Noreen Ackland

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Interview Date(s): 
16 Jun 1994
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Alan Lawson  0:07  
the copyright of this recording is vested in the back to history project. Noreen Ackland feature film editor, wife of Dick best an editor on file number eight. Interviewer Alan Lawson, recorded on the 16th of June 1994. Side one

well, knowing first, when and where were you born?

Noreen Ackland  0:44  
I was born in Brentwood. Now in Oakley green, near Windsor, in 19. Knights of the Knights 1921

Alan Lawson  0:56  
A schooling.

Noreen Ackland  0:58  
First of all, I was christened by the vicar of brain which is quite fun. I mean, it was the brain. schooling, I went to school and we moved to Hempstead. I went to school there and the kindergartens. They had to take me away because I was crying. So I wanted to go home. And then we moved to wheeled stone near Hara. And I went to school there and Grant Road to the council's. And then I pass the exam to go to Harrowed County School, which opened. What about 3033 1932? Or 3332? Or 33? Was COVID. Was it? Yes, it was one of the few.

And then I had a very bad bout of pneumonia. So I didn't go on to as my, my dad hoped I would go on to university past exams, because it happened just when I was 16.

Alan Lawson  2:12  
So in fact, what what was it called in matric? Well, the trick

Noreen Ackland  2:15  
that I know it was off for a year. But I left school when I was 18. And the doctor said, work locally. Don't travel. I wanted to be a model. Of course, it'll be the same. So I went to codec. Oh, yes, it is films. Yes. Yes. Which is why when I was caught up in 1942. And they interviewed me. And after I'd done my training. They sent me to Wembley.

Alan Lawson  2:54  
Now before we go to that, what did you do at Codex?

Noreen Ackland  2:58  
Oh, I was just in the office. Office. What is the clock? Yes, yes. I think it was

over I can't remember if it was something to do with orders. And keeping the stocks? Yes.

Alan Lawson  3:16  
Was it totally dried out? You know, what was it? Still? No,

Noreen Ackland  3:19  
it was paper paper.

Alan Lawson  3:22  
I must ask you because the next thing is is there any family connection with film business? No. Rodney was no relation. No, not that I know of. And Joss Ackland No relation.

Noreen Ackland  3:38  
There's a book out there about the act claims. Yes. Anybody with related accents. Obviously, ones with K and other black sheep as a family. So that's probably just a singer. Yeah, no, I don't.

Alan Lawson  3:57  
Anyway, then you got called up?

Noreen Ackland  3:59  
Yes. I got caught up in 1942. May 42. And I was sent draped which for my training. And then I was sent into the paycor. Because I was good at figures. Yes. Well, first of all they want to make on Gan site, but I wanted to be posted as close to home as possible. And so they sent me to Sidcup, where I was, I just couldn't take their food. And the way of living is is ridiculous when you think of it. So finally after a lot of examination, they sent me they transferred me to Wembley because it was the nearest Army post to my home. When the OTS were so I could be billeted at home and just do the odd night in the barracks. Which turned out to be the AKs Yes.

Alan Lawson  4:55  
What did you do when you got to the AKs

Noreen Ackland  4:58  
I was put into The accounts. And third, Dickens interviewed me until the day he was there as his secretary. And he said, I didn't know I think could be good material in the cutting rooms. And I thought that sounds like a factory job, but I don't care. I hadn't a clue. And I hadn't seen many films. Because we did. We had just started to go to film, my friends and I, at the outbreak of war, so I was going in the in the Blitz. And it was always sort of golden and wonderful to be in war. And I really hadn't a clue what I was getting into. So they put me down into the cutting room. And nobody would work with Reggie Mills, who was an officer there and an editor. So of course, I was put with ready. And he trained me, why wouldn't people work with Reggie? Because he was, he was really domineering and demanding. And well, I would say snobby, at that stage, I always thought, oh, you know, and I was meek and mild. So I got on quite well, and did what he wanted, which was defined as little to do frame trims and things. Who else was in the cutting room there? Only yes. There's Bob Johnson. Yes. Johnny Ferris, Johnny Ferris. Yes. Brett Porter. Jeff Foote, Jimmy Corbett.

Alan Lawson  7:00  
And his right pick wasn't

Noreen Ackland  7:01  
rape. It was there. But he wasn't in the cutting rooms. He was directing. He used to come down. Because that was his is his mind reader. Yes, same as PTSD was always in and out there telling stories holding force. And

Alan Lawson  7:19  
because of that, he might have people who must have made life wonderful.

Noreen Ackland  7:24  
It was actually happened to me as soon as I started there. I was at home. You know, since I went down into the cutting room, and it was oh, adult from the blue. I just loved going into work, which I have always done. So I was extremely happy and I stayed with ready all the time. I mean, I know I can remember other people who were directing.

Alan Lawson  7:58  
Yes. For Freddie where it was there wasn't he Freddie directed for a time. Freddie young.

Noreen Ackland  8:03  
Yeah. Training, doing doing training cars. Castle Barnard, wasn't it? Yes, yes. Yes. Donna castle. I'm not sure if he was directing. I thought he was cameraman. I think he was directing. Actually. It was. Freddie Francis was there. Frank Ellis Freddie. Oh, Frank and all the people who heard the waste. Waste film. Not Norman. No. Frank. Oh. The one of the brothers. One of the his uncle committed suicide bill. They had a place at Elstree. It will come to me later on only Stewart any Yes, any Stewart he was in the Navy. They're attached to us. David Harcourt Tony Englander minute, tabby. Yeah, it's up. Yeah. But he was telling me he was no no, no,

Alan Lawson  9:14  
no, no, no, no, he's a he's a E. Englander.

Noreen Ackland  9:21  
That wasn't an answer. No, I don't know. We always called him because he wasn't happy

Alan Lawson  9:27  
with his military Mr.

Noreen Ackland  9:31  
Kinnick connect yes, no really Goddard Rodney King

Alan Lawson  9:34  
Rodney King. But also Tilly across to the day. He was your Sergeant Major and she

Noreen Ackland  9:41  
she was always say was a sergeant major. I mean, she was she didn't act as one nobody did.

Alan Lawson  9:52  
A new Andrew Martelli to Yes, yes. Yeah.

Noreen Ackland  9:58  
And now great role. thinks she came out. I think she learned her. She liked her job that she had been in the film business before. He I don't know. Okay, Rawlings? Yes, she was. Oh, it was it was very happy unit.

Alan Lawson  10:20  
Did you work on extra piano at all? No.

Noreen Ackland  10:28  
I just missed the new lot. Because that just finished yet. Carol was there for about what couple of weeks? Yeah. In and out of the country. But it was complete. And then he went and made it remade it as the way ahead. Yes. Yes. In a student. Yeah.

Alan Lawson  10:50  
Yes. Anyway, then, when were you demobbed?

