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Ossie Morris


Actors in The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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That was the only time I worked with Michael Redgrave, who is a lovely man. Super... he's a... he's one of those typical Englishman, you know, super polite and very... a very good actor, but very low-key, very low-key. And he was... I think he was perfectly cast in that... in that role as the... as the headmaster of the... of the Borstal. So the whole... and his assistant's very good too, I forget his name, the rather stout actor, very good.

[Q] Oswald Blocks.

It's also James Fox's first film, I think, I believe. Do you know one thing... something happened that is... is very interesting. That... having worked... having looked at John Thaw's work, throughout his career, particularly when he played... he played that detective, Inspector Morse. Wasn't that John Thaw? Yes, right. So, very much later on in... in my career I suddenly realised that John Thaw is in Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. He's one of the... he's one of the Borstal boys. I didn't realise that. I said, 'Oh, that's John Thaw'. Sometimes things like tha... things like that happened. And, it's an interesting comparison with... that film form... forms an interesting comparison with things that happened later to me in Germany where we had tremendous difficulty casting a... a gang of youths such as the Borstal boys in... in the... in Loneliness, who can mix effortlessly with... with the other actors, because there... there's no tradition of that in German acting. And they tend to be either useless or... or terribly theatrical. So we had a hell of a job casting the film called Iron Angel, Engel aus Eisen, which in England, it would have been a doddle. It would be terribly easy. Any number of people would be available that you could cast, but not in Germany.

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: Borstal, Michael Redgrave, John Thaw, James Fox, Oswald Blocks

Duration: 2 minutes, 1 second

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008