Bernard Gribble

Forename/s: 
Bernard
Family name: 
Gribble
Work area/craft/role: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
369
Interview Date(s): 
14 Oct 1995
Interviewer/s: 
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
244

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Interview notes

A Summary of the BERNARD GRIBBLE Interview. File 369.
He came from a farming family, his father having rented a farm at Sheffield Park. Born in Newhaven, Sussex in 1927, Bernie was not interested in farming but became interested in films at school through reading film magazines. He was educated at Lewes Grammar School but was unhappy there. A visitor to the farmhouse, namely, John Monk, realising that Bernie was interested in films, invited him to visit Pinewood - late 1942/43. (John Monk was previously known as John Goldman when he edited "MAN of ARAN" for Michael Balcon in 1934.) On the visit to Pinewood he was taken to the set of "CLOSE QUARTERS" and invited to look through a camera viewfinder by the director. Jack Lee. He suddenly wanted to become part of it! John Monk was second in charge at Pinewood during this period and still editing, and was therefore able to demonstrate the whole film-making process. , Shortly after his visit to Pinewood, he left school, aged 16. His father tried to install him in a farm, but Bernie was now madly keen to get into films and would not take up the offer. One day, in desperation, he cycled over to John Monk's home to remind him of a previous promise to "do something for him". He learned that he was due to statt at Pinewood the following morning, the letter apparently having gone astray! His appointment was aS Assistant Librarian at two pounds per week, plus War Bonus. He describes the job and the film people he met. He had no knowledge of films whatsoever, not ever having seen any, so he spent his lunch hours drawing them out of the vault and running them on a moviola. It was an ekciting time to be in the business and he lists many of the great names who were working at Pinewood. He also visited West End cinemas at the weekends to catch up on his film viewing, sometimes managing ten features in a dSy! Crew details were carefully logged. At 17 he was anxious to move into editing and through Sidney Cole he obtained a job at Ealing in the negative department, mostly by . bluffing his way in, not having had any previous experience! He talks about life during the■VI and V2 raids. He made rapid progress through third assistant to first by the age of 20 and lists the films. He tells how he became a fully-fledged editor under Michael Truman's tuition. Reminisces about the lack of good screen dialogue writing in today's features. Bernie's first film as editor was "ANOTHER SHORE", 1948, shot in the Irish Republic. He was the youngest editor.
Side 2. Michael Balcon's way of working is discussed. After "ANOTHER SHORE" he did "TRAIN Of EVENTS", 1949 - a portmanteau of stories - working with three directors. (Sidney Cole was one of the directors.) The next one was "BITTER SPRINGS", 1950, d. Ralph Smart. There were problems with Tommy Trinder - Bernie had to take out all the unscripted cracks! Next was "THE MAGNET", 1950. Hours of work and Union activity is talked about in general terms. He is currently working on "KIDNAPPED" fdr TV and talks about the problems, including recasting to replace Christopher Reeve who fell
Over.
Page 2 of 4 off his horse. Lightworks equipment is used and preferred. After "THE MAGNET" he did "THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT".1951. Very long hours were worked, and some interesting facts emerge about Alexander Mackendrick. who directed it. Other editors and their methods are discussed along with Mackendrick's career. After "WHITE SUIT", Bernie was loaned out to Group 3 who were going to make films very cheaply for £30,000 or £40,000 apiece; Some interesting facts revealed. "LAXDALE HALL", 1952, was Bernie's next one; Production details; It was a film made in the cutting room. After that he returned to^Ealing to do "MEET MR. LUCIFER", 1953. Badly directed by Anthony Pelissier; Production details. Side 3. Continues with "MR LUCIFER" and a change of editors, but Bernie's work was vindicated in the end. However, he decided to leave and returned to Group 3 at Beaconsfield to do "THE END OF THE ROAD", 1954, d. Wolf Rilla. Comparisons between Friend and Crighton discussed. Directors who started as editors first, were difficult to deal with. The next one for Group 3 was "MAKE ME AN OFFER",1954,d, Cyril Frankel; Production details. Bernie talks about the difficult professional relationships on the production and yet it was one of his favourite films. Eastmancolor stock was used and the new process produced problems. As a freelance editor by now, he was offered "JOHN AND JULIE", 1955, d, William Fairchild; Production details. This was the end of the Group 3 period. Referring to "JOHN AND JULIE", he says that when he finally put it together, his spine tingled with sheer satisfaction. You knew when you'd gpts it right! "There's something about films when they really work". His next film was "THE EXTRA DAY", 1956, again with Fairchild with whom he worked for six weeks before the start, helping to plan it. Fairchild was a writer with no film experience. The next one was "THE GREEN MAN", 1956, d, Robert Day. Production details; The supervising director was Basil Dearden. He talks about "THE WHITE DOG", 1982. A film he did with Samuel Fuller; an interesting account of how the film was cut down from 3 hours 40 minutes. .. After the "GREEN MAN" and before he went to Hollywood in 1974, he lists and discusses the many and varied .productions he worked on including British Transport Films, Commercials, plus 92 Features, all told.
Side 4. Continues with the "DAILY HERALD" commercials. Most- of his Hollywood films were made for TV. .He mentions the worst cut he's ever seen, it was one particular shot in "SCHINDLER'S LIST", in an otherwise brilliantly edited film. The editor's craft in today's environment is discussed at length. "THE WHITE HUNTER", a TV series is mentioned - a new speedy technique required to make the Tx dates.
Page 3 of 4 He began to unlearn things dating from the Sidney Cole/Truman days by watching the work of the two editors he was supervising. He discusses non-linear electronic editing techniques which are totally different and much preferred; they are much more creative. Many of the "old guard" are frightened by these new techniques and will inevitably be elbowed out> he suggests. There are lots of courses on how to use the equipment, but none on how to edit. It is becoming a serious problem. . He meets Michael Winner and is offered'a film, and talks about his methods - "WEST ELEVEN", 1963. He^did ten filmii, in all, for Winner. It was "DEATH WISH", which was made>in New York that • introduced Bernie to the U.S., and he has liked working there ever since. He was fascinated by New York and the energy of the Film Unit. After doing a boring film on his return to the U.K., Winner asked him to edit "WON TON TON", 1976, in Hdllywood where he encountered tremendous energy and excitement once again. He then did another one in New York and felt revitalised about the film industry. "CAN HEIRONYMUS MARKIN EVER FORGET MERCY HUMPPE AND FIND TRUE HAPPINESS", 1969, d. Anthony Newley, was a film he remembers well. He was a great admirer of Newley's work. 'Production details. The film was a sex musical and Malta was a rather unsuitable location!!
Side 5. He talks about the pleasurable to make, but mostly boring pictures he edited in the period before he went to Hollywood. He decided to remain in Hollywood after he'd been asked to take over the work of an editor who was on sick leave by Ivan Passer. His first complete picture for Passer was "SILVER BEARS", 1977, which fitted in with the end of Winner's "THE SENTINEL", 1976, - not liked by Universal. It was the last picture he did for Winner with whom he had an interesting career, although "most people hated his guts". He gives an account of Winner's eccentricities concerned with editing. He sometimes edited under the name of Arnold Crust. Bernie says he's capable of editing - after a fashion! When working for Winner in Hollywood it had to be carried out surreptitiously at first because of a union problem. Bernie is now a union member and a citizen of the USA. After "SILVER BEARS" he returned to New York for a couple of years doing industrials (documentaries): Details. When the work dried up he went to Hollywood to work on TV features. After a spell at that he was offered "MOTEL HELL", 1980, by Kevin Connor which was great fun. It has since become a cult movie. "WINDS OF WAR" was another TV film series he worked on. He also describes shooting with video cameras on a series called "NEXT STEP BEYOND" when he first arrived in Hollywood. The material was afterwards transferred to 16mm; electronic editing was too primitive in those days. A great deal of time was wasted on picture matching because it was shot on location around Hollywood. It was'nt timecoded properly either! The whole series was a mess. After "WINDS OF WAR" he returned to the U.K. to do "TOP SECRET", 1984. He discusses the problems of 16mm editing. He also talks about music tracks and film composers and provides a commentary on his
Over.
Page 4 of 4
current f ilm, "KIDNAPPED'1 Side 5. This is mostly retrospective, like "lets go and see a bad movie and learn how to do it right". There are a lot of interesting stories that have probably never seen the light of day before. He maintains that now he's come across non-linear editing, he'd like to work on^for another fifty years because its so exciting. It's opened a completely new door. END.
Comment:- For those of us interested in the craft of editing, side 4 contains the most fascinating part of the interview.
BERNIE GRIBBLE was interviewed by JOHN LEGARD. DAVID MATHER ROBSON recorded it and wrote the summary.
I make the usual disclaimer about the correct spelling of some names which need to be verified.

