Latest Batch of Interviews Digitised in January/ February 2019
Interviews digitised January / February 2019
Ossie Morris # 9 9 sides of tape
Oswald ('Ossie') Morris (1915-2014 ), cinematographer, OBE, BSC, was born on 22 November in Middlesex. One of the most significant cameramen of the post-war era, Ossie began his career working as a projectionist during his school holidays. In 1932, he left school to become an apprentice in the film industry, with his first job as a clapperboy on After Dark(1932) at Associated Sound Film Industries, Wembley. During WWII, Morris served as a bomber pilot for the Royal Air Force, and returned to the film industry when the war ended. After some experience as an operator at Pinewood in 1946, he was given his first film to light in 1950.
His career took off properly in 1952 when he was asked to take over the photography of the film Moulin Rouge, which was to become a milestone in Technicolour photography. He continued to develop new trends in colour cinematography in Moby Dick (1956). He was also equally at home in black and white, working with Vittorio De Sica on Selznick's Stazione Termini (1953). His first feature film as photographer was Look Back in Anger (1959), with well-known classics such as The Guns of Navarone (1961), Lolita (1961), The Hill (1965), Oliver! (1968) (nominated for an Oscar in 1968) and Goodbye Mr Chips (1969) following in quick succession. Pumpkin Eater (1964) won a BAFTA for Best Black and White Cinematography in 1964. He then won an Oscar in 1971 for Fiddler on the Roof (1971), which was shot through a brown silk stocking in order to portray the colours of the Yugoslavian landscape on screen. Other 1970s films include Sleuth (1972), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Man who would be King (1975) and The Wiz (1978) (nominated for an Oscar in 1978), a re-make of The Wizard of Oz. Prior to his retirement in 1982, Morris photographed The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Dark Crystal (1982) with Jim Henson. In 1997 he was awarded an OBE.
Lewis Gilbert # 386 18 sides
British film director, producer and screenwriter, who directed more than 40 films during six decades; among them such varied titles as Reach for the Sky (1956), Sink the Bismarck! (1960), Alfie (1966), Educating Rita (1983) and Shirley Valentine (1989), as well as three James Bond films: You Only Live Twice (1967), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).
Abel Goodman # 245
Born 1931 on General Election day in Birmingham. Moved to Bournemouth at age of 3. First film he saw was Wuthering Heights which frightened him as a small child. The Way Ahead he remembers as one of the many other films he saw. In the film In Which We Serve he thought Noel Coward a ham. The first company Abel Goodman worked for was Cinechrome in Bournemouth, he talks about its setup up and operation. He was a member of the Bournemouth Film Society and then did his National Service in the army. In 1952 he joined Technicolour as Assistant Assembly Editor working with the three matrices. This was suggested as a way to get a union ticket. Then to Elstree as an assistant doing rubber numbering, this was also where Nic Roeg was the Focus Puller. Then to the Film Producers Guild with Green Park in 1954. In November of that year he started working at Merton Park Studios on documentaries. Left Merton Park to Future Productions - an offshoot of Associated Rediffusion working on technical & scientific films. In 1963 he started working in Bond Street on commercials and worked with many famous film directors who did commercials at the time (Ken Russell, Joseph Losey, Philip Saville). Started directing in 1961 inserts for commercials at Garretts and he was appointed Shop Steward at ACTT. Briefly out of work for family reasons 1973 and then worked in Holland until 1978. Worked for Worldwide, Millbank and Moving Picture Company. 1990's moved to video tape.
Michael (Mickey) Hickey # 371
Mickey was a British film industry pioneer.He started his career as a projectionist of silent movies in 1928 at Astoria in Charing Cross Road, London. Soon after, the cinema started showing “talkies”
and he became one of the few people in the country to learn how to operate the new sound equipment.
The interview contains an important discussion of early sound systems.
In the 1930s he worked at Paramount News
When war broke out in 1939, he was drafted into the army’s film unit. Some of the film crews were sent to battlefields in Europe and North Africa, but Mickey spent the war at Pinewood Studios, mainly making training films for new recruits.
After the war he worked as a sound man at MGM’s new studios in Borehamwood, where he stayed until the studios closed in 1969. Among the films he worked on was Lolita, Barry Lyndon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ryan’s Daughter, Where Eagle Dare and Frenzy.
Peter Handford # 71
Peter was a pioneering location sound recordist,
During a career, which stretched from 1936, when he joined Denham Studios as a 17-year-old sound apprentice, to 1988, he worked with host of top flight directors including Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Pollack, Tony Richardson and David Lean. He struck up friendships with Katherine Hepburn, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood and was the proud recipient of an Oscar and a BAFTA award for his work on Out of Africa. Although he worked closely with Hollywood during his later years, he will be forever linked with the English New Wave Free Cinema movement of the 1960s, led by Tony Richardson and including such other leading maverick directors as Karel Reisz, John Schlesinger and Jack Clayton.
He helped create such classics as Room At The Top, The Entertainer, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Sons and Lovers, Billy Liar, Tom Jones, Charge of the Light Brigade and Oh What A Lovely War.
He went on to work on Dangerous Liaisons, Gorillas in the Mist (both 1988) and White Hunter Black Heart (1990). His last film was Havana (also 1990).
Peter also left an enduring legacy to railway historians by recording, and therefore preserving, the sounds of the great steam engines, and ensuring their release on a record label which he himself instigated.
