In 2005 Angela Allen was presented with the MICHAEL BALCON AWARD for OUTSTANDING BRITISH CONTRIBUTION TO CINEMA.  Introduction by Anjelica Huston.


ANJELICA HUSTON introduced ANGELA ALLEN by saying..

In recent years the award has been presented to individuals representing areas of the film business not usually acknowledged in other awards.

This year we honour the equally important role of Script Supervisor.

The recipient of this year's Michael Balcon award first worked as a Script Supervisor in 1949, since then she has brought her unique brilliance to bear on many many great films, including 'The Third Man', 'The African Queen', 'The Dirty Dozen', 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'Murder on the Orient Express', 'Tea with Mussolini'.

In a glittering career that has spanned seven decades, she has become one of the most respected and sought after women in the business.

The recipient of this award is a truly remarkable woman.   My dad used to tell a story about her on 'The African Queen' and how she was making script notes perched on a small craft in crocodile infested waters.   An enormous hippopotamus surfaced inches away from the boat;  of course she barely blinked an eye.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema goes to the marvellous Miss Angela Allen.

ANGELA ALLEN:

I have left the zimmer frame behind this evening. Actually I've loaned it to The Producers, I thought they could do with an extra one, so I'm still here.   Anyway, thank you Anjel and thank you to BAFTA and all those colleagues of mine who voted that I come up here and accept the award.   But in actual fact I am really accepting it on behalf of all the Script Supervisors from


the past, the great ladies that taught me and particularly David Lean's lady, called Maggie Unsworth, Elaine Shreyeck and June Randall, who has only just hung up the stopwatch.

I think I have passed the baton on to two very good girls in Nikki Clapp and Annie Penn and of course there are so many more that I'm not mentioning names.   A well-trained Script Supervisor can save a production a lot of money and time and a poor one, or an untrained one, can cost the company a fortune.

I think I was lucky because I trained for two years at the Korda Studios and then I was unleashed on 'The Third Man', on the second unit.   But Carol Reed directed everything and I think I can honestly say he was my mentor.   And then I met John, and well from that, from 'The African Queen', as Angelica has told you, I went on to do 14 more films with him.   So I suppose, I suppose, I did something right, otherwise he'd have got rid of me, and anyway I was the butt of so many of his practical jokes.   Until about 10 years after the first film he said he realized that I understood it was a sign of affection.

Well, it hasn't always been an easy ride and furious arguments were and are often had, but all the good or great Directors I have had the privilege to work with have made me feel that I was a vital element in the film making process.   Truly talented people have never been thrown by constructive criticism and even maestro Zeffirelli, who is perhaps the most volatile a divo... well I can match him when I have to.   He says that it shows passion for the job.   Well that's true, I still do have a passion and hope that although I have had a good innings there are still a few runs left to be made.


Printed with kind permission of BAFTA and Angela Allen.