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The Battleship Potemkin Survivor
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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And another very unusual film I made was... it was called The Battleship Potemkin Survivor. It was made for Italian television, RAI. There was a journalist called Malcolm Montaldi that a friend of Kate's... He was the boyfriend of a girlfriend of Kate's. He had... he unearthed this project. God knows how they found this man. They found a man... would you... this is all... do you know, truth is much stranger than fiction. That's one thing that documentary filming teaches you. They found this man who was a survivor of the original Battleship Potemkin. And what was he doing? He was running a fish and chip shop in Dublin. We went to interview this man. We showed him the movie, Battleship Potemkin, and we filmed his reaction. And he said, 'Oh no, it wasn't like that at all. Eisenstein must have invented all that'. I said, 'Weren't there any worms in the meat?' 'Oh, yes, yes, but not like that', he said.

That film... unfortunately, that is another film which just disappeared. Malcolm Montaldi died a few years later, and when we got onto RAI and said, 'Where is this film?' They said, 'Oh well, you know, somewhere in the archives, but we'll have a go'. But they never found it. They never found it. Such a shame because what an extraordinary subject. What an absolutely extraordinary subject.

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 Battleship Potemkin Survivor, Battleship Potemkin, Malcolm Montaldi

Duration: 1 minute, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008