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Every Day Except Christmas


Censorship problems with Beat Girl and filming in caves
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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The film had some censorship problems because it contained a... a scene where they... what do they call that in English where you... a dare, a dare where people put their heads on a... on a... on a railway line and withdraw them at the very last minute. And when... we filmed that... again, with some quite interesting, not back projection, but blue-screen technique, which I discovered, that we just laid these people down on a blue surface, and all the rest was done in the lab. It was in the special effects, and they... you know, they produce the railway line and... and, by special effects, and they... it looks, in the film, as though they were lying on the railway line, when in fact, they were lying on a... on a blue background. But that sequence met with opposition from the censor who said, we're not going to encourage young people to play that kind of game. So they forced them to cut that whole sequence. And it was also the beginning of my cave period in that period... in that film, in Taste of Honey and in the first of the... one of the second Greek films. I had a... I had a cave shoot, so I look upon those years, '60, '61... '59, '60, '61, as my... my cave period because I had three shot... shoots in a cave. In different caves. And, I didn't mind that, but in my documentary days I'd always refused to go down the mine. Once or twice I was offered movies that were made down the mine, and I would never do that because I thought, I don't fancy that. That's something I... I thought was claustrophobic and undesirable, but caves are something else. And I learnt things again... interesting things like the... the temperature in caves all over the world is like +12° Centigrade, something... something like that.

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: railway, censor, cave, mine

Duration: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008