Noreen Ackland  10:56  
1446. I did four years 42 to 46. And what happened? I went, ready, of course, was demoed before that it was invalid out because he had a nervous complaint. And he went on to a matter of life and death of yours. And there again, he was having trouble with assistance. He comes through about four or five, I think, and he came to me and he said, When are you getting demobbed? What's the date because I was in the Nebraska, when he was demoted, they sent it to the labs. We didn't have denim. We had a couple of benches for neck cutting. I've never done anything like that. Never handled me. Well, that was I wasn't frightened. But I knew I had to be terribly careful gloves. Oh, yes. But you know, in the end, I was whizzing through the machines. The others, yes. But the very first job I had when I got there was they had Freddie Francis had been to France with Frank Ellis. And they had been on a dental menu that had their faces shot away. And so they were photographing, filming that which wasn't very pleasant. And they don't came back then. hadn't any key numbers on it. So I had to frame that. The next, which wasn't the very first job.

Alan Lawson  12:29  
already talked about that. That job

Noreen Ackland  12:31  
did he did? Oh, that's interesting. We did.

Alan Lawson  12:36  
Anyway, so you then move to primer Then did

Noreen Ackland  12:39  
you know that was it? Denim denim? I came out of the the industry AKs? Yeah, one day, on the Friday, and I was working on the Monday, you know, down on the other end of the studio, or actually in the studio?

Alan Lawson  12:58  
What were they What were you going to be paid then? With it, then that's

Noreen Ackland  13:02  
paid? And can you remember? I think it was it was either eight or nine pounds a week? Which was enormous today after? Yeah, I think it was eight pounds a week?

Alan Lawson  13:16  
And what kind of what kind of hours? What are you working on?

Noreen Ackland  13:20  
Well, it's supposed to be 830 to six. And I suppose if I got away at seven, it was early for me because sometimes they had the rushes at night.

Alan Lawson  13:36  
Said all we as always delay you anyway. Yeah.

Noreen Ackland  13:39  
I was. I actually joined the Union in 43. Because you know, you came to me at AKs. And see if you want to work in this film business after the war.

Alan Lawson  13:55  
Do you remember who recruited you? Was that Tilly? No,

Noreen Ackland  13:59  
I don't think it was No, I don't think it was. John, why didn't they jump out for did he have anything to do when he wasn't in the business before? No, it must have been must be somebody from the sound department I think because John Cox was there. It might have been John. Yes. It might have been. It might have been because he was quite active. I know. Let's see. Yeah.

Alan Lawson  14:24  
Anyway, so you're working on over at Denham

Noreen Ackland  14:29  
on "A Matter Of Life and Death". They were I think they'd finished just finished shooting. I can't remember thinking mashes I think they just completed their shooting. So I kind of don't know that until the end.

Alan Lawson  14:48  
And what happened at the end?

Noreen Ackland  14:52  
What's happened at the end we will we went to whom? We continue then with Mickey Michael Powell and Pressburger. Yes. So this is the I see this as a start. Yes. Is your start with me now. Press back. Yes.

Alan Lawson  15:07  
Did you have much to do with them at first when you went,

Noreen Ackland  15:09  
Oh, I did with Mickey because he used to come into the cutting room and sit and talk. And being the only being the assistant that ready had chosen. He, it always took me in the theatre to take notes. Yes. You know, I suppose he trained me and he'd got used to me. And I'd got used to him. And so immediately part of the theory which says, fantastic, really, when I look back on

Alan Lawson  15:42  
Yes, talk about talking about your first impression of Mickey Powell.

Noreen Ackland  15:47  
Oh, here he is scared. Well, because he got these piercing eyes. And he was sitting up the very first day came in the the bins were full of trims. And this was probably my first day. I'm sure it was my first day. Absolutely. And, of course, ready had said, to try and make the place try and get some of this film aways and I didn't know where to find anything. And Mickey came bouncing in and was introduced and welcome aboard attitude. And he sat on the edge of the bench while reading was working. He was obviously doing some altering something as I remember. And talking to Mickey. And the whole time he said, Hey, these piercing blue eyes is looking at me. So it was a bit frightened into the data. Do you need it? Didn't know. I mean?

Alan Lawson  16:57  
And Pressburger. When did you first come across Pressburger?

Noreen Ackland  17:02  
Do you know I can't remember my first meeting with Emmerich. I think he I mean, Mickey very seldom went in the theatre without me. He certainly wouldn't run the whole film without me. So it would have been at an early show. But I can't remember him and it would only and it would have been in the theatre because Emmerich hardly ever came into the cutting room.

Alan Lawson  17:28  
What was your impression of his first impression?

Noreen Ackland  17:33  
I just I thought it was just a quiet shy person. Yes. A bit clipped. That That means language difficulty is

Alan Lawson  17:47  
one thing I must ask you. Did you ever been new when

Noreen Ackland  17:52  
are you kidding? Are you think the right to do it because I got the loudest scream

please do me at that gate. If I didn't do it today. I don't know. They had up for

Alan Lawson  18:15  
sexual harassment.

Noreen Ackland  18:17  
I couldn't think of a horse play. I didn't I mean, I'd get nearly paralytic if I was in a skirt. I hated it then. I mean, I wouldn't. I wouldn't get angry and spiteful. binning was Oh, that's true. You had these rounds? Well, any any shape didn't really round things. Because they could just I was terribly thin. Fold me out and put me in. So you there with your head out. Thank you, weekend. And there was one day they did it when Mickey and Reggie had been to lunch together and they came back. And I was in the middle of the corridor in this painting because they came up the stairs. And all the boys disappeared and left me and he came along as you doing in the morning, get out. And I know Mickey did take a mouthful. I mean, he found it quite funny. Because he was impossible to get out. Yes. turn you over and pull the pin out. Anyway I mean, it was all fun. There was another time when Oh Jacques Slade was at Wembley too. And he, he and John Shirley and said as they are real devils, and they came, they were going to lunch. And they came past my cutting and it was very hot day in that got the door. And I was on the phone to dig this lunchtime. It was everyone else. And they came in they said, Hey, talking to talking today, right? And they put a big cover over my head nosing on this house door giggling away and then they started to pull my skirt up. Because then they knew that would get me and as it got to my knees. I leant forward don't stop them. And of course I lost my dad and there was this metal been trims in and it was through sharp corner and it went right into my leg the next day off because every time I moved it bled they will run away and one of them that and an untied it, because they can see what it happens

Alan Lawson  21:17  
I think all those those kinds of things are finished now it's very very down to business.

Noreen Ackland  21:23  
I'm sure I did. But the funds gone. Oh yeah. I mean, it didn't mean a thing. No, no, you didn't take any of it seriously.

Alan Lawson  21:34  
Anyway, then after the first one what next what you go into after that? Black Narcissus now where you want where you permanent on permanent staff now

Noreen Ackland  21:45  
know as each film. So in other words, pictures. And then you got to read a new engagement for that film. Yes, I see. Yes. And another still. I'm back Narcissus. I think I was still engaged as secondary says assistant second. Yeah, I didn't get up at first until red shoes. And but I was still acting as a first because I went in the theatre and took all the notes. I looked after it and put all his trims away. I supervised the the rushes. What was the first assistant? I think it was Seymour Logie on one of them.

