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Something for Everyone: First film on the continent


Difficulties in the 1970s
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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It was in the '70s that things started to change fairly drastically. And as I wrote in my book, Itinerant Cameraman, which was published in 1985... in the 1970s the road from the studio floor to the cinema, seems to have turned from a reasonably smooth highway into something of an obstacle course. Of the 12 films that I shot between 1971 and 1977, two were not released, one was left incomplete, one was kept on the shelf for three years before being released as a second feature under another title, and two were taken away from their directors and re-cut, with disastrous results artistically as well as at the box office. That's 50% of my output, rather a depressing outcome of seven years' work. Furthermore, many projects collapsed altogether, but that wasn't only in the '70s.

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: Itinerant Cameraman

Duration: 52 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008