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The Blood of Hussain: the white stallion (Part 2)
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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So one day, for reasons I fail to understand, they allowed one member of the crew, who had no experience with horses, to take this horse into the centre of the city and there was an incident and the horse shied, and it became impaled on some railings. It tried to jump over some railings and it became impaled on the railings. Of course it had to go to the vet and it was okay. But it was quite seriously injured, and there was no question of shooting on it for the foreseeable future, so that was sent back to- I think they sent it back, after treatment by the vet, they sent it back to its home, some way away. It belonged to some high-up person somewhere. In the end that turned out to be fatal. The film could not be finished without that scene with the horse. There's a scene, beautiful scene, where the horse bursts out of the earth. Because it's, sort of, symbolic. The horse is not only just a horse, it's also a sort of symbolic horse, and there's a scene where it bursts out of the earth. That scene was shot some months later when the horse was okay again, by somebody else. It was shot by Colin, in fact, by the makeup man who was also doing the special effects. And, of course, only I am credited as the photographer, so I got the credit for something I hadn't actually done. Although we had discussed it how it might be possible to do that. So you dig a pit, and I suggested that they cover him with brown cork chips, which would look like earth, and the horse could very easily, just at a point, he could be let go and it would naturally fight to get out of there. That's a beautiful scene which they shot in slow motion. But, to cut a very long story short, I couldn't finish the film myself. There were an increasing number of difficulties. The film had been- I would've thought 80% had been shot, and there was just certain things left to do, including this horse scene. So eventually I left and left the film unfinished. And, and it wasn't until two years later that I suddenly heard that the film had been premiered somewhere. It had been shown at some festival somewhere. But because Jamil hadn't contacted me, he hadn't told me that he'd finished it. He hadn't told me that somebody else shot the horse scene. I would've been perfectly happy to go back and shoot it if he wanted me to. But by that time the relationship had, kind of, cooled to a point where obviously he didn't feel it necessary to approach me. So the surprise- It came as a surprise to me to find that the film had actually been finished.

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, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008