a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The Bridge (Part 2)


The Bridge (Part 1)
Wolfgang Suschitzky Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Another film I forgot to mention was a film just after the war. The foreign office here wanted to make a friendly gesture towards Tito who used to be an ally during the war. They sent out Randolph Churchill to advise him how to fight the Germans, and he advised Tito to give up and give in. Anyway, the foreign office sent all the Cal... all the... Calder-Marshall to write the script. Go back to anyway the foreign office. Anyway, the foreign office wanted to make a film there as a gesture towards Tito — a friendly one — and they sent my friend Jack Chambers, a director, and Aldo... what was his first name? Calder-Marshall? Alexander, no... Sorry, it won’t be in there, but it will be in a book anyway. They sent out my friend Jack Chambers and the scriptwriter Calder-Marshall to Bosnia to write the story of a film of regeneration of the country. They came back with a good script, and they had chosen a farmer there to play the main role, and his family too. When we got there we flew to Bari, from Croydon Airport then, and took the ferry across to Yugoslavia. The army gave us a jeep and trailer, and a driver. And the Yugoslavs gave us a minder. He was a... an engineer I believe, a mechanical engineer. And we went into the Bosnian mountains to a small place, a small town. When we got there we found there wasn’t a single house standing, not only in the small town in the valley, but all around the hills there were only the front steps of farms to be seen. We had to sleep in a tent on the village green, do our own cooking; we got a surprise from a British consul in Sarajevo, and we slept under a walnut tree in the... on the village green. And I had asked the Yugoslav army to give me a little generator to get at least one lamp alight for eventual interiors, but it only produced enough juice to light out... light up one lamp in our tent. And people from all around came to see the electricity, which they hadn’t seen for some time.

There was only the two of us, Jack and myself, who did the camera work and directing. No assistants at all. It was a very difficult thing to do, to go and shoot, sometimes along the... the road on a horse and cart the farmer had, and otherwise on... at the elections they had then and other events, dances and so on. It was good to see the enthusiasm of the local people with the new setup. They were glad to be rid of the monarchy. And the film was about the reconstruction of a mountain railway, which went along the mountain and where... where brooks came down the mountain the Germans had blown up all the bridges. So the Yugoslavs, the Bosnians rebuilt them with wood as a temporary measure. And they had German prisoners of war to help them. They gave them the same food they had — mainly beans — and so they... they just about survived. There were still dead horses lying around, and still dead lorries lying around. And the Germans had put down hand grenades into the funnels of locomotives, so in the railway yards there were all these dead locomotives. And they were busy cannibalising them and rebuilding some of the locomotives at least. The film was called The Bridge, and it was shown here and fairly successful.

Born in Austria, Wolfgang Suschitzky (1912-2016) trained as a photographer and became one of the first in his field to take portraits of animals. After coming to England he worked with Paul Rotha as the cameraman on various documentaries and films such as “No Resting Place”, “Ulysses” and “Get Carter”.

Listeners: Misha Donat

Misha Donat is the son of Wolfgang Suschitzky. He has composed music for the theatre and the cinema (including films directed by Lindsay Anderson, and by Albert Finney). For more than 25 years he was a senior music producer for BBC Radio 3, where he planned and produced the prestigious lunchtime concerts at St John’s, Smith Square, at which many of the world’s leading artists appeared on a regular basis, and also instigated a Young Artists’ Forum as a showcase for musicians of the coming generation. As a broadcaster himself, he has given many radio talks. Misha Donat has contributed a large number of programme notes to the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, South Bank, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Brighton Festival and other venues, and he has written CD booklets for such labels as Decca, DG, RCA, Philips and Hyperion. He has been a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine since its inception more than 10 years ago, and has written articles for The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Musical Times, The Listener, Opera, and other publications. He has taught at the University of California in Los Angeles, and has given lectures and seminars at Vassar College and Bard College in New York State, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), and in the UK at Durham University, the Barbican Centre, the Royal Festival Hall, and the Norwich Music festival. He is currently working as a producer for the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Tags: World War II, Bosnia, Bari, Croydon, Sarajevo, The Bridge, Randolph Churchill, Arthur Calder-Marshall, Josip Broz Tito

Duration: 6 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2008

Date story went live: 06 August 2009