Cat no. 226524

British Cinema History Research Project Oral Histories: L.P. Williams (art director)

c.1988

L.P. Williams (10 August 1905 - 8 October 1996)
Interviewed by Rodney Giesler

After an early career as an architect, L. P. Williams began as an Art Director working for Herbert Wilcox at the Stoll Studios, Cricklewood in 1928. He remained with Wilcox, moving to British and Dominions at Elstree and working on films such as 'Victoria the Great' (1937) and 'Sixty Glorious Years' (1938), later going with Wilcox to Hollywood where he worked on 'Mr & Mrs Smith' (1941) with Alfred Hitchcock. He returned during the war as a member of the RAF and saw active service in Egypt. After the war he worked most famously on 'Brief Encounter' (1945) and later became technical director at Denham and Pinewood Studios.

In this interview Williams talks to Rodney Giesler in detail about his career. There are extended discussions of the technical difficulties which the introduction of sound and colour (particularly Technicolor) presented to the art director. Williams recalls his involvement with David Rawnsley and the Independent Frame process, and discusses his memories of various colleagues, including Freddie Young, Tom Walls, Maurice Elvey and Herbert Wilcox. He gives accounts of the production of 'Victoria the Great' and 'Brief Encounter' (1945) and recalls his early involvement in the Association of Cinematograph Technicians (ACT) – the forerunner of BECTU.