Transcript

Speechmatics

 Bernard Gribble Side 1.
=======================================

 

SPEAKER: M1
The copyright of this recording is vested in the back to history project. The subject is Bernie global film editor in features documentaries commercials and television. Interviewed by John Legend. The date is 14th of October 1995.
SPEAKER: F3
This is side 1 and the file number is 3 6 9.
SPEAKER: M5
Bernard welcome. Tell us a little better about your early life. Where were you where your parents lived and where you were born. SONG When you went we went to school sort of thing. Okay well I came from a farming family and lived in.
SPEAKER: M10
Sussex. Born in New Haven and my father. Rented a farm at Sheffield Park just north of Lewes and it was a remarkable house. The farmhouse it was 800 years old court was born manor and. I frankly did not really enjoy being on the land. I always felt that I wasn't part of this in this life and kept out of farming activities as best I could. For some reason or another I got interested in films. A school friend called Peter La Touche gave me some film magazines once and they were very intriguing. Somehow or other he laid his hands on a little roll of film which I used to wind up and down all the time and I was very interested in films but never went to films because really in the depths of the country maybe went once or twice a year. Some films something to do with farming. Nothing really exciting.
SPEAKER: M5
Can you remember look at the first film you did see in fact when you went to the pictures proper.
SPEAKER: M10
Not really. Not really. I remember I used to have nightmares about a man carrying a cross upper half of a sandy dune and then falling down backwards and I don't know why I had that image but many years later when I saw a John Ford film I think the 13 on television and saw this image I must have seen it in the trailer.
SPEAKER: M5
That's the only image and that's the only memory I have a film didn't I think it sounds like one of those sort of French surrealist film scenes that no one you really have been seeing that somebody went mad in the Foreign Legion and decided to go out and face the enemy and carried across up a hill in the debate and shot him.
SPEAKER: M4
Anyway that was it you had this roll of film which you looked at but you have a projector to run it. And then that's luxury. In fact no electricity in the house so you never discovered what that piece of film was in fact you know a very good way but you would learn to handle film at an early age. I did and I'm one of the few people can wind up very very quickly.
SPEAKER: M3
I see people with film today still trying to win up a roll of film and they're so slow and cumbersome and I take it home I just go with with with with with and it's done. And I think that was also the century after that. That's another way of doing it.
SPEAKER: M5
But yes I think we also had some very good training from it goes a bit later on actually. But when we went to the library at Pinewood Pentecost opened he was very good at showing how to handle film. I seem to remember Yes I learned very quickly. Yes. Yes. Anyway sorry i've gone but for a while.
SPEAKER: M2
Okay so I wasn't very interested in the land and took refuge in my room. Most of the time reading film magazines and that sort of thing. But people used to come to this. Way. Out of the. Back of Beyond farmhouse because it had been written up in several books especially one called the smaller manor houses of Sussex. And one day when my mother was showing round yet another visitor and he looked into my room and said it was in films.
SPEAKER: M10
He said oh he said Yeah I'm in films she said but I'm I'm buying a farm down the road and farming is a life not films he said well. And that sparked my interest in Somalia. I don't remember how I became friends with this man.
SPEAKER: M3
I used to visit him at his house nearby on Sundays. At one stage I said you know I would really like see what it's like in the movie business. And then he said terrible come to the studios and I'll show you what a terrible life it is. So I persuaded my father was a real working farmer to take minutes to take a day off and come to London and travel out to Pinewood Studios and this was in late 1942 early 43. And.
SPEAKER: M5
So this was in fact John Monk was it who.
SPEAKER: M2
John Mark Luke who came across you in this room full of equipment I and my uncle John monk who had been known before the wars. John Goldman when he edited film for Michael Balkan and Robert authority called Man of Aaron just before we go on to Pinewood visit where did you go to school.
SPEAKER: M5
You didn't tell us about your school.
SPEAKER: M2
I had a very poor education at Lewis Grammar School which should have been burned to the ground. It was a very limited education.
SPEAKER: M6
What I know I think I've learned in life since then. No I'm not. Not an education I would have recommended to anybody. It was Lewis. Know Lewis from school. Yes famous school in fact. Is it. Yeah. Mm hmm. Oh I can't believe that I had no time for the headmaster or anybody that resisted learning as best I could. I only found interest in learning in about the last year or so of my school life. Up until then I was trying to get out of everything. And anyway I like kept trying to persuade John monk to do something for him. Oh yeah. Yeah. Yes of course. That's right cause he went to the studio you went to the studio. Yeah. And he took my father around and we we went on to a stage big cavernous thing with so wooden plaster thing in the middle and lots of lights on and a kindly gentleman said Would you like to look through the camera. So I peered through the camera. This suddenly became a submarine with sailors at their posts and it was all very exciting. I thought this is remarkable. I'd l ove to be part of this. I found out many years later this kind gentleman was in fact Jack Lee all right. Yes. Who was directing a film called close quarters.
SPEAKER: M5
And that was that famous wartime documentary that he directed about the submarines. That's done. That's right. You just chose a good day to go visit didn't you.
SPEAKER: M2
So then John said Well he was not only second in command of the studio under Ian Dalrymple but he was also still editing. And he took me into his and showed me a reality. Just finished editing.
SPEAKER: M6
>From a film called before the raid about the raid on photon directed by a chap named Jerry vice. Yeah. Who. Strange enough. These has come full circle. Was the man at the Czech film school who trained the director I'm working with a moment of impasse. It's a small world anyway. I naturally was very intrigued by all this and redoubled my efforts to get in the movie business. He promised to do something and then my 16th birthday came May the 15th 1943 and.
SPEAKER: M11
I left school soon after that.
SPEAKER: M3
My father wanted me to go on to go to his college where he'd go in Kent where he'd gone. But I didn't really want to do that. I wanted to go in the film business. He told that was not going to be a very good idea.
SPEAKER: M5
Good. He wanted to go to sort of follow his footsteps and be a farmer. Oh no doubt the whole family was that. He wanted you to go to that and you had a go at him.
SPEAKER: M6
So I'm in college who I said I didn't want anything to do with farm agricultural. But anyway he thought that he would play a trump card and he bought a rented a small hundred acre farm nearby to give to me. I don't think I ever set foot on it actually or even went near it because I was so outraged about the whole idea and kept on going cycling over on Sundays to see John. But I guess things were very busy at the studios and he never was there right because he was always working.
SPEAKER: M5
Yes. He'd tell me you would just go back like you had a sister to you.
SPEAKER: M2
I did. Yes she still exists in Northumberland. Yes.
SPEAKER: M5
What did you. She she wasn't interested in.
SPEAKER: M2
No she only if she followed my mother who was a nurse became a nurse. And many years later with her husband formed a very successful garden centre in the north east of England. Really. Yes. They're now retired and live a very happy life and just Wall Street. Anyway my father was pressing me to do something about my life and there was certainly no word for Mr. John Monk and I was getting really depressed and it was now a very hot Sunday in August saying about August 24th or 20 so something like that I try to a today and one day I realised exactly established and I got on my bicycle and cycled over to his house was about four or five miles away and.
SPEAKER: M3
Luckily his car was in the driveway so I thought I got an answer today. So I went in and we chatted this and that and I gently reminded him that he promised to help me get in the film business and he looked at me very strangely and I thought oh my goodness he's forgotten all about it.
SPEAKER: F1
And then he said. Didn't you get the letter.
SPEAKER: M2
I said no. What letter. I said yes first we starting work at Pinewood tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.
SPEAKER: M3
Well I got on my bicycle I flew home and told my mother she was a bit upset. But anyway she packed a bag for me and my father brought me up to Pinewood Studios next morning and I remember getting off the bus of the crooked billet and the five points and walking that long mile down in the studio and then I suppose about ten and introduced Mr. at mass Miss Adelaide Pentecost who ran the film library or indeed I had a job but I think two pounds five a week or something like that is actually two pounds a week plus ten and six more bonus.
SPEAKER: M4
That was it because I remember I started the following one week. And yes I had someone to stay with Mrs Nicholls one of the studio cleaners on Wall Street and I would be working as an apprentice in the library. Or whatever they call in system the library and why do they go and spend the rest of day sightseeing go to Windsor Castle things like that and come back tomorrow morning at 9:00 so that's when I did arrive at nine o'clock the next morning and I was introduced to I think Mary Russell wood and.
SPEAKER: M3
Another young lady whose name escapes me it's Maureen Lawrence or in Lawrence. Thank you. And then a little while later our first customer walked in. I think it was Frank Capra who came in with John Houston and I remember just in Jackson's little ducks and wandered into the room and John Houston who was enormously tall bent down to pet this little dog I have this vivid memory.
SPEAKER: M5
Interesting guy Jocelyn Jackson was the sister of Pat Jackson. That's right.
SPEAKER: M8
Late they were making a film called Close Quarters no Western approaches or close quarters was a submarine the way it approaches Western approach which was a remarkable film to be made in 1943 because it was about a ship being torpedoed in the Atlantic by a German submarine.
SPEAKER: M7
And Pat decided to shoot it not only in three strip Technicolor which means you had this enormous enormous camera in a boat. And he wanted to shoot it in the Atlantic which he did out where he could have been some. Torpedoed himself. And and with sound sinks out which was unusual in those days so a gentleman whose name also I forget had this sound equipment in another boat and was continually being sick while they were filming this film. It was a remarkable exercise considering there were only six Technicolor cameras in the whole of England at that time and only about 30 in Hollywood I think at that time a very risky exercise and a remarkable film came out of it. In fact a few weeks later I remember Laurence Olivier coming to the library because he wanted a shot of sea just waves because he didn't know how to shoot going from England to France and into the fifth.
SPEAKER: M5
So he thought he'd just use a wave shot which he did which is because he was at the same time as Pat was making Western approaches launched Libya was making hundreds of fifth.
SPEAKER: M8
That's right. That's right. That's right. So on about the third or fourth day I was given a notebook and told to go to Sierra with Colonel Frank Capra and take notes for him all day which I did while he was searching through marches of time lots of times all day long looking for shots which would remind Americans of America Christmas for Christmas montage of the film that they were doing was that when he was making those whole series of you know he had made those why we fight. All right. I have I have them on tape at home. They're still remarkable quite remarkable. You know he and John Houston were there because of something rather extraordinary which I learned in John Houston's autobiography Anatole Litvak who ran the American forces tell me it had covered the landing in North Africa by the American troops with unfortunately one director cameraman which seems a little odd.
SPEAKER: M3
And those rushes had been put on a ship and sent back to Hollywood to be processed and well now lying at the bottom of the Atlantic. And President Roosevelt called and said could he see the film of the American forces landing on the North African shores. This caused a little embarrassment. So a meeting was hastily called and Houston was told to go and shoot it. So he went to the Mojave Desert in northern California for some reason best known to himself to shoot this landing in North Africa. And the material was pretty terrible. So they thought we can't show the president this and you'll see this shot you'll soon see it's a fake. What do we do. And then they got a phone call saying would the would would they like to amalgamate their material on Americans dying in North Africa with the British and joint film and so of course they leapt they offer and they raced over to England to join in the effort. That's their story as I understand it. Yes fascinating.
