Ken Maidment

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29 Oct 1991
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Born Shepherd’s Bush 1922, went to Latymer Upper School, left in 1938 with 8 credits, wanted to be an architect first choice, second choice Accountancy. Got a job with British Lion as an office boy, volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm, after an accident returned to ‘civvy street’ and British Lion. When Worton Hall came onto the market having been de-requisitioned from the Ministry of Defence he helped recommission it as a working studio. He talks about his first job as Production Accountant on Candlelight in Algiers, made for £48,000. It came The Bridge over the River Kwai.out £5 under budget. When Worton Hall closed he moved over to manage Merton Park studios The First Gentleman. In 1949 Columbia asked him to join them and find the reasons why, budgeted for £250,000 finally cost £500,000. He talks about that incident after that Columbia made him Production Controller for Columbia British, he talks about Mario Zampi. In 1950 he became the General Manager of International Film Distributors, but by 1953 TV had killed their business. So, he went back to Columbia. Talks about Red Berets, Hell Below Zero, and The Black Knight. He also talks about Sam Spiegel and Carl Foreman and


Talking about Irving Allen and Zarak [Khan]. He talks about Richard Burton in Bitter Victory with Christopher Lee. Has an interesting story about the making of Peter Glenville’s Me and the Colonel and finding a ‘period’ Rolls-Royce. He talks about Suddenly Last Summer, Lawrence of Arabia, and how he suggested Peter O’Toole for the part, having seen him in a West End play, The Long and the Short and the Tall. There is an interesting story about Herbert Wilcox threatening to make a film of the stage play Ross, and release it before Lawrence came out unless they bought him out for £100,000.


1966. He talks about The Wrong Box, The Key. He then talks about the drink problems of some actors. He continues to talk about many of the films he was responsible for including The Man for all Seasons.


Talks about his association with John Woolf Oliver!, [DS1] Born Free. He also talks about studio shooting as opposed to ‘location shooting’. The value of ‘matte work’. In 1960 he became the Vice-President of Columbia International Pictures and he talks about financing films in various European countries.


He talks about filming Cromwell in Spain, then his visit to Persia [now Iran] to advise on the possibility of a film industry. He also talks about filming in Turkey for You Can’t Win ‘em All, and how the man who was contracted to supply both horses and men tried to ‘blackmail’ him into increasing the contractual price. He talks about trying to make films with a ‘blocked’ currency and how they always seem to cost much more. In 1976 when Columbia closed down their British and European operations, he became a consultant for them; he also talks about Harold Wilson asking him to go and talk to the City to try and get help for the British Film industry. In that year he became the President of BFTPA [British Film and Television Producers Association] and also its chief executive. He talks about his attempt to get and get some form of tax relief, which did come into being after the 1979 General Election.


Because of the new ‘capital allowances’ leasing companies came in but as soon as the Inland Revenue realised that these allowances were being abused, they were withdrawn. He then talks about his general thoughts.