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Tom Jones: Negotiating the contract


Ossie Morris
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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There was a... an incident when Ossie Morris, who was already preparing Tom Jones with... with Tony Richardson, came to visit us on the running track where we were doing some of the practice runs. And, and I was using... there were two cameras, again, in use and one- one of them was hand-held by me, the other one was operated on a little... a little... back of a little mini-van, I think, by... by my operator, Desmond Davis. And, Ossie Morris looked at the... the Arriflex, the hand-held Arriflex and he said, 'Ooh, I wouldn't know one end of those things from the other'. Which wasn't exactly true, but it did represent something of the mentality and something of the spirit which later, very, very soon afterwards, that led to the separation of Ossie from Tony, that... that Ossie was trying to... for Tom Jones, Ossie was trying to pull Tony back into a more or less studio-based, organised, conventional, you could say, set-up. And Tony resisted. And Ossie said, well you know Tom Jones is a big epic, it's in colour, you can't make that like you... like you made... with the same technique that you made Taste of Honey and Loneliness. And Tony kept thinking... well why not? So they parted company quite amicably, and I was persuaded to take on Tom Jones, which I, initially, didn't want to do.

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: Tom Jones, Taste of Honey, Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Tony Richardson, Ossie Morris, Desmond Davis

Duration: 1 minute, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008