SPEAKER: M5
So that became British film because there was desert victory. There was no water no sorry it was earlier I wasn't. It was later than desert big street. Yeah it was sorry. Leighton doesn't victory the Tunisian victory. There was one that's about your call. Yeah. And I think it was edited by amongst others. Dickie best. Quite probably quite properly supervised by Roy belting Captain Roy voting yes I Captain Roy belting it. That's right. But he used to do it. Yeah that's yeah. But as far as you're concerned you you are obviously picking up an enormous amount of knowledge through working in the library.
SPEAKER: M8
Well I'm not handling all this no knowledge of films whatsoever having never seen any. So I would spend my lunch hour getting them out of the vault and running them on the movie. So I could see what films looked like. I think I sound loop so that everything was about 20 frames out.
SPEAKER: M5
But at least it was one way to see you seven doing that was you actually. Because I feel I joined the following weekend. I remember spending quite a bit of time looking at all this stuff. We were extremely fortunate were we to be able to have the opportunities. Yes. And learning to handle film and. And we also I seem to remember we used to go into the small theatre every week to see the latest newsreels. Catch up on all the latest stuff.
SPEAKER: M9
Well I mean the German newsreel had the German newsreels which came to the Lisbon embassy which arrived the following week from Germany. And we were supposed to load all that material. I didn't know one plane from another but I did my best but we also saw current popular feature films from Germany at that time. And I remember seeing the original Baron 1000 which in agriculture which was exquisite. And. Then another propaganda film called Africa with a K. LEWIS Franca which is about how the dastardly British in admitting concentration camps in Africa which of course was quite true. And I remember seeing some Japanese films which were which were also given to us. These all find their way quite easily to Pinewood in the middle of a war which is quite extraordinary. Well anyway I thought that was it.
SPEAKER: M5
But also we weren't only looking at all this stuff that was coming from overseas. We were also having to deal with the crown film unit films that had been recently completed.
SPEAKER: M8
Was that it was that noble. Yes yes. Yes. A lot of remarkable films like.
SPEAKER: F2
Fires were started by Humphrey Jennings which I remember vividly. London can take it.
SPEAKER: M9
And there's also a film had been made called target for tonight. And I I had a lot of paperwork involved from that even to even a book I remember buying on the film which I used. When I was doing when as a war it was a great help to do a sequence of it for Freddy plane taking off to go over a bombing at a raid over Germany and that that information about target for the night was very helpful because that was the real thing.
SPEAKER: F2
Yeah.
SPEAKER: M8
But a lot of remarkable people were involved in those days in in making films for earthy crimes and when it got out it contributed the sequence to a film called we say at midnight. Did he shoot some of that. Yes. He shot the ammunitions being rushed to the airport water to the docks I should say that in the nomics.
SPEAKER: M5
Yes yes. And of course also apart from Graham film that because the library was a crime film minute I read in other words a ministry information about it but we also had the other film units didn't we. I'm in the Army Film Unit Well there was the Army Film Unit yes under Hugh Stuart and Roy bolting.
SPEAKER: M8
The aria film unit which had John bolting and I remember that the Royal Naval filming it was certainly represented by Russ Lloyd resplendent in a naval uniform as he edited.
SPEAKER: F2
That's right.
SPEAKER: M2
Yes handcuffed.
SPEAKER: M5
Aki McNaughton but I don't think he was in the forces argument not and was was making a film about the Navy wasn't he at that.
SPEAKER: F2
Yes the broad for teens it was called as I recall.
SPEAKER: M2
And of course the American Army Film Unit was also there and I seem to remember William Wyler doing his Memphis Belle thing upstairs at Pinewood so there was a lot of very exciting things happening and Edward G Robinson was starring in a film called Journey to get that was Richard Attenborough for for for John voting. I remember the resplendent Clark Gable in magnificent uniform. Yes so a lot of remarkable people. It is very exciting to be in the movie business at that time.
SPEAKER: M5
Very exciting to a number of course a number of directors and and Hollywood editors were there too.
SPEAKER: M2
It was them Merrill White who had in fact worked for Howard Wilcox before the war doing films like Queen Victoria and 60 glorious years.
SPEAKER: M5
And there was a chap who worked for Paramount. What was his name. Dick Farrell who was a captain in Dick Farrell. Maybe that was after 9/11 by him. Yeah Richard.
SPEAKER: M2
But anyway we would see films two or three times a week there. I was also making up for lost time by going into London on the weekend on Saturday. I was only earning two pounds fifty. As you reminded me.
SPEAKER: M10
But I seem to remember going into the West End and sitting through sometimes ten films a day by planning how I could go from one year to another and see them all starting at about 10:00 in the morning.
SPEAKER: M3
I was catching up with films at a wild rate in those days and seeing three or four shows at the studio and trying to catch up for all the three changes a program at a local movie theaters during the week.
SPEAKER: M5
Guess what. Now you mentioned that. I also remember that you used to collect the fix you go and fix your show every week and you do. You used to catalog them didn't you. I remember you had a sort of a remarkable little series of booklets which you showed me when they used to copy out credits.
SPEAKER: M8
Yes. I have a few examples of those still well the what happened to the rest of them. I do not know what I was therefore fully aware of.
SPEAKER: M3
Patti everybody who done any film I could sit in the dark with a notepad on my knee and I could write down names and get down all the credit because in those days you only had 20 names or so on a film anyway. No it's not like the 100 to 200. You get nowadays is Dickens and the same sort of combinations of Cruz appeared again and again and again because that was the way it was done in the studio system you were assigned to films or you were requested by certain director and they not pay like all part of the learning process where you really gave yourself a sort of assault course during cinema. So anyway I was now going on 17 and raring to go. So I wanted to get an opportunity get into the editing roles because I felt confined in the library but there seemed to be no way of getting on. And.
SPEAKER: M2
One of the films that I was seeing on one of the evening shows was a recent film from the eating studios called San Dimitri London which I thought was tremendously exciting because at that time Michael Balkan was making trendsetting films. He would give people a chance to do remarkable films he'd shoot a lot on occasion he'd take interesting unusual subjects and he made this film about the merchant navy course and you eat your lunch which very impressed me few years later I thought it was very over acted. But at the time I was very impressed and I thought I really would love to work for this place. How do I do that. And then I remembered that a producer and an editor had come to the library looking for some material for a montage for a film called they came to a city which was set in Utopia and people would go out of this door and you never knew what was in the other side but they felt that the audience would like to see what's on the other side in utopia. So they were looking for sh ots of utopia that they never found in. So it was always something you'd have a soul. It was an interesting rather brave experiment by Basil Dearden as well didn't. Yes of course yes. They came to the English director edited by Michael Truman and Michael and his producer on the film Associate Producer produced the film Sydney co came looking for this material. I remember this I thought aha I should ring Sydney Cole. So I put to a call to Sydney Co and I couldn't reach him and I put another call through Sydney Co and I couldn't reach him well I went on doing this Alex two days and I'd reached call over 40 and I felt well I don't reach him so I can't really go on much longer. Having considerable goal as one does when one young I tried once more and this time he was there and I was put through to him and he couldn't remember me which was understandable because we'd never actually even connected or talked but I seemed to know something about well he'd be the Pinewood. So he he was a lit tle bit unsure so he thought he'd been having me along to meet me. So I got the foot in the door and went to meet him and he said well he couldn't really help me coming the he was no longer supervising editor there but there was a lady who ran the editing rooms and maybe she could help me. So he passed me along to Mrs. Brown who ran the editing rooms and he said no they had no opportunities at the moment. But she'd put my name on a list and I said I was obviously very crestfallen. So she did. But do you know anything about negative. Cause we need some help in the negative department. I said yes of course. Never having seen a piece of negative in my life.
SPEAKER: M4
However you had actually worked in the library so you know I'd never actually seen a never handle a piece of negatives so I rushed back to pilot said.
SPEAKER: M12
What's so special about negative and they said Well you wear white gloves and you handle it very carefully cause this is this is it. So I had an hour's training and I consider myself ready to go.
SPEAKER: M3
So following Monday I travelled on the bus from Oxbridge to Ealing Broadway and got off the bus at the usual place buying I think was a store called Sanders. It had been the previous Friday when I got the job but this Monday morning there was a hole in the ground. What have I got myself into here. Direct. Why I stay in Pinewood. But anyway I continue to work there and even though this was now the era of the silent v two's as I recall.
SPEAKER: M5
Oh really lovely ones in the veto has been ones to be too. Yes cause salary 44.
SPEAKER: M3
Life went on I must say. Life went on and it's a remarkable how it did go on whether many actually kneeling at that time did you were you getting quite a lot of varied warnings that time I would be working the cutting as you hear a v1 the buzz bomb as you hear it coming close it kept coming you didn't bother as soon as it stopped you dived under something that the V2 so they went out and came down there was no sound. So if you will if you heard a bang you were alive if you didn't hear a bang you were dead. So it was as simple as that but everybody just took it for granted. If you had to get the rushes out for Sir Michael Board and see you didn't bother about going to the shelter you had to get them out.
SPEAKER: M5
Otherwise you risk the wrath of Mrs Brown and you get your priorities right.
SPEAKER: M3
Like for example. Well I after my a few weeks in the negative room where I didn't do any damage and there was an opportunity to work as a third assistant on a film called Johnny Frenchman being directed by Charles friend edited by Michael Truman with France was Rosie. And since I was obviously an expert from the negative cutting rooms I don't think I'd actually touch to be so negative in the country. I remember touching some fine grains splicing them together and sending them off to the labs for some obstacles and inquiry next day as it would have been all right. MRS BROWN It was a fierce ogre but had a soft spot for me it always seemed said well some of them were out of frame and some of them fell apart. But otherwise it was anyway. So being an expert on negative they said we want you to synchronize the rushes at Humphreys labs. Take this scribe. And when you see a or go down you make a mark on the negative with a scribe and then you look for the soundtrack which in those days will optical sound you will see the little shop Mark. Yes. And put them together they will put leaders onto these 20 frames out of sync for the optical of the. Yeah and pull up and then then we will have them printed and we send them off to Cornwall for the location because they if you try and run a double head rushes on location on two projectors it all goes wildly out of sync because no projector runs exactly 24 frames per second it seems to very odd. Yeah I found out of my cost many years later when I time in film to walk in to a very very well-known theatre in Wall Street and arrive just as the lights were going up so that I could not be noticed. And of course when I got back the film been over for four minutes the projector was being a so fast. Interesting that wasn't a genius anyway. So I used to go up from when I was still living in Uxbridge at the time and take the tube into London through the early morning raids come out of the good street station and hear the bombs falling all around me. But I had to get to Humphreys to do the David the rushes and and then I was making marks on his valuable negatives like this with a scribe which is quite frightening when you come to think of it. Yeah. Synchronizing everything like there from bang bang. All around me. But I survived that. Nothing went wrong. When I went.
