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Operating the camera on Zorba the Greek


Comparisons between Tom Jones and Zorba the Greek
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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There's quite an interesting comparison between Tom Jones and Zorba, because they had certain things in common, but there were significant differences. They had the schedule in common. They were both scheduled for 15 weeks, 15/16 weeks, because they were both big movies. And... they had... in the case of Zorba, I would say, the crew was about one quarter of the crew on Tom Jones, if you count all the menagerie and all the animal handlers and God knows what. On Zorba we had something like six foreigners, and the rest were Greeks. There was a makeup man from Italy, assistant director from Italy... no, makeup man... a makeup couple. Makeup and hair were a couple from France. There was a Italian assistant director and Italian stills photographer, and me, and all the rest were Greeks. Of course, there was Anis Nohra who was... who was a Greek from Lebanon who was Cacoyannis' regular assistant. By that time he'd been promoted to sort of production manager, kind of thing. But the crew numbered about 25 people, whereas on Tom Jones it numbered 100 people, if you count everybody. And also the big difference between those two movies is, not only the directorial style, which we've already talked about, which were very different, but the general manner of making the film with a limited amount of equipment and fairly primitively, but, but very effectively. You didn't need all that extra gear. Zorba had a very limited lamp park of... not park... very limited range of lights, and... most of which... all of which were local, and some of... these box lights, again, we used was photo-floods in boxes, and it was very effective.

Born in Germany, cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926-2017) was best known for his Oscar-winning work on 'Zorba the Greek'. He was greatly respected in the film industry for his ability to take the best of his work in one area and apply it to another, from mainstream to international art films to documentary. He was associated with the Free Cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. In 1987 he published his autobiography called 'Itinerant Cameraman'.

Listeners: Peter Bowen

Peter Bowen is a Canadian who came to Europe to study and never got round to heading back home. He did his undergraduate work at Carleton University (in Biology) in Ottawa, and then did graduate work at the University of Western Ontario (in Zoology). After completing his doctorate at Oxford (in the Department of Zoology), followed with a year of postdoc at the University of London, he moved to the University's newly-established Audio-Visual Centre (under the direction of Michael Clarke) where he spent four years in production (of primarily science programs) and began to teach film. In 1974 Bowden became Director of the new Audio-Visual Centre at the University of Warwick, which was then in the process of introducing film studies into the curriculum and where his interest in the academic study of film was promoted and encouraged by scholars such as Victor Perkins, Robin Wood, and Richard Dyer. In 1983, his partner and he moved to Greece, and the following year he began to teach for the University of Maryland (European Division), for which he has taught (and continues to teach) biology and film courses in Crete, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Tags: schedule, movies, crew, managerie, director, manager, style, gear

Duration: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008