Thursday, February 5, 2015

A is for Alba and Adam....Day 36 of Bond 365

It’s the day of the ‘A’ in this case Rose Alba and Ken Adam. Welcome back to Bond 365 and it Day 36!

An Egyptian rose, the beautiful Rose Alba
Rose Alba
Born this day in 1920
Madame Boitier in Thunderball

When I did a Google search for “Rose Alba” the top results were of a variety of rose, then further down, Rose Alba, an Egyptian actress. I was excited because she had a Wiki page, which boiled down to the fact that she was a known vegetarian, but little else. At IMDB, she had 25 actress credits including Thunderball and an episode of The Saint, where she would have worked with Bond alum Sir Roger Moore.

I wish there was more to report, but sadly, the Internet shared little.

Ken Adam, set designer extraordinaire 
Ken Adam
Born this day in 1921
Production Designer for several early Bond films

I believe we can recite pretty quickly the tropes that make up the Bond film formula for success: Bond, Bond Girl, gadgets, sports cars, arch villain, and exotic locales. One additional facet of the formula is often overlooked: the grandiose futuristic sets created by British architect, Ken Adam. His sets defined Dr. No, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker. One would have to wonder what the interiors of Dr. No’s underwater lair would have looked like, or the gold vault’s of Fort Knox, or even M’s conference room in Thunderball.

He worked on some other famous sets: the war room for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, The Icpress File, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (written by Ian Fleming), another Kubrick masterpiece Barry Lyndon, interestingly Salon Kitty, Addams Family Values, and video game GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. He was nominated for Academy Awards in five of his films and he would Best Art Direction on two: Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George. He was nominated for nine BAFTAs and won for two: Dr. Strangelove and The Ipcress File. He received an Art Directors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 at the Ischia Film Festival.

If you want to learn more about Adam, there are a few books out there:

Ken Adam Designs the Movies: James Bond and Beyond by Ken Adam and Christopher Frayling (2008, Thames & Hudson)

Ken Adam: The Art of Production Design by Christopher Frayling (2006, Faber & Faber)

The Ken Adam Archives by Christopher Frayling and Ken Adam (June 2015, Taschen) – this release will be the same format as The James Bond Archives book, also from Taschen. I hope I have an extra $200 so I can pick this up! 

Moonraker Lair

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