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Athens in the 1950's


The Girl in Black: Post-synching
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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Then I took part in the... the film was edited in Athens, in a fairly conventional manner with Cacoyannis, which he always did, he edited the film. He had an assistant but, even if there was a credit as editor on the film, it isn't really more than an assistant editor because Cacoyannis always edited his own films. And in any case, they were cut in the camera. Sometimes, in England certainly, they produce a thing called a Release Script which is useful for post-synching and for legal purposes and all sorts of things. And, the Release Script is taken from the movie. Somebody sits and watches the movie and writes down all the dialogue and that forms the Release Script. If such a script had been produced for A Girl in Black, which it wasn't, it would've been identical with the shooting script except for three shots. There were, there was a sequence of three shots that had been cut out and there was a little bit of improvisation in the funeral scene, where some additional stuff was shot that wasn't in the script. But apart from that the script... the film is exactly like the script, shot by shot, which is very unusual. Then it was post-synched and I helped in the post-synching. Again, it has a nice sound track. That film has a nice sound track for the simple reason that it's a very simple sound track, where every noise that you hear, every sound that you hear, is there because you put it there. It isn't there because it happened to be there while you were shooting that scene. So if you hear a woman... there's a scene where a woman in high-heels walks through the town of Hydra in the siesta hour, in the lunch hour, having just been to an assignation with her lover in the bushes at the back, and people are watching from behind the shutters. You see sort of half open shutters where you sense there's an eye behind the shutter watching, and that was post-synched. Cacoyannis took a match box and a match and, as she walked, he tapped on the match box with the match, with the mike close by, so. And in addition you hear... there's a distance sound of the sea, which we put on afterwards, but apart from that it's that simple. So all the dialogue... and when Ellie has a scene where... in the, in the main scene where, at some point, somebody sits on the bed, that was me. We had a bed there and at the appropriate moment, I sat on the bed and the springs creaked, and that's... at the same time as the dialogue was recorded. So there isn't such a thing as a dialogue track and an effects track. The effects are on the dialogue track.

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: Athens, Hydra

Duration: 2 minutes, 44 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008