Alan Lawson  22:36  
bit unreasonable when

Noreen Ackland  22:38  
it was that's why he didn't he only stayed for the one film because, you know he wasn't allowed to do very much. Expect I'm not sure if he he must have done some post sync or some prepared it in the music measurement. But no, it was unfair. Yeah. So the next film I said to Reggie, he never mentioned it. The next one, of course, was Red Shoes. And I said, if I'm doing the work of a first assistant, I think they should be paid for first assistant. So do you

Alan Lawson  23:17  
think once I have kind of an anti feminine bias?

Noreen Ackland  23:24  
I never felt it. You didn't know. I didn't know. I'm just wondering, but I think that some some girls, you know, they were working there didn't expect to do the heavy work as well as you know, they still dainty ladies. And it was dirty job. Yes. No, I knew I never felt any empty. I must say that once or twice. I heard of a director who wouldn't have a woman in the cutting room in this in the system. Really? I heard this about several. You know, I could understand it. Actually. I'm afraid I'm very anti feminist thing. Well, yes.

Alan Lawson  24:12  
I mean, yes, I'm as I'm with you there, but I mean, I think I don't see why you should object to her, you know,

Noreen Ackland  24:21  
oh, no, no, do I mean Let them prove Reasonable.

Alan Lawson  24:25  
Reasonable attitude.

Noreen Ackland  24:29  
I do too. I think they should be allowed to prove themselves or disprove. That's right.

Alan Lawson  24:35  
Yeah. Provides where? Yes, yes. Yeah. So anyway, so I've Red Shoes. You You were you were the first. Yes,

Noreen Ackland  24:43  
yes. Yeah. And then eventually I became, he called me assembly cutter. In so I was getting when I became assembly cutter. I got 15 pounds a week. But I think on Red Shoes, it was about 12.

Alan Lawson  24:59  
Well, yeah, spamming they all the rates were gradually go. Yeah. What about Amazon red shoes?

Noreen Ackland  25:09  
were originally just came in late and worked late. We didn't work that work till seven or eight maybe but I mean it ruins the evening. Time off. And he will endure and I was expected to stay welcome. What

Alan Lawson  25:26  
did you get paid overnight? No.

Noreen Ackland  25:29  
Yes, we did. We did. Because we put in the time she and

Alan Lawson  25:37  
I Reggie was expensive

Noreen Ackland  25:43  
it wasn't in another way because he saved them. I mean, on Tales of Hoffman, for instance, he saved them a hell of a lot by not wanting a soundtrack shot on the floor. Tell you about that later. Fine. Yeah.

Alan Lawson  26:00  
Can you remember how long red shoes was in the cutting room?

Noreen Ackland  26:10  
No, I can't. I would say nine months. Really? I know. It was a long time. Well, it's a long time waiting for the special effects shots. And the paintings.

Alan Lawson  26:23  
Yes. Yes. It was a lovely film actually.

Noreen Ackland  26:27  
Is it was really fun. I loved it. Oh, that's a very funny story. I've always been, I mean, I'm not an adoring fan, but I've always been a great fan of Anton Walbrook. Oh, yes, yes. And um, blackness. This is when he when Nikki was talking about the next film, and this is thing about Nikki you always included you. And as I was in the cutting room with ready putting trims away or looking at stuff for him. It was always included in and he said, I've got Anton Walbrook to play the Dr. Glyph character. And I said, Oh, no, he's my pin up. So come The Red Shoes, the test, Mickey found out and I went out to the phone, he said, No one can get a theatre for Anton Walbrook to see his test and come down and collecting from this day. So I did this. And I collected him and brought him back. And I wouldn't I went in the theatre with him. And I wouldn't put my glasses on at the end of the test, and Brooke said to me, tell me my dear. How do you think I look? nicer? I said the age I wanted him to look as about 35 You see? Oh my god. That is too young. We came out as a decent you better take me back. I'm a bit lost. So to be taking that down the corridor into the to the stage and we met Mickey. And he said Mickey, what do you think? This young lady thinks I look about 35 We'll have to do something and Mickey said, Oh, don't take any notice of her. She's your biggest fan. She loves you and that's the age she wants it. But do you live in the rushes and Tom Warburg came and sat next to me every time and asked me what I thought he never sat with Reggie. He never sat anywhere near me. Always came and sat next to quite embarrassing but nice. And as the university announces that the key pages have been killed. Adults again, even the lights went out. We're the only ones in the car with

Alan Lawson  29:26  
them from red shoes to

Noreen Ackland  29:31  
um, well. Mickey was at mortonhall Shooting small back room. And he had engaged another editor on that because we were still finishing the red shoes. But this editor who was I mean, he came as if he and I had claimed to work in Hollywood and cutting through Um, sir, he may well have done, but he was suffering from Shell Shock. We used to take lots of trims home in his pockets and things like that. And he would and then he disappear of a museum or something. Anyway, it wasn't satisfactory. And Mickey wanted ready to finish it. Finish the you know, take it. So as soon as we had finished red shoes we went toward and home and took over. So small back room. And, and from there, we continued with Mickey and Erica, at Shepperton.

Alan Lawson  30:37  
What year are we now a small back room? Remember?

Noreen Ackland  30:41  
I think it's about 14.

small bedroom 4894.

Alan Lawson  30:53  
And then after small back room.

Noreen Ackland  30:56  
elusive temper now. Yes. Yes. Gone to Earth and back then back on Elizabeth pimpinella.

Alan Lawson  31:05  
Again with Reggie. Yes, yes. A chairperson

Noreen Ackland  31:10  
at jeopardy. But whilst they were on, they were away shooting, gone to Shropshire so the rushes would come back now to sync them up and sent them send them up there. And ready was away on holiday. And then he went up there. And join them.

Alan Lawson  31:29  
Did you have a cutting room up? No.

Noreen Ackland  31:32  
He just went up? I think I see. Yes. Anyway, he used to take about six weeks holiday ready. And whilst they were away shooting, Carol Reed came into the cutting room because he was doing and he said, I've just been speaking you're normally not to. I remember you're unmuted. And I've just been speaking to Mickey. He says that. As soon as you've synced to the rushes, as long as you look after them, you can come and work with me. So he said is everything done today as CDs will bring a notebook come in the theatre with me. So I went in, and we ran one wheel. And I hadn't seen any of it hadn't been peeping or anything. So we didn't really know much about it. And he said we knew when Samsung turns her walks here, cut and speaks this line cut and it absolutely gave me all the directions everything to do. So that was my first cutting really was that one what the man? Really is? Yeah, really.

Alan Lawson  32:47  
So you were you were in fact the cutter on that?