SPEAKER: M5
So this was Johnny Frenchman. Yeah. And as how long how long will that go on for.
SPEAKER: M2
I suppose the average in those days was six to nine months to make a film. I look at my history over those years and I went with these films a long time and I remember working on a film called The Loves of Joanna Gordon which was shot over a period of year because it was set on the Kent farm and needed all seasons. But somehow or other all these films that I worked on had to be shoehorned into a very short amount of time because I started eating when I was 17 and three years later when I was 20 I was already editing my first film. Somehow or other I had managed to get in working as a as a as a third assistant and Johnny Frenchman and pink string sealing wax signet system on Videla with Margaret Lockwood and all these titles then.
SPEAKER: M6
Somehow or other becoming a first assistant None laughs at Joanna Gordon. And then then we did. I was moving up very fast because Michael Truman was a remarkable. Help to me and I was eager to work.
SPEAKER: M5
What happened was I think were you working very long hours and I know you did you do a lot of overtime.
SPEAKER: M3
Well let's put it this way. Michael liked to do a lot of overtime and so. My two senior assistants Barbara Bennett and Irene Langer both had commitments or families or whatever and went to anchors to work long hours and so I was always the one willing to go to the labs early in the morning and do that sort of thing and work late at night and the weekends with John with Michael and then one day he said something something to me or I said something to him and he misinterpreted what I said. I said to he looked very very harried over something and I said Michael is there anything I can do to help meaning you know you want a cup of tea. Simple as that. And he said yes. Yes. Take this real and take a page of notes and go next door and do this alterations for me if you would mind. Your brain. Yes. I junior assistant all this film Barry White. So he said Well yeah I said but don't actually come in. Make some marks and call me in. So. I went through this real. I made lots of marks a lot takes it Yes very good. That third cut make it a bit tighter than that and force one now. Favored to loosen but that's fine. That's fine coming up. So. After a little while he said you know I'm getting really bored with working at the sink and I want you to stand behind me and as I mark things up I'll throw them to you and you put it all together. I'll tell you roughly what to do. So there he was working away editing and I was looking over his shoulder while he was doing it which was a wonderful learning experience and then he would throw stuff at me and I would produce the cigars and cut it up but overlaps of sound and all that sort of thing. So we did this for a few months and then he said I'm going to be a board actually cutting. He said I tell you what we do he said we'll see the rushes every day with the director and then we'll talk about it for a few minutes and then you can go and cut it. This was a film called it always rains on Sunday with Robert Hayward directing and which Corn elius both very famous editors in their time and quarter. And so that son seemed a good idea. So we would see the rushes and the director would talk about his selections or he liked and then Michael I would talk briefly about it and I would go in the room start cutting. Well this was working fine.
SPEAKER: M12
But Michael unfortunately now had time on his hands and he was in the midst of a torrid affair with a young French actress by name Seymour signore. Yeah and I later learned from her autobiography how fond she was of Michael and also of Gordon Jackson who was a young actor at the studio at the time. She was equally fond of both of them but they really haven't either got a chance because she'd recently met a man called vs Montana. And although I think she wasn't yet connected with him he obviously was the one. But the upshot was Michael had a nervous breakdown and he suddenly wasn't there. And I thought well that's the end of my. Great opportunity. But nobody came by to tell me to stop work so I simply went to rushes and took the notes and went back and cut it as best I could and it was a very complicated film very very very well made film. But an awful lot in it. And I remember getting this film with this very complicated chase sequence to a marshalling yard which was a climax getting it all together for the first cut for some Michael welcome and screening with him and the Robert Taymor and Kenny Cornelius and being totally mortified because during the big chase sequence somebody wanted either one of the sisters or myself it's spliced two shots together out of frame so it jumped and you will see my end of the raccoon.
SPEAKER: M6
Of course objections got it back into Iraq very quickly but I was totally upset by this. I totally ignored the fact that I'd got together this whole film the age of 18 without any help all by myself and screen it. I can understand you. And anyway Michael returned and creating for me no one has ever done honest no one has hurt by those in these days when you're that young. So anyway Michael returns take the picture up. It's a beautiful film. I'm sure it still looks great today. And these let's do the same thing again on Saturday and for dead lovers which was the next thing he was assigned to which was a mammoth epic by Basil didn't you. Your aunt was in heaven. Yes. Yes. Oh of course of course. Flora was marvelous in it. Marvelous marvelous. Anyway. That had a lot of very interesting tingles. It was a Hanover Fair sequence which had so much material shot for it was unbelievable. And.
SPEAKER: M12
Michael gave me no guidance just said do what you want. And I dived into the sequence and had a ball. And then eventually he came took the whole thing over and sank it up and. It all went out it was. A very honourable failure for Ealing. It was a beautiful film it was the first film that Douglas Slocombe had photographed in Technicolor and really exquisite Technicolor. Considering that in 1943. Which was almost the height of the three strip Technicolor days it still looked kind of garish and colourful. And this was photographed like old masters because Ducky Slocombe used to go and study paintings at the National Gallery before he'd start to shoot things and get ideas about lighting and so forth. Anyway that that all went very successfully and then I guess I was wanting what we were going to be assigned to when Michael came into the room and said right there starting a film in a couple of ways go to another Shaw with Charles Triton directing and they don't bring anybody outside so I told them you'll do it. I said I can't do it. Oh yes yes yes yes yes. Oh sorry. You'll do it you'll do it. You said I'll be around in case something goes wrong you'll do it.
SPEAKER: M4
It's a lovely way of telling you you've got the job. How do you sort of thought possibly now you might be.
SPEAKER: M6
No I was going to do the same thing if I could again you know just sort of do an assembly for him. I thought this was an unusual situation until I met in Hollywood a man called Jean Fowler son Jean Valjean the son of the famous journalist and writer who wrote Goodnight sweet prince about Barrymore for example. One of my favorite books and Jean was asked to screen something to show an example of his work and the film he chose the screen was a film which he had no credit called strangest and all the Oxbow and so the Oxbow yes wonderful film but he he cut it raw like I did for Michael but unlike that situation the editor who took the credit didn't do any actual trimming or even touched the film it was totally Gene's work and he never got a credit which is very strange very sad.
SPEAKER: M3
But that apparently happened to a number of people who were able to cut their teeth with somebody else's name on their work because they weren't they hadn't actually been to the grips upgraded officially that's for that's really it isn't that.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah well I think a lot of us did that and those that even I certainly cut stuff for which I didn't get any recognition because the low pressure work on the part of the editor or giving it will have a break. You know we used to do only obviously documentaries and so on. And not only documentaries documentaries one of the hardest yes but only you know that neither let what I said in deriding disparity in documentaries but they're short you know short films sometimes those little one monitors those little MLA monthly weekly one minute is save fuel and so you know food flashes and things like that. Yes we used to get breaks but but in features of course I did.
SPEAKER: M2
It's interesting what you were saying saying we happened just as a other side in case I never come back to it. When you persuaded me to join British Transport films for a while and I was assigned to a film called we're in business to being directed by John Roden who was not really a film director but more a writer. Good very good writer a good writer. So I designed this film when he'd gone off to film it and I kept asking for the script and I guess I got some very strange looks and then I realized it wasn't such a thing.
SPEAKER: M6
I guess he gone off with a few notes on the back of an envelope. We didn't have scripts at 45 and I was very rarely I was little astonished by all this and material started coming in and I didn't know what it referred to. And then it suddenly dawned on me that I was the one who was going to have to make up somebodies mind about this and so and actually construct something and indeed that's what I did. And then when John sort of ideas. And then he could think of a framework and started writing things. But this was a cold water shock to me that realized wait the films he made. And anyway back back back back to another planet another world where you know had to one. Yes you had a script. Yeah. Interesting. I mean the scripts were beautifully fashioned in those days by real screenwriters. There aren't many around today unfortunately and there isn't much dialogue written today that's worth remembering. I occasionally find I've found a book on film quotes and you see all the usual things f rom Casablanca or that sort of thing. But you go to film nowadays and you don't really hear any dialogue that you you'd like to remember or get a script and see what it's like true. Is very sad.
SPEAKER: M5
But this they're good to go back to this break of yours. He said to you well you start on Monday. Yes sorry. Who said that to our Michael Truman macro. Any idea he'd recovered from his nervous breakdown. Oh yes he did yes. Yes. He laid back on the show but he was another woman who eventually ruined himself. But that's another story. But he would even say you were doing this another show. You started off on that.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes. And this was being made at Brae in Ireland and Oh really. I didn't go on location but after the film was over I was so intrigued by it I just made my father to take a week off the farm and join me and we traveled over to Dublin and went down to Calliope and travelled around Bray and Killarney near Dublin had a quite a wonderful time. And it's so extraordinary that this year not only working with Van passu and the Jerry Weiss connection and and meeting up as I am tomorrow with John Monk whom I haven't seen for over 50 years will be quite the exciting thing. And he had his Irish connection with Man of and here I was in Hama this year but even more so I suddenly found myself working at Bray Studios and staying in Calliope where I'd been in nineteen forty eight when I was doing another show. That's quite a story and I thought Why hello. I think I was staying in the same hotel until I had a flash of memory one night. Well one morning there was some problem with the showers. So they t hey ferried me down to a nearby hotel to have a shower and as I trow drove down to this place I realized this is where I'd stay. This is the hotel not the one who was staying in because I remember it was a dark and stormy night. When we arrived in this hotel and I could hear the waves pounding on the seashore all night I couldn't have done in the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel. But I certainly could at the clay court anyway. That's everything is coming full circle this year it's quite extraordinary. Mm hmm. Very good. Byrne But anyway there I was doing this film on my own and Michael actually didn't really have to help me I'm Charles came into the Cardigans to look at a scene once and made a few marks and Ivor Montagu the producer decide to help me with the opening shots of the films which he Charles work with Charles Craig and sorry as Chas Charles Grant who's the director.
SPEAKER: M6
Yes yes yes yes. Now famous for a fish called Wanda which he made when he was about 80. Yeah right. Still with us still with us and still doing industrials for John Cleese. A remarkably good director actually thanks a very me.
SPEAKER: M5
How much did you get from Vulcan himself did he.
SPEAKER: M8
Well did he come to Russia's Walken so every every frame of rushes. Yes yes. I rewrite every frame. And it was a little unapproachable and I felt off. I've been editing for about 25 years I really should have thanked him for you know although it was Michael's jest to me it was reborn Balkan who said yes give him a chance but that that I learned later on was what that was his technique. He would take promising young directors and so forth and.

