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Gun Before Butter: The shooting


Gun Before Butter: Peter Zadek
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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The next movie I shot on the Continent was called Gun Before Butter, which is based on a thriller by Nicholas Freeling featuring the detective, Van der Valk, a Dutch detective. This film was directed by an old friend of mine called Peter Zadek, Peter Zadek, Peter Zadek, who shares a similar history to my own. He's also of German origin and was a refugee. He came to England roughly about the same time as I did. And at that time... and started as a theatre director. I would say he is actually principally a theatre director. A bit like Peter Hall. He's made one or two movies but he's principally a theatre director. In fact, there was a period in London when all the theatre directors were called Peter. There was Peter Zadek, Peter Brook, Peter Hall. They were all called Peter.

And... first time I worked with Peter Zadek was on a small documentary that he made called, Simon, which was about a handicapped boy in London, and his various adventures. And I can't remember under what auspices this was made, but it was a little... a nice little film that was quickly shot and it had a certain amount of success. But that was several years before. During the making of that film, or during the making of another film that he made shortly after Simon... this is going to get very complicated. Anyway, there was an incident when Peter Zadek, who at that time was fairly poor, he hadn't got much money, was making this other film which features another little boy and a goat. And my friend, John Fletcher, actually photographed that for him, and I helped out once or twice. There was a particular occasion when they were filming in a pub in East London somewhere in the winter, in the depth of winter. And while they were shooting certain things that didn't need the goat... didn't feature the goat, they locked the goat in John's little van. John had a little van which they used for the shooting. When they finally came to get the goat for the next shot, they discovered that the goat had eaten Peter's only winter coat. It was very, very sad. I can picture his face. He's another one of those people who's got a slightly hangdog face anyway. I can imagine his face, having seen that the goat's eaten his only coat.

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: Gun Before Butter, Simon, Peter Zadek, Nicholas Freeling, John Fletcher

Duration: 2 minutes, 33 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008