Maurice Carter #174
540 minute interview
Maurice Carter t/role:
Art Director and Production Designer Maurice was born on 24 April 1913 in London. He was one of the first in England to use back projection. He also founded the Guild of Film Art Directors - British Film Designers Guild. He was nominated for Nominated for Academy Awards for Best Art Director 'Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) and 'Becket' (1964) Nominated for BAFTA Awards for Best British Art Direction 'Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)The Quiller Memorandum (1966) and 'Guns at Batasi' (1964).
John Shearman # 23
John Shearman was an active young member of the wartime documentary movement while working at the RAF’s film unit. Post-war, he enjoyed long stays in two key organisations. At omnipresent production consultancy Film Centre, he was a significant behind-scenes influence on the advance of oil filmmaking, particularly Shell’s. On the home front, he became trusted right-hand man to British Rail Films supremo Edgar Anstey. Shearman’s many productions included the sequence of films documenting the 1960s construction of London Underground’s Victoria Line.
John Jeffery # 273
Colour Film Services ,. Technicolor, Humphries. Comment about experience with Stanley Kubrick
John Aldred # 102
John Aldred worked as a sound engineer, sound recordist and dubbing mixer in the film industry from 1937-1986. Worked in order at: Sound City (Shepperton), Denham, Pinewood, Army Film Unit, Crown Film Unit, MGM-Borehamewood, Shepperton and Rank Film Labs. Born in 1921 in Doncaster, son of a dental surgeon, educated at private school, wasn’t that interested in education and he was more interested in cinematography from a young age. His family moved to Middlesex, he left education aged 16 and got a job at Sound City (Shepperton) in 1937 on £1 a week as sound assistant/playback operator. The first film he worked on was Wanted. Here he worked with Vistatone (Marconi) sound equipment at Shepperton and worked with the producer John Baxter (who hired out a stage at Shepperton). His contract lasted six months at Shepperton after which he was made redundant. Through his father’s dental nurse who had a daughter in the wardrobe department at Denham he heard there were openings in the sound department: “…at a marvellous salary of £2 10s. a week”. He used Western Electric equipment at Denham. Worked as sound camera loader? At Denham he was involved in organising the Denham sound department (which consisted of 8 sound crews at that time) into the ACT union in 1938. The membership increased dramatically after a recruiting drive due to the excessively long hours and what he calls “elastic” approach to hours at Denham. At Denham he worked with Cyril Crowhurst who introduced night training classes to the sound department. Also worked with DP Field. Involved in productions such as The Thief Of Baghdad, Citadel and 60 Glorious Years. During the war he was in the sound department making The Lion Has Wings and In Which We Serve. In 1942 he joined the Army Film Unit at Pinewood. Worked as sound camera operator on The True Glory, Desert Victory, The Way Ahead. Recorded war sound effects in Western Europe during WW2 with Peter Handford. The stories about this experience are fascinating. He then joined the Crown Film Unit working under Ken Cameron where he worked on Western Approaches. Through A.W. Watkins he got an interview with Douglas Shearer (head of sound at MGM) in 1947 and was offered twice the pay he was on at Pinewood as sound maintenance engineer at the new MGM Borehamwood studios, after about two years he moved back into production as assistant dubbing mixer. Worked on various films, including Under Capricorn with Hitchcock, on 10-minute shoots. In 1956 he left MGM and moved to Shepperton as he could get over the union rate there, at this time the studio was very busy, employing 13 sound crews. He worked there until 1968 and was dubbing mixer on many films including The Innocents , Dr Strangelove, Lawrence of Arabia. Then had a year contract with Paramount, then worked in Canada and freelance with Hall Wallis, then couldn’t get any work so he got a job as head of sound at Rank Film Laboratories. In 1980 he became involved with the British Kinematograph Sound and Television Society (BSKTS) and was involved in training courses and industry standards in sound. He retired from Rank Film labs in 1986.
Alan Izod # 40
Lived in Australia for formative years moved back to UK and joined Q Studios Marylebone as trainee. Gaumont British Instructional films as asst Director Documentaries Cleveland Street at £5 pw. Dallas Bower and Paul Rotha associates..Editor at Educational General Services 1936 .Worked on naval Films Dinah Sheridan in one.Moved to British Council . 1941 Naval Film Unit making B & W documentaries on Navy. Absorbed into Navy worked alongside John Paddy Carstairs. Joined COI after leaving Navy working on colonial films. Formed Central African Film Unit as Producer 1948 16 mm Documentaries.At this time the interviewer Stephen Peet worked for him until 1956. Louis Nell worked as Cameraman. Working as a colonial making films about Africa from base at Salisbury Rhodesia amongst others Wives of Nendi.1964 stopped film work went to London as Information Officer Was there at Rhodesia UDI . Returned to Rhodesia . To Australia as publisher of school books.
Ken Locke # 444
Head of Film Examination, Programme Acquisitions at the BBC
Gawn Grainger # 738
Mary Orrom # 614
Joe Kerr # 649
Joe Kerr started at BBC as a painter on holiday relief. After joining NAATKE he rose to branch President. Joe Kerr details problems and relates disputes in depth. All techniques of painting in TV studios are covered. At Royal Variety Shows all backroom workers have to be in a dress suit. He recounts how he attempted to revive the comedian Tommy Cooper after he had collapsed on stage. Changed to ITV LWT and continued there on shows of all kinds. Worked on Moonshot the live continuous TV show during the Apollo Moon Landing. Left LWT for freelance on series such as The Bill.