End of Side 1

 Bernard Gribble Side 2.
=======================================

 

SPEAKER: M1
So I too.
SPEAKER: M2
So not that tell us a little bit more about Falcon and his the way he produced and obviously saw the rushes. Well we're dealing with it as did. Now you are dealing with him direct as well as the director I suppose.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes. He was a little unapproachable in that he was always surrounded by people who had to go through to get to him. But one had a one on one relationship with one with him when one screen the film for example and took notes from him. And I felt as I was saying after about 25 years of being an editor I really should have thanked him. For giving me this opportunity but I never got around to it just just as I would never have thanked John monk if I hadn't found out from you that he'd appeared at the John Taylor retrospective last year and I started to write him a letter which he took me nearly a year to finish because I could not think of how to write it off until I found the connection of Ireland and Jerry Rice and the band passed. Well I saw him. I said it often got this remarkable reply the next day. What nice reply which you showed me which I'm going to. Yeah well I'm going to see him tomorrow. It will be very very interesting I'm sure.
SPEAKER: M5
But what was Balkan. I mean did you discuss the film in detail with you when it was being edited and so on. I mean you have sessions in the theater going through it and the way that Ed did will ask sooner.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes. Oh yes yes. He was very incisive very incisive. But you know there was a great hierarchy I remember one day there was something he saw in rushes that he did not like. So then it was the question of everybody trooping onto the set to talk to the director and he must been very nerve wracking for a director to see this committee suddenly arrive in the back. Said Well are you doing a shot. No they're going to they're going to bowl you out over something. And I remember there was something being done I can't see what it was. Director was doing something and I wandered over to the cameraman just to say hi to him about some video some reprint or something like that. And I was actually called into the studio manager's office the next day and asked Why did I go and told the cameramen because that's what I was talking about what we would just seen. And it was Sir Michael's job to talk to talk to the director before anybody else. It was a great hierarchy in those days. That's extraordinary I thought that the editor would be expected to talk to him. You were supposed to. There was a pecking order.
SPEAKER: M16
There was definitely a pecking order. And it's something that I find hard to explain to assistants nowadays.
SPEAKER: M3
And one has to be a little nasty that assistance when you're dealing with a director or producer don't suddenly launch in with their own ideas on how to edit a scene.
SPEAKER: M6
Well of course this is the thing really is it. You'd have to you have to have some sort of system. Yes. Yes. Otherwise it's chaos. Yes there's very little discipline these days which is very very sad. And it shows in the films made in our young days. We we spoke when when we were as we speak when we spoken to sort of thing.
SPEAKER: M3
Well I mean like for example when I got to Hollywood I tell my story the people they're like they're quite amazed because nowadays it's easier since the unions have been broken out there. But in those days you had to be an assistant to I think for many years I think was an example when Alan JAGs who was one of the finest artists in England at the end of the Forties decided to try his luck in the America's got to Hollywood and was put back to square one and had to spend seven years he had to get a job in the studios first to get a union ticket as soon as he got a golden ticket he only had to do a lonely job. All right. Yes well of course I can understand that in a way I was had many years before he got back to where he was. Which is very sad. When I eventually went to Hollywood I found a way of sleight of hand so I didn't have to go back to square one at all and I just kind of it on my way way. But I'm I guess I was very lucky.
SPEAKER: M2
So you carried on editing immediately arrived in Hollywood did you. Yes.
SPEAKER: M3
I had four or five weeks while I was looking around making contacts with people and suddenly the phone rang them off I was off and running. Yeah well we'll come to that no way. Well anyway I. I did and I was sure very successfully and. I'd love to see the films. Now I'm sure.
SPEAKER: M2
I seem to remember you you are the youngest editor in the business once you run your. What do you think. I think they tell about reading about you and some paper Evening Standard perhaps or something.
SPEAKER: M3
I think I was. And then I was assigned to a film called train of events which was being directed by three directors Charles trite and basil Dearden and Sidney Cole and Sidney directed at 80. That's the only time he ever directed. Yes. And. He directed one of the stories in this portmanteau film. Yeah. There was two units shooting simultaneously so there were two lots of rushes every day and a lot of film and just me.
SPEAKER: M13
So that many years later when I was hired by Zucker brothers and Jim Abrahams do top secret. The first question was I bet you don't work with three directors were fired. I said Well ask I. Have. So that would work extremely well and I keep meeting people who are very fond of that film. There's a guy I met in Hollywood who has a copy of it. He's very very fond of it.
SPEAKER: M7
He gets it comes up on the box here pretty regularly. And then I was assigned to a film called Bitter springs. Harry What. No.
SPEAKER: M2
Ralph smart real smart sorry I was in slugging it was shot in Australia.
SPEAKER: M8
Serious serious trouble eh. If they'd been given complete autonomy in Australia but unfortunately stories were filtering back that the director was weak and the star was taking over Mr Tommy Tinder and he was supposed to be somebody who was travelling in the outback at the turn of the century. It's the kind of Western and suddenly it was becoming a musical. Terms. He was putting in his ad libs on every single shot. So Borgen decided to send for all the rushes so the rushes will sent from Sydney or reprinted from scratch.
SPEAKER: M16
And so we would see every day after we'd seen the normal films rushing he'd see an hour of bitter springs and would curse and scream and there was one particular shot.
SPEAKER: M11
I would set the sign to start cutting scratching my head as masses and masses of film and seven or eight takes on everything and I didn't. I had I used to look at them and say well what is the difference these takes I run them again and again and again and again. Eventually I said to the director when I finally met him why were so many takes. He said Well I had this new camera operator and I'd ask him is that all right. Rusty say. I'm not sure Ralph looks like he can get it. But anyway finally one day we were looking some of these rushes and as you do with children and animals there was a horse in the scene and you don't put a board in the beginning in case you frighten the horse so you you shoot the shot and then you put a board clapping at the end and they played the scene a man or horse against a tree and somebody said Okay board Clapper or something and the camera panned around across the most magnificent country that you'd ever seen in your life treats the board balk and lost hi s temper. He said I don't understand it. This whole film looks like being shot in Walpole park here and there's that. So he's called Les Norman who'd done a film in Australia called the Eureka Stockade where he producing this one too. You know he was dying to do it at the time it was all because I mean reading as the Tesla he said right get off on the next plane and go out there and tell him I'll shoot a film. So he took over that yes. So then the next day we see some more rushes and Berrimah was seeing them about five months behind can cause there was no improvement. Les was on the plane. There was no problem because it was five months later. Of course he was very upset about that. But. My job was simply to take out every single joke that told me to intimate and it wasn't until I spent two days doing post thinking with Toby trend I realised how wearing it was because every other sentence was a very bad joke and you had to laugh otherwise you destroy this poor man. But by the time w e cut out all his jokes he gave a very very good performance and it wasn't a bad little film in many ways.
SPEAKER: M7
It was that that was not the first of the Australian. No that was the third over last one was over and as the second was Eureka Stockade or maybe we can still get a third.
SPEAKER: M16
But anyway better Springs was very early on and they did one other. I think the last film they ever did called siege a pinch cut. That was the last thing they ever did which Harry Watt also directed. Did you work with Harry at all. No. No. Harry came in and advised a bit but that's as far as I go. Very interesting man.
SPEAKER: M2
They always thought so highly of him didn't they. Crown he is a great friend.
SPEAKER: M14
Well if you look at great pride you look at Oval Enders it's a remarkable piece of work. Very very very fine piece of work. He was a very good director. Mm hmm yeah.
SPEAKER: M6
Well actually I mean having started off with flirty virginity. Yeah. He had that thing and he used to I don't know. He was great with actors but he was certainly good with visual stuff. Mm hmm.
SPEAKER: M8
And Overland as I'm sure he still was watching today. Mm anyway I better springs.
SPEAKER: M2
That is what we are what we are.
SPEAKER: M16
We got to now I think it's 1950 something like that for another 50 years. And then I did a film called The magnet with the Charles friend which I thought was long gone until I found it in a video store in Santa Monica recently. So I bought a coffee. It's a very minor film with a 10 year old boy called. That. That time I think he was called William Fox became with James Fox later very fine actor today. Yes. And Kay Walsh and Steven Murray very minor film but quite fun.
SPEAKER: M5
What was the mood like taking sort of overall Ealing Studios it must be quite a nice atmosphere working conditions there on the home.
SPEAKER: M4
Yeah everybody was a little frightened of Michael Balkan and I guess most of juicing directors ended up in the red line became alcoholics which was very sad because he would he would try and get them going.
SPEAKER: M6
He was a catalyst. But you never knew exactly knew where you were with Michael. What was his attitude towards like ACTU as it was in those days. I mean was he. Was he supportive of the show. I don't remember anybody being difficult with the unions all those years. I mean who's your shop steward as a matter of interest. Do you remember he was always sounded from the sound department.
SPEAKER: M3
Was it like to see a rather rounded red face man. But I can't think of a name. Oh.
SPEAKER: M2
No I can't. You know who the first shop steward at Crumlin we joined Michael Gordon. Was it Michael Gordon. I think it was I had an idea it was Kenny Cameron. Now Michael Gordon signed me up Number 5 5 7 2 I think I was. All right. Yes Sir Ken must come over and Ken Cameron was a strong suit in the most unlikely person. They were always rather sort of memorable. The crown the crown as well.
SPEAKER: M16
I mean positive is different in the set up like I like stories about what it was like to work non-union before the war or buy it from people like Jack Harris when they worked on quota quickies.
SPEAKER: M3
They certainly didn't. I don't know how anybody had any life met anybody raised a family or kept a family whatever. Because your life was spent in the film studios a denim for example you were there early in the morning and you stayed there until. Well until you went on month motors Rolls Royce road out of the studio.
SPEAKER: M16
Yeah.
SPEAKER: M2
But it's it's not dissimilar in certain circumstances today I think as well cutting rooms. Let's put it this way.
SPEAKER: M16
I didn't realize what an union non-union work was like until I went to work in New York in 77 and found that one was really exploited if you didn't have a union and then I went to Hollywood and was a member of the Union and made a lot of money because of the I work extraordinary hours on things like the winds of war and made a fortune. But now the U.S. Supreme broken and once again one is one is forced to work long hours and very little recompense really.
SPEAKER: M4
So it's back to the way it was in the thirties and it's not good because you are really exploited. And unions are important but I'm afraid in America they've been broken which is very sad. Any particular and I gather they've been broken here somewhat fragmented of course is okay maybe they're still strong in the labs but I think there's 70 different companies now of course none of them particularly teachers. The trouble is that nowadays because things are so expensive the money is the interest is rising so much that things have to be out quickly. I mean. The current situation I'm working on now which I obviously should come to the end of us talk but I can mentioned it now. I was I'm doing a television film at the moment called kidnapped called kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Yet another version which originally started out as a two hour movie the week. Then became a for three hour than a four hour and then towns down to three and a half it has gone through so many stages that it 's it's quite chaotic and I was approached by the director in May who told me that they had an air date on this film of November the 5th and he was going to start shooting on June the 12th I think he was and there wasn't much time to do the editing so he told them that I would I should be the person to come over there and work with him while they were filming which I've normally do but work with the director on the weekends finalizing materials went long and then we might have a chance to get it finished and I said well okay yeah certainly give it a go but unfortunately just as I was about to sit on the plane the star Christopher Reeve. Had an unfortunate accident falling off his horse so everything stopped while a recast for a couple of weeks. And then they hired an actor a man of sanity who said it was such a physical path. He would not work the six day weeks they wanted. He demanded a five day week schedule so my schedule which I think was about two weeks to produce a director's can't over a four hour film. Well three hours actually. In actual fact two hours to two day two weeks to produce a director's cut of a three hour film was cut down by the two weeks that we lost by putting the film back to nothing and then come down to minus two weeks when I'm on a Santa who refuse to work on Saturdays. So in order to find some time to complete the picture then suddenly had to suffer like writing music or doing sound effects. And it was a very very busy film. Nothing has changed. We begged and pleaded but the air date is still November the 5th and.
