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Film crews now and then


Riverside Studios shut down
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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It was largely due to the Union's abuses... due to the Union's abuse of power that some of these crises happened where the studio shut down. And... two pictures which were in production just prior to that studio shutting down, were, sort of reasonably major feature film, called Daughter of Darkness, starring Siobhan McKenna, and also in production was a much lesser thing, more like a B feature, but it became famous, or infamous, for being the first, sort of, pornographic film. It wasn't in the least pornographic, but it was called, No Orchids for Miss Blandish, and it's based on a novel by James Hadley Chase, and it had the reputation of being terribly, terribly, risqué. There weren't any nude scenes or anything, but it was... it had this reputation of being very, very dodgy. And those two pictures, one of which, as I said, was almost a B feature, were in production, would you believe, 24 and 26 weeks, respectively. Whereas those kind of picture would now be made in 24 or 26 days. And then it took 24 or 26 weeks, and, of course, the industry couldn't sustain that. It's impossible. It was absolutely impossible.

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: Daughter of Darkness, No Orchids for Miss Blandish

Duration: 1 minute, 28 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008