An interesting little piece of trivia was recently posted on Reddit and considering it featured ground-breaking director Stanley Kubrick, I thought it would be an absolute crime not to share it with all you serious cinephiles.
In an interview, Ken Adam has revealed that during the filming of The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, on which he was production designer, he was really struggling in deciding how to light a particular scene.
Unable to get his head around lighting the inside of an enormous tanker ship, the villain's secret lair, he gave his old boss Stanley Kubrick a call in the hope that the great director would be able to part with some gems of wisdom on how to do it.
He recalls calling Kubrick asking him if he was prepared to come to Pinewood Studios near London, where the filming was taking place. In response the director voiced great concerns that he would bump into someone on the set and had to be repeatedly reassured that nobody would be there when he was setting up the lighting. After all, he was not the director on the project, or in any way involved!
In the interview, Adam remembers telling his old friend:
"Stanley, I will guarantee you that there will be nobody on the set. You can come on a Sunday morning, I have the key to the stage, there will be only you and me and nobody else."
"It was amazing!"
Naturally, Kubrick proved his all-mighty awesomeness by sneaking in as arranged to put together all the practical and source lighting himself. As expected, the results were magnificent. Just take a look at some snapshots from the scene and see what you think:
Now that I know this piece of secret information, I can definitely recognize the Kubrick-esque elements in the lighting! The best part is also that the Clockwork Orange director didn't want his name anywhere near the credits of the James Bond movie either!
Watch the interview with Ken Adam in full below, followed by the tanker ship sequence that Kubrick lit in the second part of the clip:
Ultimately, stories such as this just reiterate how much filmmaking is a collaborative art and how a director's role goes far beyond simply herding a group of actors and crew around.
For Kubrick, his passion for cinematography lies beyond money-making and his determination to help an old friend out is testament to his talent as a director, his technical genius, but also his unusual artistic integrity.
Stanley Kubrick, we salute you!