SPEAKER: M16
In fact on Monday dubbing starts. But music I think was being done or started on an earlier version of a cut.
SPEAKER: M4
Is being done in Warsaw probably as we speak and more recording because nobody can understand a man's Scottish accent has been done in Miami all this weekend. He's working on another film I suggest and somehow this all get together in the next two or three weeks somehow. But I'm not quite sure.
SPEAKER: M1
But many times in the last few weeks I have not gone home before midnight after starting at 8 a.m. in the morning and even using the most sophisticated light works equipment because so much has to be done and one doesn't get paid any extra. But then on the other hand I never did 50 years ago get paid any overtime so it doesn't make any difference.
SPEAKER: M2
She was getting paid for any overtime 50 years ago. When I was when I became an editor they said annual punch to talk.
SPEAKER: M3
I said no I will not punch a clock. I've never punched a clock in my life and I said I will not punch. I say well if you don't punch drunk you're not gonna get overtime. I see. So in other words you know. Anyway it's interesting you actually had fun. Yeah. They expect me to forget the feeling.
SPEAKER: M16
So anyway I remember the ads fell I was assigned to was the man in the White suit which was a very complicated film directed by certainly a maverick and a director Mr. Anderson McKendrick demanding a lot of hours and I remember being working away in my editing room at 1:00 in the morning and how Mason you ran the studio was around because they were doing some night shooting at the Donald who was you know working late I see. Actually when I say three things at the wall because I was getting paid nothing for this but that was par for the course.
SPEAKER: M7
What about Sandy will work with Sandy an extraordinary man a genius very much misunderstood quite brilliant difficult to work with. He was he he was an ex animator and he'd come to eating as a storyboard artist and did remarkable storyboards for the whole film of Sarah Bamford and lovers.
SPEAKER: M16
And then moved up to a director but he could only think visually.
SPEAKER: M8
I remember having a discussion with him once ask going on the set and asking him how to how he wanted a certain scene cut and he said Oh I can't tell you I haven't got a pencil and paper because literally he had to have a pattern pencil when he talked you said I'd like to cut from this and he doodle drawing and then cut to that and do a little drawing and then cut to that and do a little drawing. That's the only way he could do it.
SPEAKER: M7
But but he'd been directing a bit by by the time he got to a man in the white suit and he he would he'd got an opportunity to direct a film called Whisky Galore. It was a question of getting it done before the weather went sour.
SPEAKER: M8
On the other Barra and so he they weren't really ready to start but they got a greenlight and walk in and they grabbed the opportunity and he and Michelle Munn money Denis Chayefsky the juicer rushed off to Barrow and they shot this thing until the weather closed in on them or they ran out of time one of the other anyway balk and pulled the plug and brought them back and they really didn't have a film and unfortunately they designed a new editor or a fairly inexperienced editor to Sandy which really wasn't a great help. And so they asked to I was trying to look at the movie. Charles look at it and say well I'll have recut it so he hadn't been cutting for some years. He recut the entire film and then gave Sandi a list of many many shots he said which will be necessary to make a film. And so he went out with a list of shots to shoot and and shortly missing bits and Charles invented a lot of matte shots that matte paintings had to be done for and was generally the person who pulled the whole film together without any credit whatsoever. Yes. Anyway the film was finished and it was beautifully done beautifully done brilliant film it was brilliant film. And. So Sunny got another chance which was the man in the white suit.
SPEAKER: M4
And it started out as a very very anti establishment film and very socialist for like us in many ways but Bork and watered it down and watered it down until it was just a social comedy. But I think there's enough left of the original intention to make it worthwhile life.
SPEAKER: M2
Well it's a satire really isn't it. But it was a very savage satire on the original script on establishment. Oh yes. Well it's really savage. Yeah. It wasn't so funny in other words.
SPEAKER: M16
No it was more. They were.
SPEAKER: M8
Sid Cole and Sandy were really being very well vindictive about big business but the end result was a very very fine comedy with some very lovely performances. And so that.
SPEAKER: M2
So it was also quite a bit. What if we went the script form in script form. Yes.
SPEAKER: M8
So I gather from the original intention by Roger with Dougal who was in fact Kendrick's cousin as he gets four stars in the Halliwell use.
SPEAKER: M10
Well it's an interesting way which still holds up today believe it or not. I felt I was very intrigued I was talking about gene Fowler earlier when I got to Hollywood in 78. I was taken to a reception at MGM Studios and some he said oh there's Gene Fowler this I'd love to meet him I said his father is one of my heroes. And Gene found a senior. He said Oh great. So I was taken over to meet Jean Fowler Junior and somebody introduced me and he said Bernie he said I've been waiting 30 years to meet you.
SPEAKER: M11
And I said oh I said. He said I was working for Fritz Lang on a film and Fritz came into the editing room I said you've only got to go and see this film for the editing man in the white suit. Yes. Which is remarkable. I mean I've only heard one other story that of course when Tom Jones was cut by Anthony Gibbs and that turned Hollywood upside down because his methods of editing which he either he thought of or in conjunction with Tony wrist and sort of they constructed this very loose hand-held fast cutting form of editing for Tom Jones. Yeah that influenced the whole industry. Yes it was up until then everything was very cut and dried and pedantic and predictable. I should say predictable.
SPEAKER: M12
And then suddenly it was all free form from then on. Yeah I think Tom Jones more than the more than the nouvelle bog although that was responsible for a lot of people changing their ways. I learned an awful lot actually from the third man and also the half in Richter. Did you that that really turn anything on its head for me. Yes because he did so many wild and wonderful things. It wasn't necessary to be on a person's face when they're speaking to you you need a in a long speech you need only come to that person for just wonderful sense in the middle if necessary.
SPEAKER: M5
If it was working better to be on people's reactions certain sophistication began to creep in and you say that was the sort of precursor it worked.
SPEAKER: M11
Well I learned an awful life to study when I was assistant. I used to study a film called Laura by which I have on tape Otto Preminger and I feel like it's still an exquisite film. I studied the editing by Louis laughter and eventually I became great friends with Louis son who is a good friend of mine and I've seen several Luis marked up scripts and seen his notes. He was a very very fine doesn't work for Preminger through most of his career in fact.
SPEAKER: M6
Except when parents find entertaining. Yes. That was a wonderful film wasn't it. Yes it was beautifully beautifully edited beautifully conceived.
SPEAKER: M13
Anyway the curious thing is that Preminger came in at the last minute the fact he took over from Rubin William who was not doing a good job and took it over and did a remarkable job from scratch but that's happened on a number of films that one can think of the director coming at last minute. Just a bit of trivia. There was a film many many years ago called Queen of Spades with Anton Holbrook was that produced by a sitcom edited by Cinco perhaps. No no it wasn't Cinco. It was directed by Sara Dickenson whom it said co edited Gaslight. Oh right. Your film which was burned and buried by MGM and I think there is a copy still exists and then it's been resuscitated far superior. It appears George Burns film far superior. We ought to see it from then on was actually shot in sequence order and edited in six weeks by Sid so they could be out quick in the movie he us. It's a remarkable piece of work anyway. But are on man in the White Suit. Let me finish that. The Gaslight not the guest like the Queen is based or spades. Yeah that was started by Rodney Eklund the writer. Yes. And after a week he found he couldn't do it.
SPEAKER: M15
And so he called his old who took over on the spot and made one of the most remarkable films I've ever seen.
SPEAKER: M14
Indeed.
SPEAKER: M15
Photograph by Desmond DICKINSON It is most brilliant black and white work photography is adventurous the cutting imaginative and the set startling.
SPEAKER: M2
Yes there's very little end in the evening standard said very charming. Anyway back to the story. Yeah. It's nice to digress and talk about sort of your attitude. Well I was like I don't think he could influence one man in the White Suit. I mean you presumably had complete freedom. I mean you got the stuff and you did. Well it wasn't going to do it your way. Oh you. You said it. Sandy was rather difficult to work with. Let's put it this way.
SPEAKER: M15
There are directors and I think I can quote the one I'm working with now and I work with him a couple of times before who said to me well because we had no time to talk about anything even though we planned to it didn't work out because other things took precedence like extra shooting or ADR. So we never got to talk about editing and so many things I wanted to talk to him about. But he said I guess everything self-explanatory. Well when somebody says everything self-explanatory you know very well you can have the toughest time of your life. I don't know how it's going together. And indeed with McKendrick everything was so. Wild and unpredictable that you were puzzled and puzzled and puzzled as to what to do with it and.
SPEAKER: M1
It wasn't easy.
SPEAKER: M2
It was not easy but it'd be nice if you'd had light work available in those days you could have. It would have been tried out a few things about this way.
SPEAKER: M16
But you see Sandy in fact was not involved in the editing whatsoever when the film was finished. We saw the first cut. He was sent away by Michael walking to and told to go and work out the noise of the soundtrack. The the funny machines to Bloop Bleep Bleep Bleep noise. And indeed he worked on that with Mary have a sound it her and made just remarkable what happened. Which another piece of digression.
SPEAKER: M15
Everybody who's seen the film remembers that strange noise. And I did a film that was 1951 I guess I did a film in the 80s called top secret and the mad scientists in this movie was Michael Gough who'd been the second leading man in the white suit the owner of the factory where Guinness surreptitiously was constructing this strange thing. And so my sound editor said Wouldn't it be marvellous to have that funny noise there. And Jerry Zucker the director said no I don't do any funny noises no funny noises in that lab. No no no no no. However when we were dubbing the film I suddenly heard a noise and I looked at David camping my son in the tower and he looked at me and looked at ceiling and we didn't say a word because I could hear bloop boop boop boop boop boop. And if you watched tip top secret very quietly it's happening in the background in the mad scientist's lab. So that's the way you must write things. Also prejudice ones films. I had another example to know a bit of digression I was doing a film called White Dog with Sam Fuller and Samuel Fuller. Yes famous home of the art director put there was a scene with Burr lives who trains animals for films.
SPEAKER: M16
And where this white dog is taken to be retrained as he keeps attacking black people is the Romain Gary story based on a true story that happened to his wife at the time Jean Seberg and the art director had put pictures from films all around the war. All the animals in Sam say no no no no no I don't want any. Anything any other films. Just chimps and lions and things you see.
SPEAKER: M13
So we have this opening sequence where lives is explained to potential client. What he does. Training animals for films and panning around all these pictures and we're coming down to our lives on the phone. And as we go across the sofa I laughed and laughed and didn't say a word because there was a cushion we said one Tom Tom which is a film about a dog I'd done for him and I'm sure that one I only ever saw if i you're doing is not very great.
SPEAKER: M16
But you had hundreds of wonderful people I got and managed to meet people like the Ritz Brothers and Dorothy and more and. Oh ladies. Famous people. Mm hmm.
SPEAKER: M2
Anyway you haven't got to Hollywood you know how I mean I never get there. Well where are we now. Where were you man of the white suit. Was there a Trump wasn't it for everybody. Yeah it was it was hard to do because it was.
