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The Clown: Shooting a black and white sequence


The Clown: The cast and dinner with Heinrich Böll
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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That film, The Clown, had a very good cast. There was Helmut Griem who played the clown himself, then Hanna Schygulla played his girlfriend and Eva Maria Meineke played his mother. Hans Christian Blech played Hanna Schygulla's father, who runs a small tobacconist shop. And Heinrich Böll came down a couple of times and whenever Griem would ask him advice, he used to say, 'Look, for me this is a bit old hat, ask the director'. And there was one occasion when... We got quite friendly. Kate was there, as she always was on location. Not all the time, but quite a lot of the time. We got invited to dinner one day by Böll, and he said, 'Come to dinner, we're celebrating'. And I said, 'Oh lovely, where shall we go?' We decided a certain restaurant, you know, and then I said, 'By the way, what are we celebrating?' And he said, 'My doctor is dead'. And apparently, his old doctor, the one who died, had said to him for heart condition, whatever he suffered from, he said: no alcohol. And the new doctor had said, 'Well, I don't know, I don't think we have to be quite as severe as all that, in moderation', and Böll said, 'Well, what does that mean?' And he said, 'Well, let's say not more than a bottle a day'. Böll promptly produced one, sort of, three-litre bottle of red wine. But he was a very nice man, Heinrich Böll, very nice man. As was Jasny.

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: The Clown, Helmut Griem, Hanna Schygulla, Eva Maria Meineke, Hans Christian Blech

Duration: 1 minute, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008