Ken Adam: The Man Who Designed for James Bond and Stanley Kubrick.
You will know Ken Adam for the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove. Or, perhaps his car design for Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. And of course, his unforgettable designs for the James Bond movies - from the specially adapted Aston Martin car, to his vision of Fort Knox in Goldfinger; the jet pack in Thunderball; or his stunning rocket base, within a hollow volcano in You Only Live Twice - Adam has created some of the most brilliant and unforgettable set designs ever filmed.
The 007 Set: A Profile of Ken Adam tells the story of cinema’s best known production designer from his birth in Berlin, between the wars, to his escape to England after the rise of Hitler, his training as an architect, and his career as the Royal Air Force’s only German fighter pilot during World War 2. First broadcast in 1979, this is a fascinating portrait, with great archive and an excellent interview with Ken Adam.
Redesigning the Dr Strangelove war room:
- How Dr No introduced me to Stanley Kubrick
- Dr Strangelove: driving Kubrick no faster than 30mph
- Meeting Kubrick
Ken Adam: The Man Who Designed for James Bond and Stanley Kubrick is.gd/1gOhYt— LaFamiliaFilm (@LaFamiliaFilm) November 8, 2012
September 8, 1925 — July, 24 1980
“He’s the hardest worker I know. I’d come into the [Dr. Strangelove] studio at seven o’clock in the morning and there would be Peter Sellers. Waiting, ready. Full of ideas. When you are inspired and professionally accomplished as Peter, the only limit to the importance of your work is your willingness to take chances. I believe Peter will take the most incredible chances with a characterization, and he is receptive to comic ideas most of his contemporaries would think unfunny and meaningless. This has, in my view, made his best work absolutely unique and important. […]
He has the ability to go into the area where it’s like a dream. He can go into surrealism and keep his other leg in reality. He can do things which are not real—for instance, it’s almost inconceivable that anybody could behave as Strangelove does in the last scene, with the hand. I suppose even a psychotic personality wouldn’t really behave that way. But it’s something somebody might do in a dream.” — Stanley Kubrick
“Kubrick had also intended Sellers to play Major Kong, the commander of the only bomber to get through to its Russian target. Sellers hesitated to take the role of Kong, because he was uncertain that he could master Kong’s Texas twang, but Kubrick remained adamant that he play it. Finally, Sellers accidentally injured his ankle, when he tripped while emerging from his limo, and begged off from doing Kong’s scenes. Kubrick complied, but wondered if Sellers had suffered the fall “accidentally-on-purpose,” to get out of playing a part he was not comfortable with. Kubrick was disappointed that Sellers declined to play the fourth part, since, in his view, that would have meant that almost everywhere the viewer looks, there is some version of Peter Sellers holding the fate of the world in his hands.” [x]