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Dan and The Greeks

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Documentaries: making a short with Joan Littlewood and others
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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I did a little short with Joan Littlewood once, which was to promote her Fun Palace. She was- she had a scheme going that what Londoners needed badly was a Fun Palace, so we made this little promotional film with her. It showed things like stripteases and the penny- Pyramid of Pennies in a pub and people doing stunts riding on top of an aircraft, a double winged aircraft, firing at balloo- all sorts of weird things. But in the end the film proved that Londoners were having a wonderful time. The last thing they needed was a Fun Palace. That led- proved to be counterproductive. Of course, I made a number of documentaries with Lindsay, which I've already mentioned, with Tony the one, with Karel. Then there was the lovely man- a lovely man named Michael Gill with whom I worked many times, at great intervals. I shot a film with him called "Peaches"- "The Peaches", which won the top prize for fiction at the Oberhausen Festival in 60-something. Then I continued to work with Michael, and for Michael I made a series of documentaries for television- I photographed a series of documentaries for television, which were the story of the garden, which were called "Nature Perfected". First of all there were six, then they expanded it to 12, and of those 12, I photographed four, parts of four, or even five. And I directed three myself, directed and photographed. The one in Japan- in China I directed, the one in India I directed, and the one in- there was one in France which I directed, which focussed on Versailles and some of the Loire Chateaux. I always liked that kind of work. It's sort of leisurely, but it's interesting and it's a one-man operation, basically, where you have- usually it's 16mm, you have an assistant. It's a small-scale operation but the results are normally pleasing, which is not always the case with the features. You must have all noticed by now that it's not always all that pleasing on the features. You take pot luck.

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.

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008