Noreen Ackland  32:50  
No, I wasn't the cutter as the, I suppose have convicted was the editor. And they had a lot of assistance, Peter Tate and it was on it. And he was cutting. Everybody seemed to be cutting on there. Because they were trying to make the Cannes Film Festival. It was it appeared I mean, it was absolute chaos. It appeared that everybody was cutting and nobody was finding trims because everywhere else it was chaos. So anyway, I worked on that and made those cuts in the UK quite happy. And then he gave me the chase in the sewer to work on and I worked with him on that. And the night of this big fat you know, they had a big fire was the night of that fire. I had that. That reel and the following reel in my room. And I had taken them off the synchronizer and put them in the cabinet and knocked locked the door because he told me to keep it very carefully away from all the others to ruin it or mess it up all of all trying to get at it. He was in the state capitol. And so I put this all in the cabinet and locked the door and of course I had this terrible fire and so many about seven reels went up in smoke which is which wasn't fun. I mean you couldn't they had dupes and they were able to match the picture but the sound negative had been cut which made it very difficult. So from then on my assistant and I had to organise all the rushes that came in sinking him and trying to work out

Alan Lawson  34:50  
that was Mickey's fan Carol reached

Noreen Ackland  34:52  
out Yes, yes. Oh yes. I never worked so hard really. Work Day A night and the whole of the next day I went home that nine o'clock did.

Alan Lawson  35:05  
Did you get paid extra for working on Carol's or she was an arrangement between Carolyn no Carol's was very on mm hm mindset. Man, I loved

Noreen Ackland  35:19  
how he was

Alan Lawson  35:23  
talking about him

Noreen Ackland  35:25  
when he, I mean, he was really quite a gentle soul. And he he didn't inspire me, whilst I was working on that as much as Mickey did, but that was probably because of the state that they were in.

Alan Lawson  35:44  
I think it's an entirely different kind of personality. Oh, Carol was rather airy fairy.

Noreen Ackland  35:52  
Yes, he was. That's true. Mickey wasn't Definitely not. Definitely not. But Nikki did make you make you use your mind. Yeah. Whereas Karen was using his own mind really? All the time. He was full of uncertainties, wasn't he? And we had the Superman there. Yes. Anton charis, and he was playing practically all through the night. In the theatre, strumming away, you could hear this down the corridor. And Kara was never certain about certain things, you know that. You'd go around asking everybody. Do you think that that shot will hold you know, at the end where she walks right out the past last days of cotton? Do you think that will hold it? And the night of the premiere? He was in absolute state of nerves. And it I mean, he made sure I did mine. Anyways, he made sure that that we got an invitation to the premier, Frankie and my assistant. And he introduced me to his wife and to Elizabeth Allen, afterwards, at the back of the theatre. And he said, This is the girl who saved the two reels in the sewer because she looked I think he'd only got a load load of men in the cutting rooms and they were all David. David Ed was one of them. I don't know. Well, he he was Ed son in the level Yes. And he had asked our if David Ed could cut something and David and he let David cap something. And David went through all the trims away so that he couldn't be audited. It did he took them out onto the dump. Did we burn? Is that sort of it? That was the sort of thing that was going on.

Alan Lawson  38:08  

Noreen Ackland  38:14  
I'm trying to think who else was in the cartoons on that? I think they were all men, except for Frankie and I got an en frente surname but she was nice, good assistant. And her father was the head of one of the departments at Shepperton. Anyway, neither here nor there because she left the business

Alan Lawson  38:45  
now now we go on to

Noreen Ackland  38:49  
gun to us. I think we went back on to him. Well, we finished gone to earth when they came back. And then we went back on to a lucid pimpinella shooting a few extra things and that we oh yes, we we reshot or shot the extra scenes at British national. What else drove

Alan Lawson  39:14  
Yes, yes.

Noreen Ackland  39:15  
I did quarter. Take that over for a time. Time. I

Alan Lawson  39:22  
don't know. I don't know.

Noreen Ackland  39:24  
Anyway, but that's what we did. And we're posting there. The only time I had a really big round with Nicky over there in the posting theatre with all the all the content wasn't

Alan Lawson  39:46  
right by the round. What was that about?

Noreen Ackland  39:49  
I can't remember but I knew it was demanding Absolutely. The earth and he couldn't get I couldn't give it and I slammed down to the sea. I can't remember what it was. I can't remember what it was about. But he didn't hold it against me.

Alan Lawson  40:08  
No. Well, that's fine. Yeah.

Noreen Ackland  40:12  
Obviously. And then after that we did Tales of Hoffman.

Alan Lawson  40:17  
Yes. Talk about that, because that's an important film,

Noreen Ackland  40:24  
as it is in that was one of the, it was a really exciting film to be on. And we did the whole school festival with Beachum. We did beach and Festival. He played, he did a score, just playing the piano and singing the parts himself. So that we knew what it was. That wasn't lovely. Then we did we did the host, you know, recorded the whole thing. Remember the shooting? We started in the silence stage to play back to play that the sound stage which had been moved from Morton Hall to Shepperton. We shot it to playback but we didn't record any sound. So you had you know, you had to lip sync? Yes. Yes. We had a musician there called Fred Lewis, who would give us the bars were the things seemed started and the dialogue and the Beretta and we would just sink for ashes, we would sink the Master track master shot. And then the rest would be run silent. The close ups.

Alan Lawson  41:40  
Why didn't they why didn't they shoot? Oh, well on track with clappers on

Noreen Ackland  41:44  
to save money. I don't know how much they saved was mainly to save money. And of course ready said that he didn't need on offer to us to get it. Because the numbering and everything. Because you also had to. After ashes, you had to try to find the spot for the close ups and number it so it made it a little bit easier for him to cut. Yes. Number two the Master track.

Alan Lawson  42:18  
You had your own numbering machine then did you

Noreen Ackland  42:21  
know where you number the Master track? Yes. And then you would find the point where it's synced? Yeah. I see lip sync. Yes. Yes. And mark up and then have it have the picture numbered? I see. No, there was a numbering boy there. It could have been John Glenn. You know John Glenn? No. numbering them really? Yes. And he I know he was there on a third man. So I'm sure that he was still numbering. Yes.

Alan Lawson  42:57  
It's going to stop you there.

End of Side 1

Side 2

Alan Lawson  0:06  
Noreen  Ackland side 2   you we're talking about numbering on Tales of Hoffman.

Noreen Ackland  0:12  
Yes. Did I make that clear? Yes. That's good.

Alan Lawson  0:18  
Carry on, carry on was about Tales of Hoffman. Hoffman.

Noreen Ackland  0:29  
It was quite a mixture of artists, you know, the singers yet, and the actors and the dancers. And it was it was really a very interesting. Well, it was an exciting production that with Robbie, Bobby Helpmann, and Robert round as well, the singer, because Bobby was always following him around that, you know, he was in millat rounds, always always exercising his voice. And they ran around the studio. And Bobby Helton would run off to copying. What else have I got to say about that? That went on for a long time. Because there again, there were lots of tricks, tricks, shots and special effects and paintings. And we had this focus with coda.

Alan Lawson  1:30  
At the end, we're at work. Why was that?

Noreen Ackland  1:34  
I don't think he I think it was a little too Arty, for him the whole film, and he didn't think it would make money, really. And there was the epilogue at the end. I did tell this on television, the epilogue at the end, that Pamela Brown who plays a part of the news had been painted in gold. The whole of her body was painted in gold, which, you know, can't stay on the skin too long. And she was speaking, first time she actually spoke and she spoke her lines instead of singing them to Hoffman. And I was I not ever with you or something. It was but it was beautifully spoken. And it was very, very moving. A cord I wanted it cut drop. Does it mean anything? And this Emmerich was not present this time. I mean, he could placate people. It could certainly could with cord. So he wasn't there. There was any Mickey quarter and myself even ready wasn't there. 146 Piccadilly. And Coda said, it's got to go. It's got to pick up the heads. That big argument is in its final, it's got to be cut. I don't want to end. And of course, Mickey said he was that he had no taste. And honestly, it was very rude to him. And that's when Cordis said, you've gone too far. I shall make sure that you never make another film in this country. And of course you didn't for a long time. I'd say. Well, they really weren't going at it hammer and tongs. I leave the house. I didn't know whether to leave the room or not.

