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Nice little incidents on 'The Day Shall Dawn'

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The Day Shall Dawn: filming on the river (Part 2)
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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So eventually, having done the preparation shooting on this little inlet, we went out onto the big river and there were, I think there were two boats, I think, at that time, on that scene. All the close stuff we did before in the little inlet where I had one light, one 500w pup lighting, simulating the light coming from this lantern. And- Fortunately the fishing boats had a little- sort of like a little hut, like a little shelter in the middle which was open-ended, at both ends, so you could shine the light in and hide the pup by carefully positioning the boat, so that the actual cover- the actual shelter hid the- hid the electric light. But the electric light had to be powered. There were cables running under the sea- under the water, rather, under the water to our launch or raft, I can't quite remember, I think it was a raft, anyway, and on which was the generator, you see. So this whole expedition set off into the middle of this river. Although there wasn't much wind or anything, the river had quite a strong current, so controlling this operation was quite difficult. And, at one time, I remember, I was so annoyed that my instructions weren't being followed, which was due to the problems- due to the difficulties of composition, so I had this little metal megaphone and I smashed the megaphone on the side of the boat and actually cut my hand. I was so upset. And then the last shot, the shot where it says, you pan the boat into the rising dawn, was- was actually quite complicated. You can imagine, the dawn is rising and speed is of the essence, and yet, to control the boat, let alone the two boats, that's when I smashed the megaphone I think, because first, second, third attempts didn't work, we had to redo it, and the dawn was coming up more and more and more. But we did get the shot in the end. But that wasn't easy, I can tell 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, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008