James (Jimmy) Shields

James (Jimmy)
Family name: 
Work area/craft/role: 
Interview Number: 
Interview Date(s): 
29 Feb 2000
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 

Horizontal tabs

Interview notes

A Summary of the JIM SHIELDS Interview. File 47O.

Side 1.

Born in 1931 at Shenfie1d, in Essex.  At the age of 4, the family moved to Midd1esex because his father's firm moved from the City to Brentford.

He was educated at a number of different schools, which he mentions, ending up at Clark's College in Ealing.

His father was horrified when Jim announced that he wanted to enter the film industry instead of going on to University to follow a career similar to his father's.

In 1947 he applied at the junior employment exchange at Hounslow for a job, stating that he wished to enter the film industry; whereupon an interview was arranged with the personne1 manager at Worton Hall Studios.  He wanted to enter the camera department but there were no vacancies. This was a time when jobs were at a premium because staff were now returning from their Nationa1 Service to take up their previous appointments. He was offered a job as a messenger boy, which, at first, he turned down. But as he was leaving the studio it was suggested that if he changed his mind, he should 'phone. He did so, and was told to start at two o'c1ock!

He remained in that position for a year until he was approached by Madalene Godar who asked him what he wanted to do. He said that he wanted to enter the cutting rooms.

He was then interviewed by Jerry Blatner, the studio manager.

He joined ACT and started as a numbering boy where he met Teddy Darvas for the first time. There was a problem over Union membership at first, but Teddy was able to pull a few strings, and since he was a personal friend of Alexander Korda, 'tickets' were issued, although not without some trepidation from the membership!

Jim mentions a few of the pictures that were in production at that time - THE LAST DAYS of DOLWYN, THE CURE FOR LOVE, THE WINSLOW BOY and BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE.


In 1949 he was called up and shortly after that, Worton Hall closed.  He served in Egypt for 20 months and when he returned, Worton Hall had just reopened again but refused to give him his job back. The matter had to be referred to the Army Tribunal who settled the matter amicably.

The first picture he helped out on was THE AFRICAN QUEEN, followed by TWICE UPON A TIME, when Worton Hall closed down again, and Jim was transferred to Shepperton.

In order to obtain promotion as a first assistant, he was sent away to work on ROUGH SHOOT at Riverside Studios, returning as 1st.Assistant at Shepperton to work with Teddy Darvas on THE HEART of the MATTER, the first time that he'd worked on the dubbing side.  This was followed by THE MAN BETWEEN, A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS and THREE CASES OF MURDER. He talks about Bert Bates and Berty Rule and their method of working. Then came THE DEEP BLUE SEA and STORM OVER THE NILE, said to be the first two pictures recorded in stereo sound.

After that he dubbed some of the Danziger TV films and talks about the two brothers and their method of working.

Jim was involved with 39 of these films plus two features and a tidying up job on SATELLITE in the SKY.

Jim talks about the technical problems on early stereo sound films When the Danziger employment came to an end in 1956, he found himself unemployed for the first time in his life and had to register at the Labour Exchange and the ACT employment bureau. He worked for Film Partnership for a few days and mentions working for Richard Dimbleby who was doing a film about the refugee problem.


In 1956, an event occurred which shaped his whole life, when he received a 'phone call from Teddy Darvas who was about to leave for Ceylon to work on THE BRIDGE on the RIVER KWAI.  Jim was invited to work as an assistant to Tony Harvey on BROTHERS IN LAW for the Boulting Brothers.

He was now a dubbing editor, and reminisces about the Boulting Brothers and events in general.

Shortly after our interview, Jim, whose credits have appeared under his full name of James Shields, presented us with a list of pictures he was credited with as dubbing editor, supervising editor, and his numerous awards and BAFTA nominations.  They read like an inventory of major British movies and total around 90 or more, not to mention the TV films!! [see under biography tab]

To aid historians and researchers, I have annotated each title on the three pages of lists with a number which refers to the cassette side (l to 4) on which that particular production is discussed.  It is not the purpose of a Summary to go into fine detai1, but where, in my view, something of special interest is mentioned, this will be included.

Jim goes on to provide us with some interesting facts about the business of motion picture dubbing as he recalls some of the earlier methods and sound systems. Mention is made of the first film that was done with magnetic loops - THE BABY and the BATTLESHIP.

In 1959, mention is made of Jimmy Wright who was blind and started up the 'Talking Books' for the blind.  He was blinded and disfigured during the war, but was able to participate in film production in every conceivable way.

Also in the same year, Jim was offered a job on EXODUS doing 'footsteps' in stereo.

18 pictures were covered on Side 1.  From 1956 to 1963.


Jim explains the meaning of 'Foley' and 'Walla' and how these terms originated.


25 pictures were covered on Side 2. From 1963 to 1973. Side 3.