Alan Lawson  3:37  
What was in Rick's reaction when he heard about that?

Noreen Ackland  3:40  
I don't know. Because I wasn't present. I think Nikki told him in her quiet on the phone or something.

Alan Lawson  3:48  
Was in cut in the end? Oh, yes. Really? Oh, yes. Yes, because he was called as money, wouldn't it?

Noreen Ackland  3:57  
Yes, of course it was. Yes. So so that was that

Alan Lawson  4:03  
Mickey last? Last Last work?

Noreen Ackland  4:07  
Well, he did really? I mean, he didn't I don't think he worked again. What was the next one we did for him?

Alan Lawson  4:14  
What did you do after after that? tells him how often you must have been resting in between pictures.

Noreen Ackland  4:21  
Well, he did rest a bit that I filled in with helping out on dubbing and different films. And I went with I went with Charles hasay. Um, black hole kit, which was made at Wharton on 10. Before that, I went was ready to LCD. Where's Charlie? Oh, yes, that was 51 stoked to so. That was John Ray Bolger. Yes. You know the musical of Charlie's Yes. And David that directed that

Alan Lawson  5:08  
note up. You said you also then went

Noreen Ackland  5:11  
to Walton. And then I went to water and

Alan Lawson  5:14  
the only person we have only person we really recorded whose work to work to Walton was Peter proud.

Noreen Ackland  5:23  
Oh, yes.

Alan Lawson  5:25  
And Michael Ralph. I don't think anybody else we recorded the talk about Walton. They may have done but I'd forgotten. What was what was the studio's like? Um, we're working.

Noreen Ackland  5:42  
Oh, wait a minute. We shot lift. We shot this at Riverside. And we dubbed it down. Don't check it and we dubbed it it went down to debate the water. Yeah,

Alan Lawson  5:57  
I see. So. So you cut at Riverside? Presumably. And

Noreen Ackland  6:01  
can I think about this because I've got a feeling I've got the wrong film. I think this was Blackhawk. It was it Riverside was 1952. The year of the wheeled stone crash train crash. Can you remember

when I think that's what it was. And it was Jack Slade cutting and I worked with him on that. And I think obviously we would have dumped it there. Yeah. And the one I went to Wharton on tennis with Charles on the Charles hassy was gutters of design gutters of gold. That is a gold Yes. Which is about a young girl who comes to London and and is caught up in prostitution. Got it. It was a nice little studio. The dubbing was good. I can't remember who was dubbing there. But the dubbing was good. Everything was it was very happy little studio there. I can't tell you much more than that. Then, and then I didn't have a lot of them dubbing things that come. desperate moment. I was on the dubbing side of that. Watch. It became a dubbing editor. No, I was dubbing assistant. Monitor story. He knew what sailors are. And Romeo and Juliet and this was mainly with Windrider Oh, yes.

Alan Lawson  7:45  

Noreen Ackland  7:48  
Yes. Oh, in purple plane. That was another one. Simba

Alan Lawson  7:55  
did you enjoy doing that?

Noreen Ackland  7:57  
No. hated it. Hated Dougie

Alan Lawson  8:01  
is not very difficult if

Noreen Ackland  8:06  
you do you never feel so much a part of the unit as if you're making the film. Also you

Alan Lawson  8:14  
light loads and loads of useless tracks.

Noreen Ackland  8:16  
Absolutely. He says that while you're doing it you feel you're wasting your time anyway. Don't you think that I've got to do it in case they ask. Because you don't have time when it comes to dubbing to go away and think about it again. And produce something good.

Alan Lawson  8:34  
Magnetic haven't come yet.

Noreen Ackland  8:37  
I can't remember the year that that came. Do you know that we're quite a bit late here?

Alan Lawson  8:44  
Somewhere around about be somewhere around about 56

Noreen Ackland  8:49  
I think yeah. Yes. Too young to love that. Tweet them. Jean darker.

Alan Lawson  8:59  
Oh, yes.

Noreen Ackland  9:03  
Subway in the sky? Um, yes. Too young to love.

Alan Lawson  9:09  
Breton mountain. What about working with a woman as well? It worked

Noreen Ackland  9:13  
well with Jean Yes. Yes. She was a very you know, she, some women you know, would be difficult, difficult and very superior, not superior. Can't seek, marrying, domineering. They know it all.

cut you down to size all the time. But Jean was a lovely person. I enjoyed, enjoyed my time with her. And there again, I had to work very long hours.

Alan Lawson  9:53  
What was that? What's your DMV working? That

Noreen Ackland  9:56  
was Shepperton and then the next one was at British national No.

Alan Lawson  10:02  
Where were you living at this time?

Noreen Ackland  10:06  
I was nothing that we would do. And the journey was horrific. I mean, if you worked after 10 o'clock, you had a car to take you home.

Alan Lawson  10:16  
But how did you get there? How did you got God?

Noreen Ackland  10:18  
I will stand it wish to ship but yes, it was terrible journey. I used to catch the bus to Harrow on the hill station, and the train through to Oxbridge and run that med to Vine Street where the time would take you to West Dayton. And then you'd catch a little train through to, to stains, and a bathroom stain to decipher how long did that take? Two hours?

Alan Lawson  10:48  
Oh, it was a terrible starting at what time in the morning? 830?

Noreen Ackland  10:51  
Well, 830 I mean, most, most mornings, I didn't get into nine. But yes, yeah. And I always thought well, I make up for it. The other end. So when I put in for overtime, I'd take off the time that I had, you know, had been late in the morning. So I didn't Did God, but it was it was a hell of a journey.

Alan Lawson  11:15  
And then when you working at British national, how'd you get on that one? Or was that wasn't quite a difficult

Noreen Ackland  11:22  
plan there? That wasn't so difficult, you know, I'd kept the bus to edgewear and then the best for me to air to Baltimore. No, that was good. That was all right. And then eventually, of course, and sometimes I'd get a lift to Shepperton sometimes. When he when he was working there. I get it if with Sid Sturgis. Oh, here. It is a brother of yours. Right? Yeah. This is still

Alan Lawson  11:58  
hanging on yet. I think he I think he got Parkinson's. I'm not sure. I think anyway, carry on.

Noreen Ackland  12:09  
Carry on. Yes. Very nice, very lovely person to work with a mirror box. Of course. She directed somewhere in the sky. And too young to love. That's what I did stream with that. I'm not sure. Oh, that is my shame. Yeah.

Alan Lawson  12:29  
Well, what about Muriel? You're working with Muriel? Box?

Noreen Ackland  12:33  
Fine. Yeah. Yes. She was very sympathetic.

