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Malachi's Cove: The storm sequence


Malachi's Cove: Filming in Cornwall
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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So during the '70s I also worked in England and elsewhere, and one of the films I made in England was called Malachi's Cove. It's one of those films that suffered an unfortunate fate towards the end. It was never released until much later. And that was a film starring Donald Pleasance and... what's her name? A young girl who was just getting started. I should study these names beforehand. Anyway, it was a studio-made film, directed by Henry Herbert, who is actually the 18th Earl of Pembroke, I think I've got the number right, and who is the owner of the famous Wilton House which has an even more famous cube room in it. He was a very nice man. All my experiences of the aristocracy have been very pleasant. There was Sir Aymer Maxwell, the producer of Another Sky, there was Henry Herbert, there was Michael Birkett, and they're all very charming. So my experience of so-called blue stockings was entirely favourable. And... where was I... I've lost the track again?

[Q] Cornwall and the small stage.

Yes, Cornwall and the small stage, yes. I made... That film was made at Bray Studios, and a short section was filmed in Cornwall. I had the job of matching studio scenes in Bray, where the studio... it's a small stage and the studio wall was only just behind the set wall, so when you look out of the window... when somebody opens the door, when you look out of the window of this cottage in the studio, what you see is a backing, and that has to match the real sea landscape that we photographed in Cornwall. And I used a trick, which comes from the theatre, which is, if you haven't got much space between the camera and the backing, which was to use a large theatrical gauze, like the ones they used in the theatre. That is placed is about 3ft, 4ft, from the backing towards the camera, and that, kind of, gives you a bit of distance, it gives you the feeling of distance. And that worked extremely well. When I see that film now I'm quite pleased with the results. And I've thought of the girl's name, it's Veronica Quilligan.

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: Malachi's Cove, Another Sky, Donald Pleasance, Henry Herbert, Aymer Maxwell, Michael Birkett, Veronica Quilligan

Duration: 2 minutes, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008