a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The Iron Angel: Thomas Brasch


The Iron Angel: A problem with the cast
Walter Lassally Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

And then I made a second film in Berlin, also in black and white, three years later, which was called Engel aus Eisen, The Iron Angel, and that was based on a actual incident which happened during the blockade, when the airlift was on. There was a gang of youths who were staging fairly spectacular robberies. And the leader... oh no, the name's gone out of my head again. The leader of this particular gang was the hero of this. Well, if you call it that, the main protagonist of this film. But we had a... Yes, Gladow, his name is Gladow. There was a real Gladow, so in the film he's called something else, but it's based on the real Gladow, who was this leader of this band of youths who committed some robberies during that period.

The first problem with that film was the cast, because we had to find half a dozen or eight young men between the ages of, say, 16 and 22, to play the gang. And it was almost impossible. In England it would've been a doddle. It would've been terribly, terribly easy. In America too, but not in Germany. In Germany, anybody who's had any acting training immediately behaves like they have to declaim their lines. They cannot play plumbers and electricians and gang members. They're much too theatrical. They are incredibly theatrical. It's a real problem. We went through dozens and dozens and dozens of people before we found somebody who could play that part, but only just. Because, in the end, even he had to be dubbed because he looked all right, but he had this high tinny voice, so he had to be... the whole thing had to be dubbed.

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: Engel aus Eisen, The Iron Angel, Werner Gladow

Duration: 1 minute, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008