Alan Lawson  12:37  
amazing person. Yes. Amazing.

Noreen Ackland  12:40  
She really was yes. Have you interviewed her? We did it not

Alan Lawson  12:44  
long before she said Come on. I went.

Noreen Ackland  12:48  
Oh, good idea. Have you read her book now? Yes, she really was an amazing person. Now what was next? Well, there was a resin in there that cropped up.

1955 Yes. That was Mickey named red course. Mickey, Mickey and Emery was at made LCD ABC. And they they recorded all the track over in Vienna. I think in the Opera House. I'm not sure. Anyway, they recorded it. And, you know, but that was about it. When I was in India. It was the bat. Yes. Yes. That's right. Yes. And it was brought up to date. Modern. Vienna, yes. With all the Russians and the Americans and the British. And that was Ludmilla Turina. Yes. And Tom Walbrook. Much older. Still flattered to be admired. And Michael Redgrave and Anthony Quayle. Yeah, he was lovely. Yes. Who was the who was the editor? Ready? Yes. Yes. And that was followed by battles the River Plate, which was again ready. Yes. And you? Me? Yes. And um, battles on hooky, Bell and John Braeburn. These cut to my cutting room a lot. My cartoon was next register, then by that time, and he had done it got another chap in Liberty didn't didn't like him. I think by that time, he was acknowledging you know that he was a queer. Yes, he is. He was coming out as they say no.

Alan Lawson  14:54  
Yes. Yes.

Noreen Ackland  14:59  
Yes, so After that, what? Whilst I was on that I had a long illness. I had dumb gastroenteritis and I was taking sick at Christmas and then I was away for a long time because it developed into other things. And I was in hospital a long time. So I had I was on six weeks half pay as six weeks old and six week heartbeat. So I had all of that. Really.

Alan Lawson  15:32  
So they were they treated you well.

Noreen Ackland  15:34  
Oh, yes. Yes, they did. I came back right at the end as they were dubbing Yes. And that was the year we got married actually after that. And you must have moved Yes, I moved to s church Park villas in Shepherd up Shepherds Bush and Stamford Brook so that we had a car Yes. Well, I had a car actually towards the end you know towards the end of obviously getting bit of money and could afford to get one with the debts help. Then after that, what happened?

Oh, I knew 5557 Probably 56. Reggie was cut cut Spanish god no nurse's assistant on that was in 55. Passionate summer I don't know the year that that was Rudolph Cartier. These are Yes. It

Alan Lawson  16:51  
took me about I mean, I knew rode really well in television. What was your impression? Rudy?

Noreen Ackland  17:00  
No, it's very haughty.

Alan Lawson  17:05  
Very demanding,

Noreen Ackland  17:06  
very demanding. Yes. Always very well. It wasn't very inspiring.

Alan Lawson  17:13  
Never take no for an answer.

Noreen Ackland  17:17  
Now on that Reggie had a heart attack and I had to finish it. But the producer I think I think rude, rude, rude of cardio had to go back to the BBC. And the

producer was a Norwegian. Oh.

Alan Lawson  17:50  
The film was again

Noreen Ackland  17:51  
passionate summer freshmen. I can't help. I was thinking about it last night, because he was regarded in Norway as a christening. Anyway, he and I finished it between those who was you know, he came into the country movement. And we didn't come into the cartoon, but he came into the theatre, gave me notes and we finished it off between us. So that was passionate summer. And then there was Windows way. Which was Ronnie Nene. Oh, yes. That was the old days where time would

Alan Lawson  18:34  
run it was cutting back then after working with Ronnie,

Noreen Ackland  18:46  
yes, that was that was okay. He really got on well with him. I mean when he was using technicians. Oh, yes. Yes. And that was Peter Finch. And after that, let me see where the dates

we went to I must have done some more dubbing in between because the next thing I've got down here is blind date. Do Losi directing at Bekins field. And Reggie was cutting that because

Alan Lawson  19:32  
now you're talking about working with Lozi

Noreen Ackland  19:38  
when he was not

Alan Lawson  19:41  
I didn't like him. He's not the easiest of people to go.

Noreen Ackland  19:44  
I didn't like him at all. He wasn't he wasn't easy. No. It was very. If you were an assistant, you weren't an assistant. To you. Really? Oh yes. He didn't. You didn't

Alan Lawson  19:59  
talk trunk

Noreen Ackland  20:03  
very much. I mean, you felt you had to call him Mr. Lucey in her. Not that I did do that, you know, didn't didn't. I've got it ready. Never Well, I didn't go with I was with Reggie anymore after that, because I had the phone call from Mickey to do peeping Tom. So define it.

Alan Lawson  20:29  
Yes, that's, that's that's the that's 5959 let's do yes. Was it? Was that a surprise?

Noreen Ackland  20:39  
Oh, yes. Right out of the blue. I didn't even know that he was thinking about a film.

Alan Lawson  20:45  
Did your feet touch the ground?

Noreen Ackland  20:48  
When I was in bed, so no, they didn't help us deliver. We'd gone. Gone to sleep. And the phone rang. Fortunately, it was beside today. On my side, of course, because tick wouldn't look good. So I answered it. And it was Mickey, this high pitched voice. Hello, Dolly. Like to cut my now do you like to cut my next film? Good, good. Are you making one? What is it? And he told me a little bit about it. And I said, Well, if you're willing to try, so am I. Where was that made? That was made at Pinewood. And I mean, even even there on the phone, he was he said, How much do you want? How much will you will be asking and this? I said, we will never cut a film before I think I'm going to take the minimum until I can prove it minimum then was about 28 pounds 50 or 28 pounds. 10. So he said, Oh, I think we can get a bit more than that. So, so make it 45. He said, so I said no, split the difference. We'll make it certified until I know that I can do it. So that's what I got peeping tom for 45. And then talking about it talking about it. Oh, I loved it. I mean, it was obviously everybody says it was wood. So it was nasty film shouldn't have been made. And everybody said that. But I didn't. Didn't think on those lines. I suppose because it was it was a film to cut and

Alan Lawson  22:31  
yet, yes. Did you learn from it? Oh, yes. Yes.

Noreen Ackland  22:35  
I learned that I could cut that I had got a good sense of timing. Yes. Didn't know that very much about construction? I didn't know very much yet. Inherent? Yes, I think it is.

Alan Lawson  22:55  
I think we know that you can do it. Or you can do it. I mean, if you like you can refine it. Yes. But that's about it.

Noreen Ackland  23:03  
When I say construction, I mean switching sequences. I did find that I could cut a film and give it rhythm. And when satisfied the director

Alan Lawson  23:25  
was making encouraging all the time.

Noreen Ackland  23:28  
Oh, yes. Yes, it was in the first sequence I showed him he was very pleased with, you know, he's like, Oh, I don't like cattle. Oh, that works really? Well. You know, as he came up, he was saying something whether it was to give me confidence. And then finally we ran the whole film at the end of shooting. And we got to about the fourth real and he didn't come and sit with me. He sat the other side. And I sat on this side this was in the big theatre. And about real four he came across the gangway and kiss me on the teeth and he said Stop worrying, darling. You're alright. You know what you're doing? Which was was a lovely thing to do, wasn't it? It does give you a confidant.