SPEAKER: M15
It was tough and in fact after the film was over I never wanted to know anything more about it. And I was given a tape about five or six years ago and I resisted looking at it for about a year and then finally I put it in the VCR and I looked at it and I thought oh yes it certainly does hold up. So I tried looking again the next day and I hated every moment so that.
SPEAKER: M13
The memories came back. It's a nice length isn't it because those days the films are very compact they. The ailing ones. I was very glad to say that I met Sandi several times he ended up well I ended up living about half a mile away from him in Hollywood and oh did you.
SPEAKER: M10
I met him several times because he made some very good films and he did but he was so undisciplined that the industry finally rejected him. Sweet Smell of Success.
SPEAKER: M16
I seem to remember my success which he was also the entity was also taken away from on trade is a remarkable film about New York remarkable film.
SPEAKER: M9
And there's one of his shown on television today called a High Wind in Jamaica. Yes.
SPEAKER: M14
Another film that was taken away from me went NC by Elmer Williams Believe it or not the man who did High Noon and got an Academy Award for it. Yes.
SPEAKER: M8
Who. Who was running Fox at the time here and had a cutting room constructed next to his office since I was queer so I sadly finished a real at Twickenham the real could be brought and some trims were brought up to Soho Square and Elmo went on cutting the movie the way he wanted it to. That's the way it goes Jamie.
SPEAKER: M2
So Sandy really dates his career as a director came to an end a bit prematurely did it not.
SPEAKER: M10
Yes he did not do many films and then he was offered a job at the the Disney place Cal Arts in Valencia in California. And Hilary his wife was telling me. After he died it's wonderful retrospect with have she said you know if we hadn't gone there his life would've been over but he gave him a new life because he was teaching people a fairly good teacher brilliant teacher. Yeah. Oh well because he was like one of those rare people that one meets in the industry and I think you and I remember John Grierson and of course you know a grand city both of whom never really understood what they were saying but they were they were catalysts you you you were spot managing what they as you were spot create space.
SPEAKER: M2
I was challenging you.
SPEAKER: M1
And they would they would put their fingers on things that you'd totally ignored because you've gotten too used to them.
SPEAKER: M5
A great Grissom was remarkable of course because he he was a political person running wasn't he.
SPEAKER: M9
And he wasn't he has spent more time on that than direct close contact was filmed but once he did get down to working on a film in detail which he did with me for a very short time and a film called Caribbean it was great fun you know and he was the same as everybody here. Well anyway after my in the white suit I felt Oh yes I was. I was loaned out which was a very rare thing but I was down from Ealing.
SPEAKER: M3
I was loaned out meeting to a fledgling company that just been formed by John Grierson and John Baxter called group three who were going to make films very very cheaply.
SPEAKER: M16
I think thirty or forty thousand pounds was there's very little money. I don't want the average film cost. But they weren't being made very cheaply and I was as I was sent to work with a threat called Terry Bishop and made a nice little film. It was an actor who became very famous in Hollywood afterwards called Arthur Hill and it's a small part and then that they'd also just made a film called Brandy for the parson. So I think about their second film I am with John Eldridge directing and and Martin Curtis photographing and John trumpet editing all out of documentaries and they had wanted to use a young lady called Audrey Hepburn who'd had a one line part in Lavender Hill Mob but they were giving a chance to a young man called Kenneth Moore and they felt they couldn't give two chances so if they didn't in fact hire the young lady and so she went off to France for vacation and she was seen by Collette walking along the beach at least or Colonel somewhere and Colette said there's Maisie and she was whisked off to New York to peer in it is easy on the stage and became famous afterwards anyway. Brandy for the parson somehow got made and this combination of John Grierson and John Baxter who were in head of the suit was very curious because they were totally different people one was a very much a commercial man and John Grierson was very much. Well not really commercial.
SPEAKER: M13
I don't know what temperamentally they were a lobbyist weren't they. So Baxter was the gentle any his greatest thing was gardening on on Bradley for the past need. It seemed that Martin Curtis determined to give us a wonderful documentary look would wait for hours for the right clouds and things. And so it all gonna be in our hands so they decided they wouldn't do this in future they would break up the feature in the documentary the documentary cruise and put the documentary people with feature technicians and try and get a different patent. So I was assigned to John Eldridge for the next film is called Nextel Dale Hall which I have on tape. Oh you have. Good God. I didn't know it was available. And then yeah you carry on. Unfortunately that didn't seem to be working out very well either although he had a very dependable feature type cameraman called Arthur Grant.
SPEAKER: M16
John was actually the last stages of consumption and as a Jew as a Christian Scientist refused to have any medical treatment. So here he was doing this very very arduous film in the Highlands of Scotland literally being carried from set up to set up in a chair champion.
SPEAKER: M13
And he wasn't really coming together very well. In fact Grierson decided to go visit them because he couldn't stand the rushes. And he came back a couple of days later having caused great consternation because they were trying to keep the locals very happy up there. He would stop poaching salmon.
SPEAKER: M16
Anyway he came down and ground me said I can't teach you how to make films you go up and tell him how to make films so I packs some rushes in a suitcase and go on the night train to Inverness and travel to visit them and very remote spot wasn't it.
SPEAKER: M13
Well I mean we're getting distressed Karen and being told by the guy who was in charge of the transport that they were over the hill by the other sky. So I said OK well let's go over so we we drove up this road the road to Apple cross and we got about a thousand feet up and then it was we were in the clouds. We went up for another thousand feet and then we found a car parked on the side of the road which was our second unit waiting to do a long shot of the valley. I think they sat there for a week for a coffee shop. We came out the other side and there was this film crew in a gale force wind or flat against the side of a hill tried to do a coach shell of a guy saying something. I thought this is no way to make films. Strangely enough when I saw this shot a few days later as rushes you could not hear the wind it was perfectly recorded it was perfectly shot. I mean really quite remarkable. But anyway yeah I did it Tony that film that Princella scales had of us performing at the scales hands on and Fulton McKay played the young lovers.
SPEAKER: M14
Yeah he became very famous too.
SPEAKER: M6
McKAY Yes indeed. He did with Bill Forsyth. Yes yes. She was about 23 I guess his health played a little schoolteacher right. That's right. It's very nice.
SPEAKER: M16
I remember life long tracking shot as they walked along with a beautiful sky violin.
SPEAKER: M5
Remember that vividly glorious night sequence one day or evening sequence when they put on a performance of Macbeth. Oh yes and they couldn't get anybody to appear in it because it happened cos you see.
SPEAKER: M8
The elder of the kirk forbid anybody to have anybody any anything to do with the play acting and anybody any members of the unit who were staying in the village couldn't pay their rent on a Sunday if they put the money down it wasn't touched till Monday and nobody talked to one another in the streets on a Sunday and it was really back in the medieval times it's probably still like that today but as a result they could get no local people to appear as extras.
SPEAKER: M1
So I think the the audience watching Macbeth is everybody everybody except the operator including Alfred Shaughnessy the producer associate producer who later went on to be the man who was masterminded the upstairs downstairs.
SPEAKER: M2
Yes I remember that since quite an ice break guy getting up there. How long did you spend during the week or two. No I spent a day I couldn't get through to either. So I came back. All right.
SPEAKER: M8
Well actually I I tried to run. I said I bought some rushes and they said well okay there's only one set in my lord has gotten them that's across the other side of Scotland so we had dinner and we got the car we drove from the west coast of Scotland the east coast of Scotland where they were waiting for us at this movie theater. And we put the rushes off on two projectors. And as I explained early on even though this was I have interlocks that even though this was many many years later since my first exercise we had to learn anything because we were still trying to do it the wrong way and within within twenty seconds it was wildly out of sync. And so it was unwatchable. And then people at the back side criticizing a dead stag that we had in the film which was quite obviously phony and so the director said Well let's stop this and so we stopped running and got back into our cars and drove back across Scotland which after dark was then very hazardous because I'm afraid after dark all t he sheep sleep in the middle of the road. All right. Because it's warmer.
SPEAKER: M16
So I came back and I didn't get anywhere with it. But I remember being so appalled by this film that when I got it all together and had my first cut screening I screened it for them and they all seemed quite happy and then I at lunch dropped a bombshell on John Eldridge is that right.
SPEAKER: M1
I said John I have to tell you this quite seriously. We cannot discuss the editing of this movie until you agree to cut out these 15 sequences. He looked at this list which was about a third of the film. And sensibly agreed because they're all appallingly badly played or staged or whatever. So he dropped them out and then we found ways of putting what was left together and making it work.
SPEAKER: M6
And then so the film that you see on the set was really made in the cutting room. It was made in the counting room. But you had the ingredients as the great thing here and it's just a matter of being able to see. Yes. I mean so in other words this is a film where you really did you could say yes I made it I contributed enormously in that.
SPEAKER: M16
But you see the interesting point was that when I was loaned out to groups three when I actually going on about I then went back to eating and did a terrible film which went through many stages of being shot and reshot called me Mr. Lucifer which is very badly directed by Mr. Lucifer. I remember the title and ending I thought last year who did an appalling job. Actors loved him but he did not know how to make a film.
SPEAKER: M8
And it was it is a curious film. Was this. What's it a curious film about how television is a terrible thing and it's a danger to the world. It's a devil's invention. And so Sandy Holloway can take the devil's on the anyway the point was during the course this movie I think the queen was being crowned so television that was out now suddenly respectable. And so our film was an anachronism and it really should have been junked really. But it went through many stages. There was one scene where a man told a joke in in the red lion which was a set of a reproduction of the red line across the road. Now nowadays what you would do you wouldn't build a set you go across the red line and you shoot it. But in those days in the studio system you built the shot of the red line the set of the red line. This joke didn't work. So somebody said well if we had somebody else tell the joke would be better. Yeah OK let's get somebody else. So they built the set again and they had somebody else tell this joke and it still didn't work. And then when police was shown the door and Charles friend took over the film he said Why don't we try that joke with somebody else. So they built the red line set a third time and they told the joke and it still wasn't funny it was that kind of film because police here really was a was a writer wasn't he.
SPEAKER: M6
Anthony Lucy he was a very competent seems very competent. Yes he worked with us at crime forbid. He cares dialogue director for some use one of the few people I would say. I did not enjoy working with. I think he would be difficult.
SPEAKER: M8
Yes well it was an interesting day because he criticized my contribution because there was one scene with a budding comedian who had never done anything for a film called Norman Wisdom. So they got Norman in to do a little act and he shot about ten minutes film and then the first thing this was gonna be on television screen. So it was suggested that I cut it down to three or four minutes that they wanted. So I went to I did immediately and contracts I mean they didn't find it very funny. And so eventually it was suggested they go to wisdom and see if he'd redo it and read. He was now doing his first film at Pinewood and he in fact refused to redo it. So they they use this and this was shown on the screen and then eventually with police he was objecting to the way the whole thing was done.
SPEAKER: M16
I suddenly found Jack Harris had been brought in and Jack came and said oh here's a bit of a behind your back. He bought a bit of a. I forget his expression but the use when two actors the producers don't get on any well whatever it is anyway.
SPEAKER: M13
So he said I just you know they've asked me to look at the film. OK. He said I've asked them off you stay on because you know what about it. I said.

