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As Dark As The Night: Watching Georges PĂ©rinal at work


As Dark As The Night: My first big mistake
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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I got that job because Alan Withy, the man who made the model for the Saturday Night film, was working at MGM, and he got me that job. And, that film contained my... virtually my only severe mistake, which called for retakes. And the... the producer was furious. A lady called Nicole Millinaire, was the producer. And the film had to be made in quite a hurry, but... it was little more than a B feature, really. I think... and yeah, it was designed for cinemas in Britain and American television, with the result that we saw our rushes on a square. The rushes screen was completely square because it showed only the piece which, British cinemas, which were wide-screen by then, and American television had in common, was this square. But it didn't show all the other things that were being photographed round... round, so it was not a... it was not a guide at all to the... to the actual frame that was being photographed. It was... was quite bizarre. Anyway, there was a... there was a... a night sequence in there where... which was done back projection. The first, and I think it's the only time I've done any... any real back projection. It was a taxi driving along the embankment in London.

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: Alan Whithy, Nicole Millinaire

Duration: 1 minute, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008