Alan Hume

Alan Hume
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Interview Date(s): 
6 Feb 1992
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Interview notes


[Alan Lawson says this was one of the most enjoyable interviews he had been involved with]


Born in Putney, London 1924. Local school. Evacuated in Sept 1939, returned in 1939 and starts apprenticeship with LPT [London Passenger Transport] following family tradition. Whilst travelling to Acton on the tube [underground] he met an Olympic Labs man and, as he was getting bored with LPT, he went to Alf Skitrell (Manager, Olympic) and was given a job as a general ‘dogsbody’. One of his jobs was to go to the studios and help collect the rushes. On one trip he met Bert Easy, Denham camera department manager, and describes what he saw when he went on the [studio] floor. Whilst at Olympic Labs he was moved to the printing department where they were using the ‘multi-printer’ to print off four copies of Paramount News at a time. He got bored with the Printing Department and managed to move over to Denham as a ‘clapper-loader’ and he talks about those days. At the age of 18 he got his call-up and went into the Navy. After basic training he went on the photographic course. Demobbed in 1946 he eventually went back to Ealing, where he did have reinstatement rights. He was made very unwelcome by Gordon Dines, the Head of the Camera Department, and stayed there for four months with virtually no work to do. Went to Denham where he stayed for two years, then to Pinewood where he stayed for 6 to 7 seven years. He talks about working on Oliver Twist as focus-puller. He then went to work with Peter Ellenshaw who had been trained by ‘Pop’ Day (the master of all mattes); also there was Les Ostinelli [BEHP Interview No 266] he relates working with Guy Green {Interview No 233], then he got a chance to operate with Wilkie Cooper. Later he got a contract with British Lion (Shepperton) as camera operator (£25 a week). He then started working at Beaconsfield with Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas as operator on the Carry On series and eventually became lighting cameraman.



Still talking about Carry Ons; of the 16 he lit 14. Then he decided he needed a change and went on to make some of The Avengers series. He then got his first real break, Bear Island, directed by Don Sharp, [Interview No 304] then after that some other films until John Glen [Interview 747] asked him to go on to For Your Eyes Only, then Octopussy. After those he went to work with Richard Marquand on [Starwars Episode VI] The Return of the Jedi, then another James Bond, A View to a Kill, etc., etc., until A Fish Called Wanda, on which film, he got three-quarters of one percentage [royalties?]. He talks about the use of an agent. He also talks about working with Lewis Gilbert [Interview 386] on Stepping Out and Shirley Valentine. Then he talks on technical matters.


He talks about Guy Green, Otto Heller, Jeff Unsworth; film stock, light meters, the position of the camera operator. Working at the National Film School, he also talks about the encouragement from Directors and other cameramen, laboratories and ‘gaffers’ [chief electrician]. He has an amusing story about yellow tape which he wears on his arm.


He continues his ‘yellow tape’ story and then talks about Harry Waxman.