Jim compares the post sync systems, the old and the new - with ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) coming into use in 1979Reference to its use in other films and how the actors responded to the system is discussed.  He discovered that they worked ADR differently in the States.

24 pictures were covered on Side 3. From 1973 to 1985.



SLIPSTREAM is mentioned as being made in 1998 which is incorrect.  The year should be 1988.

 ENTRAPMENT, 1998 was the first time Jim had worked on computers.  He found it much easier than working on 35mm: He details the operationa1 procedures.

18 pictures were covered on Side 4. From 1956 to 1998.

JIM SHIELDS was interviewed by TEDDY DARVAS. DAVID MATHEB ROBSON recorded it and wrote the Summary.








[Transcribed from Jim Shield’s handwritten note. DS]

As Dubbing Editor:

[Referred to on Side 1 of the recording]:

1956 Brothers in Law

1957 Lucky Jim; Happy is the Bride

1958 Tread Softly Stranger

1959 Carlton Brown of the F.O.

1959 Exodus [helper]

1959 Don’t Panic Chaps

1959 Faces in the Dark

1960 Cone of Silence

1960 The Queens Guards

[Referred to on Sides 1 and 2 of the recording]:

1961 The Young Ones

1961 Girl on a Boat

1961 It’s Trad Dad

1962 The Boys

1962 The Brain

1962 Summer Holiday

1963 80,000 Suspects

[Referred to on Side 2 of the recording]:

1963 The Chalk Garden

1963 The Beauty Jungle

1964 Mr Moses [helper]

1964 Every Day’s a Holiday

1964 Ballad in Blue

1964 One Day in London

1965 Where the Spies Are

1965 The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery

[Not referred to on recording]:

1966 Battle of the Bulge [helper]

[Referred to on Side 2 of the recording]:

1966 Casino Royale

1967 Assignment K

1967 Twist of Sand

1967 The Magus

1968 Battle of Britain [joint; Supervising Sound Editor]

1969 The Three Sisters

1970 Scrooge [Supervising Sound Editor]

1970 Forbush and the Penguins

1971 Man in the Wilderness

1971 Diamonds are Forever [joint Supervising Sound Editor]

1972 I am a Dancer

1972 Gawain and the Green Knight [joint]

1972 Alice in Wonderland

1972 Escort Service

[Referred to on Sides 2 and 3 of the recording]:

1973 Live and Let Die [joint Supervising Sound Editor]

[Referred to on Side 3 of the recording]:

1973 Bunny Caper

1974 Dogpound Shuffle

1974 Death Wish [joint]

1974 The Man with the Golden Gun

1975 House on Straw Hill a.k.a. Exposé 

1975 Mohammed [helper]

1976 Gulliver’s Travels

1976 Water Babies

1977 Spectre

1978 Oliver Twist

1978 Thief of Baghdad

1978 Alien [Supervising Sound Editor]

1979 The Hard Way

1979 Watcher in the Woods [Supervising Sound Editor]

1980 Chariots of Fire [Supervising Sound Editor]

1981 Alice

1981 Enigma

1982 Witness

1983 Yentl [Supervising Sound Editor]

1983 To Catch a King

1983 Master of the Game

1984 A Christmas Carol

1984 Legend [Supervising Sound Editor]

1985 FX [Supervising Sound Editor]

[Referred to on Side 4 of the recording]:

1986 White of the Eye

1986 Once More the Stars

1986 Creep Show 2

1987 Frantic [ADR Editor]

1987 The Apple Tree [helper]

1987 Someone to watch over Me [Supervising Sound Editor]

1988 Slipstream

1988 Brutal Glory

1989 Sandgrass People

1989 Act of Will [helper FTS]

1990 See More Productions [?]

1990 Not Without My Daughter [Supervising Sound Editor]

1990 Thelma & Louise [Supervising Sound Editor]

1991 Shuttlecock [dialogues]

1991 Blade Runner Director’s Cut

1992 1492 [Supervising Sound Editor]

1992 Alien 3 [ADR Editor]

1993 No Escape [Penal Colony] [Supervising Sound Editor]

1994 Madness of King George [Dialogue Editor]

1995 Goldeneye [Supervising Sound Editor]

1996 True Blue

1997 The Saint {Supervising Sound Editor]

1998 Entrapment {Supervising Sound Editor]


[All dates as given by Jimmy Shields]

1968 Battle of Britain.  GBFE Award. BAFTA Nomination

1980 Chariots of Fire. BAFTA and MPSE Golden Reel Nomination; GBFE Award

1981. Alien. BAFTA Award; GBFE Award

1987 Frantic. MPSE Golden Reel Nomination

1990 Thelma & Louise. MPSE Golden Reel Nomination; GBFE Award

1992 1492. MPSE Golden Reel Nomination

1992 Alien 3. MPSE Golden Reel Award

1995 Goldeneye. GBFE Award. BAFTA Nomination

1998 Entrapment. MPSE Golden Reel Nomination