Alan Lawson  24:21  
Who did you have for an assistant? I had

Noreen Ackland  24:22  
Alma Godfrey, who had not been a first assistant before, but she was very good. And you know, it was really great support. And that's

Alan Lawson  24:34  
really rather nice. Yes.

Noreen Ackland  24:38  
And we had the chap who eventually went with Ready John, his father had some cutting rooms in our channel, known not Roger Terrell. No, he was an assistant and then became an editor at Pinewood named John You follow her this block of cutting rooms in? Is it clean and passage? Yes. Yeah. Yes, yes, yes, I think we've done very well. So use a secondary system.

Alan Lawson  25:24  
And how long did it How long was the cutting period on that?

Noreen Ackland  25:30  
It was about the same time as the shooting. What six weeks? Yes. No, I think the shooting was a bit longer than that eight weeks. So the cutting is about the same. And it didn't take too long.

Alan Lawson  25:47  
Did you have a dubbing editor?

Noreen Ackland  25:49  
Yes, I had Malcolm cook. Because he had dumped a blind date. And then agreed scars. I had Jimmy shields because Malcolm was too busy. To he was tied up but

Alan Lawson  26:10  
what about Queens guard?

Noreen Ackland  26:13  
Oh, that was a mess. Because they did. He didn't have a script to start with.

What he did was he went with this the guards on an exercise to the desert parents, they were parachuting into your desert. And he shot the whole of this exercise which came back to Pinewood and I looked after it and using that, and using he was going to shoot the cover the whole of the the trooping of the colour. He engaged scriptwriter who had never written for a film before. In fact, well you might know him Roger Milner know of him, you know of him. I don't think he'd written very much. He was only a young chap. And he certainly didn't know much about films. He engaged him to write the script because he'd spit with Emmerich, which was a shame you shouldn't got him again. And he was literally writing the next day shooting the night before and giggling about it. It was just a great big joke to him back to the bad old days. Yes, absolutely. And this was for Fox.

Alan Lawson  27:33  
Was it a big budget?

Noreen Ackland  27:35  
Well, I couldn't tell you about the budget. But I would say that it was quite big because he had some good stars and he had Raymond Massey and Dan messy. Father and son and Robert Stevens. Mind you, they were quite as they weren't big stars. Raymond Mercy was an evening lady and her husband Frank Lawson. Jack no smoking son, Jack.

Alan Lawson  28:05  
Yes. Yes, I know that. You mean Yes. Yes. You know, I know you mean

Noreen Ackland  28:17  
they weren't big stars, but you know, it was quite good Lizabeth Shepard. Anyway, it was a mess. And it finished up two and a half three hours in length. And scurrilous was I think it was caressing was and he said he sacked Mickey sent him off the picture. When he first saw the cut. he sacked us and said it's no good. We can't make anything out of it and he sacked the whole of the cutting he only brought on Bob McNaught was on it. But back note was representing Fox down at the studio. So the SEC does give us fortnight notice at the end of the fortnight, the rescinded the notice, said they keep us on for another fortnight. And we were I was making a few changes that Mickey had sent to me from the south of France and came in he was phoning up saying any news any news? There's almost a distend and it was the time of Caesar and Cleopatra and Russ and Elizabeth Taylor's in hospital so Ross Lloyd was also on the payroll skirt I said Would you mind if he looked at it if he could fresh fresh ideas you know when he hadn't any ideas but he did come in and he did sought out the end the fight on the beat you He took that over to do in he did a good job on that. And skirt I said, if you got any suggestions to me and I said yes, bring the director back, he hasn't had a chance. He's only seen it through the once the end of cutting, you had a chance to work on it as a as a film. So they sent for Mickey and he came back, and they, they rescinded our notice again. And that's how we finished it. Because it was, oh, it was a nightmare. And that's why I you know, I hadn't really had enough experience. I do realise that now to cope with a film that had been shot like that in that manner, with Nurten, hardly anything connecting each sequence and so many different different sequences, you know, to reconstruct the story and otherwise,

Alan Lawson  30:58  
we're Fox satisfied in the end? Not really

Noreen Ackland  31:01  
well, I don't know they put it out, but I did find a very good notice. In what's on what's on magnesium, but no, I didn't think so. But there again, you see Mickey did himself an injustice by working in that manner. And not getting Emmerich back. I think.

Alan Lawson  31:24  
Why did they split up? What was the reason? You

Noreen Ackland  31:27  
know, I never knew I never really knew it. Oh, they didn't know the film didn't. Intimate by moonlight. That's where they split up. Nikki directed it Nemec produced it ready didn't cut it Reggie had split by that time. Off the Stevens didn't ask Stevens he cut it. And Nikki asked me if I would come in on the dubbing with a mind which they did have a dubbing editor wasn't the dubbing editor I was in I said that I said I wouldn't be the dubbing editor because I so hated it. But I didn't mind going in and doing footsteps or something. Just so that he got a friendly facing the cutting. And so that's what I did. I know what I always remember that film because I was working Christmas Eve. Right up until six o'clock. Everybody else had gotten home and Mickey came in the cutting room and said will you be ready for boxing day and not the day after boxing? Oh, that was a bit sick. On Christmas Eve Yes, so that was that was that then after Queen's guards?

Alan Lawson  32:56  
What did I do? I got hit girl in the boat on the

Noreen Ackland  32:59  
right got on the boat. That was with Norman wisdom. John Bryan how Henry Kaplan and a Canadian gears that went very well. But there again, you see it wasn't Norman wisdoms. Normal film. Didn't. Didn't. Didn't do

Alan Lawson  33:25  
that was made at Pinewood presumably.

Noreen Ackland  33:27  
Shepard was quite fun to be on.

Alan Lawson  33:33  
Yes. Ron is a producer. Yes, he was good. Because I knew him was not direct.

Noreen Ackland  33:40  
Yes. He did become a producer didn't right. Yes. Was Ronnie Nene normally. And coats cut a lot of his films. But he was quite you know, he was quite happy with what I did. And if he'd gone on to make another one immediately afterwards, I probably would have gone on with him if he got anything else, the password is carriage that that was with the two. That was with Andrew and Virginia stone. Oh, yes. Which was interesting. Interesting because we didn't cut nearly all of it. I did a bit that's it. I mean, she's always done the cuttings.

And then that was a bit of a full really I shouldn't have stayed with them.

I just I just loved working. And I loved working on film. So I didn't mind really what I did. Yes. Well

Alan Lawson  34:43  
you paid isn't it?

Noreen Ackland  34:44  
Oh yes. I suppose that's it.

Alan Lawson  34:52  
The next one I got us never put it in writing.

Noreen Ackland  34:55  
That's right. That was that boon. That was the stones again. And during the dinner Stan put in writing. Did a little bit of cutting on that, but not enough. Do you see Cydonia? Let me do it too. I got on all right. She would never let me show that I could do anything very much except be a good assistant. And then the follow depth forward. The secret of my success is the next one.

