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The Bond gadgets


The Goldfinger laser
Ken Adam Artist
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[Q] Can you just say something about the laser?

Oh, yes.

[Q] It was... in the book it was a circular saw.

Oh, was it? Yeah. Well, yes, I don't know whether I came up with this or whether the script called for a laser, and we called it the laser room, as part of Goldfinger's factory, really, and he used it to cut the gold, or various things. But I really didn't know much about lasers at the time, and as on Dr No, I had made the acquaintance of two young scientists, who worked at Harwell, I think, and I came up with a design, you know, a futuristic design, but also a visual thing, and brought in these Harwell boys, and they said, 'Yeah, why not?', you know. And I always found that later, when I came up with something and, you know, you went to the real guys, they said, 'Yes’, or, ‘Maybe we have to lower the engine, or something, but that will work', you know. And that was that famous laser, you know, which is a terrifying scene with… Goldfinger was brilliantly played at that time, and the laser sort of entering the private parts of Sean Connery.

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: Harwell, Goldfinger, Sean Connery

Duration: 1 minute, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 14 October 2011