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NEXT STORY

Oedipus the King: crossing the line (Part 1)

RELATED STORIES

Oedipus the King: Christopher Plummer
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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Orson Wells I had a lot of admiration for. I mean, he could afford to be a bit awkward when the camera wasn't running because he was so brilliant when it was running. But Christopher Plummer was another matter. I rather locked horns with him several times and he, he, he did annoy me. For instance, he wouldn't stand on his mark before the clapper-board was given, so you couldn't line him up properly. He said- oh, you can do that with the stand-in. So I said, it's not the same, won't you just for a moment- no, no, no, I have to- and he's pacing about somewhere near the place, and then the clapper-board would be given and then he would step on his starting place, which was a bit of a nuisance. And, also, there was quite a few discussions with Philip Saville the director. Again, the situation which I've come across several times where the director and the star have something like director- star had something like director approval, or they're supposed to be the best of friends, but when it actually comes to it, they quarrel all the time, and they won't do what they're told. They won't do what the director asks them to do, at least not first time. So there's a lot of these discussions going on with everybody waiting. And many, many a time- There's been many a time when we felt, in the crew, we'd- next morning we'd all appear with these T-shirts which say, Just Do It! Anyway, he- there was a scene where- Roger Livesey was there and Cyril Cusack were there, and they were all patiently waiting in the arena at their appointed places, wearing these heavy woollen garments, and it was May/June. It was hot. And- and the chorus were all there. In the chorus was Takis Emmanuel whom I'd worked with previously twice, in "Zorba-" and in "Electra". And, again, there was some hiatus and Christopher started delaying things and talking to Philip Saville and everybody was waiting patiently, and suddenly there this was this outburst from Takis. He had this outburst all in Greek. He's saying- and then they calmed him down and the scene proceeded. But immediately afterwards Christopher came and he said- what did he say, what did he say? We'll tell you later, you know. And then in the evening we said, what he said was- we're not extras, we're all players of the National Theatre, we have all played this part before. You know, the part that you're playing here, we've played before and we're sick and tired of being treated like dirt by people like you.

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.

Duration: 2 minutes, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008