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The production design of Ken Adam - Dr. No's lair

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Uploaded on Apr 9, 2010

Production design is a largely unsung art. In most films, both the script and historical accuracy serve as harsh governors on the dreams and fantasies of the people charged with designing a movies sets and props. But the Bond films, Adam says, "are done so loosely that the script isnt the Bible that it is in most films. It changes all the time, and the whole process of writing is like some democratic debating society."

When DR. NO went into production in 1961, Adam got a mere 14,000 pounds (out of the movies total budget of 350,000) with which to design all of the interior sets for this (in his words) "tongue-in-cheek spectacular," including the casino from the opening scene, Bond's apartments, M's office, and the sprawling, futuristic lair of the villainous doctor himself. He performed his task in England while the rest of the cast and crew were off filming exteriors in Jamaica, and when they returned they were stunned by what they saw.

Adam, originally a German who had fled to England with his family before the War, had called on his love of German Expressionism to invent outrageous sets that were, as he called them, "theatrical realism. . . exaggerated practicality. . . hyper-reality by design." Larger-than-life, yes, but still of life, much like Fleming's novels themselves. "Nobody could foresee the success of DR. NO," Adams insists. "What happened was like magic, almost."

Two years later, Adam arrived on the set of his second Bond film, GOLDFINGER, with a budget many times that of his previous effort.
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FOR CONSERVATIVE MOVIE LOVERS is the name of an ongoing series of written essays on cinema appearing at BIG HOLLYWOOD, a leading conservative website focused on reforming America's poisoned popular culture:

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Join conservative cinéaste Leo Grin as he journeys through the history of the greatest art form of our time, highlighting the intellectual, mythological, and cultural importance of the discipline from a right-wing perspective. Read penetrating essays on each film, explore a host of accompanying links to further reading, find information on buying and renting the discussed movies, and add your comments to the ongoing film-club discussion.

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