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The Clown: Vojtech Jasny


It pays to do location scouting
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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The producer on that film was Michael Birkett who's actually Lord Birkett. He directed the second unit for one day. Well, not the second unit, he directed us in some second unit shots, one day, when Peter had to go and give an interview somewhere, because he was about to become director of the theatre in Essen or something. And he had to leave for one day. So we said we'll do those various pick-ups, and Michael Birkett was the one who officially directed that. And we did the various bits and pieces and then we wanted a shot of this car crossing this railway bridge. So you're in the car and out of the window you see all these girders going by, you see. They said to the local people, 'Right, we're going to do the shot now of the car driving across this bridge', and they all looked at us blank. They said, 'You know that big girder bridge'. We explained what we wanted, a shot out of the window with all the girders going, and they kept looking at us blank. And I said, 'This is impossible'. You know jolly well there's... this is not in... by the way, this is not in Amsterdam, this is in Cologne. We were in Cologne. There was a short section of that film made in the area of Cologne. They wanted this shot. They kept looking at us... staring at us blankly. Then, of course, it transpired that this bridge, which everybody knows and everybody's seen, is not a road bridge, it's a railway bridge. So it pays to do your location scouting.

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, Michael Birkett, Peter Zadek

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008