Alan Lawson  35:30  
And again, this is yes, yeah. Then Then after that, I've got Danny the dragon.

Noreen Ackland  35:38  
Yes. Oh, that was lovely. I enjoyed that. Watch that children's film. Yes. It was doing children's film foundation. It was 10 episodes of the cereal. Who directed that Pennington? Richard? Oh, yes, yes, yes. And Frank Godwin was the producer. And that was done at Hannaford.

Alan Lawson  35:56  
Oh, yes. It was a it was a cameraman.

Noreen Ackland  36:01  
That's right. He was yes. Yes. Yes. I enjoyed working with him. He said, he said to me, you make a change from he'd always had been loose. Well, he'd had to lose weight. Yes, I didn't if you'd had him once or twice. That was his last editor was building. And he said, Oh, I'm working with you. So you're always enthusiastic. He said, When you try anything for me, which is nice, isn't it? Yes. cooperated. Yes.

Alan Lawson  36:35  
Working on children's films. Did you really use it? Any different techniques at all? Was it

Noreen Ackland  36:44  
all the same? Yeah. I mean, it was the minimum. Yes, because it was in a nonprofit and almost nonprofit. And I remember Henry Geddes was very, very pleased with it.

Alan Lawson  37:01  
As I remember, I knew I knew him in the RAF Film Unit. He was in the Film Unit.

Noreen Ackland  37:08  
Yes. Close. Yeah. No, that was that was a lot of fun that because it was a it was a happy unit. I had done totally I had a young man assistant with me went to Canada. Somebody from Tonga, Caitlyn, this awful. Nurse and then that was all done.

Alan Lawson  37:42  
And then some kind of hero.

Noreen Ackland  37:45  
Oh gosh, yes, I'd forgotten about that. That was with Marvin, Marvin Lechner who was a stills man. And he made a lot of money with his stills he was an American and Malcolm Cook had cut had been the editor on it but he was left to go on to another film and asked me if I take it over which I did. And you know there again got on well with no of him but it never made very much I don't even know if it came out in the cinema really?

Alan Lawson  38:25  
Then Then there seems to be a gap

Noreen Ackland  38:30  
Yes, I think so. I'm I knew after that I went on to live a bit later on. I went on to the prisoner. Oh, yes. I did a few dubbing jobs. But I didn't know the dates of the Mo's I went on Nicholas and Alexander with again with them when Ryder who was dubbing it and I went on this as a second up again

Alan Lawson  39:05  
then onto television series The prisoner isn't editor

Noreen Ackland  39:10  
cut to the the cowboy one which was

Alan Lawson  39:19  
Where were those where were you watching?

Noreen Ackland  39:20  
And password is courage was empty. Oh the old stones films were in this was MGM almost as it was closing and the very last episode of them. Of the prisoner 32. And at the end, and what else? I think after that almost gave up. I went to this was partly because I'd go to England my parents were getting old. Yeah. And my mother was Some got Alzheimer's. So it was helping me out there a lot. So I was I was no longer interested in getting work where I had to work solid day every day. I wanted somewhere where I could work four days a week, and spend a day when I was I was called over to I got a call from Mary Kessel who was at this news asking if I would go there and help out on something which I did with

Jim simply was cutting the series there and they wanted another editor who is the man who the Liam? The man who designed an aeroplane? Yes, son was in it began with the K

he was there

Alan Lawson  41:15  
not balls water? No. No, he's the bomb.

Noreen Ackland  41:21  
Not definitely dickweed walking. Cable kid. Anyway, doesn't work for him. And that was very successful. I was there for some time. And they let me work just for days.

Alan Lawson  41:38  
Yes. And that's nice and handy was acting. Yes. Yes, it

Noreen Ackland  41:41  
was good. And then I went back once or twice, and other things. And finally I went back as an assistant. You know, I really it was just a question of liking to handle film. Yes. Getting the smell. Yes, that's right. Yeah. Wanting to add I had to spend so much time at home. Yes. So fizzled out. Yes. It was great. while it lasted. I tell you.

Alan Lawson  42:13  
No, it isn't No. Do you want to talk a little bit about the the specials? The Mickey Mickey power specials. Did you presume the USA you assembled No. Onscreen participant. That was right. Oh, yes. Mickey power. This is 1992 presumably after Mickey powers?

Noreen Ackland  42:37  
Yes. Oh, you mean when I was interviewed? That's right. Oh, yes.

Alan Lawson  42:41  
Did you enjoy that?

Noreen Ackland  42:43  
Yes, I suppose I did. Really? Yes, I did. That 14 minutes he went on and on and on is to shut down. Yes, I did enjoy it because it makes you remember things.

Alan Lawson  42:59  
And he regrets.

Noreen Ackland  43:02  
I regret that I had more confidence. All the way through. I think I could have been a little bit more pushy. For instance, Nikki wanted me to go to Hollywood on the Queen's guard to go out there with it. If I had pushed, I could have gone and I didn't. Because a because I'm I'm a real scaredy cat. I was scared.

So yeah, they're my regrets. Really not

Alan Lawson  43:41  
looking. Looking back, would you start again? Would you want to change?

Noreen Ackland  43:47  
I don't think so. No, I've had a very happy time in the film business. And I think I was extremely lucky. Don't you and hearing all that? I mean, it all came out of you by accident. Yeah. And it was just because I was

Alan Lawson  44:05  
in the right place at the right.

Noreen Ackland  44:09  
And I got with the right people to get mad with Reggie sometimes. He never even gave me he gave me an hour off before my wedding

to go to rush up to London and get a hat. It was a car going up to town and he kept that car waiting

End of Side 2


Left school at 18 went to work for Kodak in offices. Called up to Army 1942 into Paycorp.The transferred to Army Kinema Services as assistant under Sergeant Tilly Day working alongside A A Englander and Freddie Young. Demobbed in 1946 went to Denham Labs as a Negative Cutter. Had previously joined the Union ACT in 1943. Then long career working as asst to Reginald Mills on the films of Powell & Pressburger. On the Red Shoes as Assembly Cutter where Anne V Coates was also asst.For the Third Man film she edited the sewer sequence and was credited under her married name Noreen Best married to Richard Best (#8). Dubbing asst on The Malta Story. Asked by Michael Powell to edit her first film Peeping Tom in 1959 at £35 per week. To Television as Editor on the series The Prisoner. Appeared and edited a special on Michael Powell in 1992.

Her editing roles with Powell and Pressburger were: 

  • The Queen's Guards (1961) [Editor]
  • Peeping Tom (1960) [Editor]
  • Ill Met by Moonlight (1957) [assembly editor] (uncredited)
  • The Battle of the River Plate (1956) [assembly cutter] (uncredited)
  • Oh... Rosalinda!! (1955) [dubbing editor] (uncredited)
  • The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) [assembly editor]
  • The Elusive Pimpernel (1950) [assembly editor] (uncredited)
  • The Small Back Room (1949) [assistant editor] (uncredited)
  • The Red Shoes (1948) [assistant editor] (uncredited)
  • Black Narcissus (1947) [second assistant editor] (uncredited)

A few credits appear beneath pdf tab below.


Further information: