Cat no. 226487

British Cinema History Research Project Oral Histories: Carmen Dillon (art director)


Carmen Dillon (25 October 1908 - 12 April 2000)

Carmen Dillon was born in Cricklewood in 1908. After training at the Architectural Association, she entered the film industry as an assistant designer at the Wembley Studios, working on 'Quota Quickies' for Fox British. Early in the War she moved to Denham and was the art director or production designer on numerous films for Two Cities, Rank and others until her retirement in 1979.

In this interview with Sidney Cole, Dillon discusses her work on major films such as 'Henry V', 'Hamlet' and 'Accident', and recalls the different colleagues she worked with, including Paul Sheriff, Desmond Dickinson, Laurence Olivier, David Lean, and Joseph Losey. She compares the various studios she worked in, and recounts the story of her sister's role in founding Dillon's Bookshop in Gower Street. She briefly touches on her experience as a woman in a male dominated industry (recalling that after an initial incident she encountered very little prejudice).

While Dillon's failing memory makes this a disappointingly brief and sketchy interview, it nevertheless contains some intriguing material.

(Lawrence Napper, BCHRP)