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The Day Shall Dawn: Almost defeated by Nature


The Day Shall Dawn: Filming on the river
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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So we started our filming and most of the filming went quite well, but there were some quite tricky scenes. The first scene in the film is the fishermen setting off for their night's fishing, because they... they fished at night. And each boat had a paraffin lamp at the back. One of those pump-up things. What are they called? They're called Tilley lanterns in some places. They have another name in America.

[Q] Coleman lanterns.

Yes, Coleman lanterns in America. In England they're called Tilley lamps. Very often it was the wicks for those that was missing, and we couldn't leave because we hadn't got a new supply of wicks for the Tilley lamps. Anyway, the first sequence... in the script it read, you know, fairly easily, sort of, this boat goes out and... and they do their fishing, they have a bit of dialogue, and the light is coming from this little lamp. Then, at the end of the sequence it says: '...and we pan with the boat into the rising dawn', which is when they stop fishing. Lovely, very nice.

Now we had this launch and I think we also had some... some kind of a raft that was made, I think, so as to enable us to work on the river, which, as I say, was a mile wide. So we started off in this little creek that ran along the village. And all the preparations for going off fishing were done there, and that was relatively simple. We had our generator and we had... so that could be lit fairly simply. And we had a local electrician that helped us who was reasonably experienced, but not in film making, just as an electrician. Except that he had certain habits that we... we, sort of, wondered about, and now and then I heard a shout going up. John Fletcher shouting, 'Ayub no!' What he was doing, he was stripping the cable with his teeth, to make the... to make the connections.

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: The Day Shall Dawn

Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008