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Three elements working together to make a brilliant film


Kubrick’s skill for revealing the set
Ken Adam Artist
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But it worked in every possible sense, and the actors were part of it.

Stanley shot it brilliantly, against my advice, because I was used… but you... well, you are probably too young, but in the old days the production designer, art director, used to give the director the main set-up for the set, and people like Alfred Junger, these famous people, long before me, used to nail it down or to force the director to shoot it that way. Well, I knew I couldn’t force Stanley to do anything, but I said, ‘Stanley, come on, I’ve done these great sketches for you, you know, and you’re not using that angle at all’. He said, ‘Ken, don’t worry, I will reveal the set as we go along. I don’t want everybody immediately to know what the whole set looks like, and I’m sure you’re not going to be disappointed’. And he was, of course, absolutely right, because it’s been brilliantly shot.

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, Alfred Junger

Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 14 October 2011