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Dr Strangelove: driving Kubrick no faster than 30mph


Meeting Kubrick
Ken Adam Artist
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We met at some hotel... I can’t remember... off Bond Street, and I was really bowled over by his enthusiasm, and almost... naivety with the questions he asked. And then I started scribbling while he was explaining some of his ideas, and he looked at my scribbles and said, ‘That’s exactly it, that’s the ballroom and the way it should look, like that’. And I’d come up with a two-level ballroom, and... rather like a sort of amphitheatre... and he said, that’s fine, you know. And so I thought to myself, this is easy, this man has such a difficult reputation, and he loves everything I’m doing, this should be a piece of cake, really. Little did I 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: Stanley Kubrick

Duration: 1 minute, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 14 October 2011