Ken Adam and the Art of Production Design
Go behind the curtain of one of the film world’s least understood art forms with the visual architect of 007
Who can forget the eloquence, sex appeal, and sheer luck of James Bond? The bombshells may vary, Bond might be played by Sean Connery or Roger Moore, but the style remains constant, an expectant suit of clothes simply waiting for the right actor to dive in and hoist his (shaken) martini in the air. Populated with international intrigue and riddled with gadgets, the world of Bond introduced a new kind of cinema, the look and feel of which was engineered by Ken Adam.
The mastermind behind seven of the first eleven Bond films, including Dr. No, Adam has been lauded as one of the world’s greatest production designers. First recognized during the filming of Around the World in Eighty Days, he has managed to cultivate a rapt following in one of the cinema’s most underappreciated professions, and with it a reputation for grandly expressionistic sets, such as the war room in Dr. Strangelove and Blofeld’s volcanic headquarters in You Only Live Twice. In this career-spanning series of interviews with Christopher Frayling, Adam shares the inspiration behind his work—from rebuilding eighteenth-century galleons to designing Bond’s moonbuggy—in the process revealing little-known anecdotes of a life begun in Weimar Berlin and nearly ended in World War II, only to piece itself back together and revolutionize the medium of film in its color-saturated golden age.
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