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Making In the Cool of the Day with Jane Fonda
Ken Adam Artist
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I did a film with Jane Fonda but... it was, I think her second film, and John Houseman was the producer of it, the famous John Houseman. And it was Jane's second film, and we had a lot of problems on the film because the director was very inexperienced, an American director who'd only done some TV films, and was highly sensitive.

And, Jane, in those days, couldn't sometimes see the difference between playing a film part and... and real life, and fortunately we had Peter Finch playing her... her lover, I think, and... but we had a lot of incredible situations. I built part of Central Park, the bridge, or something, at the studios here, and Jane was supposed to play a scene with... with Peter. And her boyfriend, who was a... a strange guy, was standing next to me and he said, 'Jane is not relaxed at all, go and tell her that she's got to scream'. I said, 'I'm not the director of the picture. It's not up to me. If you want to talk to the director', I mean... 'No, no, no, no', he said, and he was a strange guy. So I ran on to the set and told Jane. She believed in him... this man. He was her guru, you know... that she had to scream to get rid of anxieties. Well, suddenly there was a scream on the... on the stage of MGM, and the soundman came from behind the flats, you know, to see what happened. And it was that sort of picture, and I remember these sorts of things.

And one more anecdote that I remember also is that I'm sitting with Jane, having lunch in the commissariat at MGM, and John Houseman, who was the producer, came to our table with Peggy Cummins, who played Jane's mother, to introduce Peggy to Jane, because they had to play together, and Jane behaved atrociously. And, you know, I was embarrassed and John was very embarrassed. Peggy Cummins [sic] was too clever an actress to be embarrassed. They left, and I said, 'Jane, what... what's happened to you?' And she said, 'You have no idea what went on with me and my mother'. I said, 'But you're an actress, she's playing your mother'. And she was like that. I mean, I did a film with her much later in Canada, and she was a completely changed person, but this, remember, was one of her very, very early films, and she had this affair with this guru, Voutsinas, or... a Greek, or something, who was… you know, and the director was himself a... very shaky, and so it had its interesting sides, but it wasn't a particularly good picture.

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: Central Park, MGM, Jane Fonda, John Houseman, Peter Finch, Peggy Cummins

Duration: 4 minutes, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 14 October 2011