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The Day Shall Dawn: the musical number

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The Day Shall Dawn: getting the film processed and the Shahbagh hotel
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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We worked for a week, eight days, ten days, and then we gathered our stuff together and went back to the town, to the Shahbagh Hotel, and handed the stuff over to Mr. Chisti at the lab who promptly processed it. There were one or two practices at the lab that I didn't approve of, but what can you do? If they found the developer was getting too hot, they just threw lumps of ice in the tank and, of course, that dilutes the developer. But they were used to that method and the results seemed to be okay. And the different film stocks weren't a big problem. One of them was a problem. One of the film stocks, I think it was the DuPont film stock, had probably been stored badly next to the ship's engines, or something, on the way over. So that turned out to be a whole stop slower than what it's supposed to be. It was supposed to 80 ASA and it was only 40. I discovered that, you know, subsequently, but, again, the material was not unusable, and I adjusted it myself, accordingly. And, so the, so the fact of having to make it on five different film stocks, which might bother some people, didn't bother me all that much. When something is a fait accompli, what can you do? Every time we went back to the Shahbagh Hotel, by that time we had got used to the circumstances at the Shahbagh Hotel. And one of the circumstances was that the Shahbagh Hotel was divided into two sections, as far as the water supply was concerned, because there were two Japanese, big Japanese-made boilers, which supplied the hot water. And one of them was broken down- had broken down and they hadn't been fixed for the entire time that we were there. So every time we went back, we said- can we have our old room back, or, where're you going to put us? And we said, and we want a room with hot water. They always said- all our rooms have hot water. I said- no they don't. And the telephone system was something else. You must remember that in 1958, we didn't have the facility, you know, you get out your little mobile phone and you phone anywhere in the world. In Bangladesh, in 1958, you were able to speak to London on the telephone twice a week. Once via Geneva and once via somewhere else, and you had to book that well in advance. Then you waited by the telephone, hours possibly, and then your call might come through, or it might not. That was it. No other way of communicating. You could send a telegram, I suppose, but that's another story. As we were processing locally, we didn't have this problem of communicating with the lab, as we had in India, for instance. And- so at the Shahbagh Hotel, yes, hot water in all our rooms, but not in actual fact. We relaxed a bit and the stuff was processed, and we saw it in the- I can't remember where we saw the rushes. I don't think the studio had a projection theatre. It must have had. We must have seen our rushes somewhere, but I don't remember where. Anyway, that was all pretty satisfactory. There weren't any retakes or anything like that.

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: 3 minutes, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008