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Passing Stranger


Another Sky: Distribution problems
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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It turned out that the film was virtually un... unsaleable. It wasn't a particularly commercial film, and none of the commercial enterprises like... distributors like Fox or Rank, had put any money in so they had no interest in... in showing it, because it wasn't an obvious winner. And... so they had great difficulty in getting it shown. And in fact it wasn't shown except for a week in... a week in New York, a week in London...a week in... oh it... it had a success in Paris. And there is in existence somewhere, I think I have it, a very... a very long and very friendly review by a critic... a French critic called Nicole Vedrès, in... in some French magazine. It's not in Cahiers de Cinema, but it's in some French magazine, and she gave the film a very... good review. And I slightly suspect that, seeing a film made in English with French subtitles, puts a different kind of picture on it. Because the biggest weakness of the film was the central character, Victoria Grayson, who was very dull, very lifeless, and... and... there... there wasn't any great interest in her performance. She was a veteran of something called The Granville Melodramas, which was a series running on early British television, and she was the heroine of that series, and she wasn't Gavin Lambert's first choice either. But the whole film had to be prepared and made in a bit of a hurry, so he settled for a third choice. The first choice was Yvonne Mitchell who wasn't available. I can't remember who else was considered. But Victoria turned out to be a bit of a bind, and, and the film was virtually unsaleable. But, I imagine that if you see an English film with... with French subtitles in France, some of the nuances in her performance would pass you by. In other words, there weren't any nuances in her performance. With... with French subtitles, it probably looked a bit... a bit better. Anyway it was a success... it was a success in France, but nowhere else.

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: Paris, New York, London

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008