Rivoli, and... outside the Ritz, and... outside the...  Tuileries, and all that, and I changed shop fronts, and so on, and it looked pretty good.

But there were about seven or eight cars parked, and we couldn't get rid of them. So Kevin MClory called in the police, and said, 'You better get rid of these cars, because we have, you know, a world production', so the Chief of Police got rid of all the cars. What he didn't realise, they said they're all diplomatic cars. That's a true story. And he got fired and no film company was allowed for two years to shoot in Paris after that, you know. But that was Todd, you know, he was completely ruthless, you know. So it added quite a lot to... to my education... in big films. And, so you know, I got my first Oscar nomination, but I didn't win the Oscar.

And... I mean he was bigger than life, and Todd-AO was bigger than life, and he knew that, and the film was an... an enormous success. And then shortly afterwards he was killed in a... in a flying accident.

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: Rue de Rivoli, Ritz, Tuileries, Paris, Kevin McClory

Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 14 September 2011