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A Taste of Honey: film stock and lighting

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A Taste of Honey: an all-location film
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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So my first real entry into the British film industry came with Tony Richardson and Woodfall, after the somewhat abor- abortive efforts of "As Dark as the Night" and "Beat Girl". And "Taste of Honey"- He asked me to do "Taste of Honey" in 1961, but "Taste of Honey" was actually ready to be filmed one year previously, when I wasn't asked to do it, when he had, I think, Freddie Francis marked down as cameraman, and, having already made "The Entertainer" and- and, "Look Back In Anger". But the- Tony wanted to make "Taste of Honey" as an all-location movie which "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" wasn't. "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" was, in that sense, a conventional movie with a studio section and a- and a location section in Nottingham. And, the distributors, the money people, wouldn't let him make it as an all-location film, because he said- they- he said- well you say, they said, you say, you don't want sunshine, you- you- you're going to film in the rain and all that. You want a grey atmosphere for- for Manchester and all that, and they wouldn't believe him. And they said- ah yes, well you say that now, but later on you'll be stuck up there and you'll- you'll see well after all we would rather have sunshine and we'll be- we'll be carrying the baby. So that was- so- he found it impossible. But then subsequently, "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", which was shot in 59 and released in 60, I believe, was such a big success. I think it ran on both the cinema circuits which was quite unusual in those days. There were three main cinema circuits and one was sort of linked to Fox and Warner Brothers and- and what-have-you, and the other were linked to Paramount and MGM, and so on. And they all had their set suppliers as it were. But "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" actually ran on both of the circuits, one after the other. So there was a lot of money available, and Tony could afford, by cross colat- cross- I can never say that word - cross-collateralization of the profits of Taste- of "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" against any possible loss on "Taste of Honey" on- yes on "Taste of Honey", he could go ahead. So we went ahead and made "A Taste of Honey" as an all-location film. And it was offered to me because, by that time, Freddie Francis was being- doing something else. But it was the start of a very- very successful collaboration, albeit a brief one. Because the three films that I made with Tony for Woodfall, were all made within the space of 18 months. And then he went off to America.

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, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008