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Joanna: why too many good reviews can be bad

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Joanna: Donald Sutherland and the reaction at Cannes
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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Donald Sutherland was cast rather- three-quarters of the way into the picture he was cast, rather across type, as a, as an English lord, and he devised for himself, a very interesting accent, which was somewhere between the English and the Canadian, and it worked beau- it worked beautifully. And he came with us to Morocco. There's a lovely scene that we played in Morocco on the beach with the sunset which was happening, which was largely improvised and I was getting more and more worried because I was thinking sooner or later he's going to say, cut, and he didn't say cut and the camera kept rolling, and the light kept changing. I thought, you know, how's this going to be- how am I going to inter-cut this with the close-ups and with the other angle. But it all worked out- all worked out in the end. And then, the film went to Cannes. And at the end of the film, the heroine leaves London after her many adventures, and she leans out of the window and she waves to whoever, and she says- don't worry, I'll be back. And the Cannes audience rose out of their seats and shouted- jamais, never. It has rather a nice ending actually there, "Joanna". She leaves on the train and the boyfriend, the painter played by this German actor, Christopher- I can't remember, I'll look it up. Anyway the, the boyfriend is left behind and so she's waving to him, technically. And then the train goes out of sight, and suddenly he looks around and on the opposite platform is the entire cast assembled, and they sing and dance to one of the numbers that appears- because there's quite a few musical numbers in the film, and Joanna is there in her top hat and doing a dance, so that's the sort of credit sequence at the end. It was rather nicely- rather nicely done. And you see the camera crane and the operator and all that. But in Cannes they didn't reckon- she wasn't welcome back.

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, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008