John Box had one of the most productive design careers in British cinema, winning a record four Academy Awards and four BAFTAs. He shot to fame with Lawrence of Arabia (1962)., and directors ranging from David Lean and Carol Reed to Michael Mann and Norman Jewison have all valued his abilit to bring "a vocabulary of life" to the challenges of each film. Whether he was recreating 1930s China in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), recapturing revolutionary Russia in Dr Zhivago (1965), projecting the future in Rollerball (1975), or imaging a mythic past in First Knight (1995), Box shaped screen worlds across five decades, helping to establish the traditions of British production design that are still followed today. Based on interviews with John Box and the full co-operation of many of his key collaborators, this lavish, 4-color book shares Box's solutions to design problems and provides unique insight into the production designer's collaborative role in the business of filmmaking.
Ian Christie is professor of film and media history at Birkbeck College. He has written and edited books on Powell and Pressburger, Russian cinema, Martin Scorsese, and Terry Gilliam.