End of Side 2

 Bernard Gribble Side 3.
=======================================

 

SPEAKER: M1
He exactly. So Jack Harris was perplexed as we as you were. Yes. So anyway of course he couldn't make it work any better than I Oh that's the point at which they said Well in that case we better go to wisdom and see if you do it again. Norman actually flatly refused to do it. So anyway that's the way it stayed. But anyway Jack then went through the rest of the film spent another six weeks working on it and then said the Balkan Well I recount this film it's no better than it was when Bernie cut it and I was totally vindicated. Well I was actually very very angry about the whole situation being treated this way that I secretly started making negotiations to leave. And. Approached group three and they said Yes we agreed. We got a film coming up and you got back. So I was hired to do a film called Man and boy was called then eventually end of the road with Wolfgang Rilla. While Phil. Oh really. And so continued on that one.
SPEAKER: M7
And so I had secretly agreed that I would start that film a couple of weeks I was just poised to write my resignation when how Mason who ran the studio called me into his office and said I'm sorry about all this business on him keep Mr. Lasry said Justice show there's no hard feelings we'd like you to start on Monday on the Rainbow jacket with Basil did I say no really thank you. But I still put in my resignation the next day and never went to say goodbye to Basil or Michael Ralph his producer because I thought I will leave the studio I'll never see them again.
SPEAKER: M11
But that wasn't to be said of course. And went over to work at Group Three where they were they had to Beaconsfield by then they had arrived at Beaconsfield. Yes. And I remember there was a scene early on when I wasn't quite sure what to do so I went to see Wolf about it later and he looked at me so surprise was a you editor and I suddenly realized that unlike Ealing where there were so many ex editors and directors who would tell me what to do. I was not expected to be the editor. And that's what this wonderful freedom to the problem was to go back to my Ealing days working with Charles Dwight and Charles friend was interesting in many ways but they were so often puts you in a straitjacket they would shoot a sequence and with the continuity notes next day were there will be a typewritten note which would say we'd like to see it like this way first please. Well I've discovered over the years that I don't want to talk to a director about how he's wants a film edited because it doesn't really help. It's best to do it the way the material dictates it and then show it to him and if he says ah but I would like and then you know why it won't work or whether it could or don't you think these are the directors who were editors in the first place whether the worst they are the worst.
SPEAKER: M4
Well that figures isn't it. Yes yes yes. They will often shoot a lot of material and a lot of material that won't work though they would often shoot because the editors they would think they'd give you a lot of water they would shoot say 10 shots when you only need seven. And you would puzzle how to get these three mysterious shots in. I mean I learned when I became my own person so to speak in group three that if they shot a shot that I didn't think was gonna work. I did not put it in but I would certainly tell them that it wasn't in and ask them what they intended to do with it and where it would go. But there was no way that I was gonna make myself look bad. In the way I had to it eating by forcing shots to work because it took a long time to make it look right. If you'd done it the wrong way first. Very hard to explain to people who who think that the director is the mastermind of a film that the director is God because he isn't he's just as he's just as vulnerable as anybody els e and I I've discovered over the years that if there is a shot that has been shot that won't go in and you don't put it in. Nine times out of ten they don't even ask where it is cause they never say well they shot it because they had to shoot something they couldn't think what to do and they're grateful to see a sequence of words. Anyway I.
SPEAKER: M2
I did that same fun getting de group to group three working with Wolf and so who was very liberating I do not.
SPEAKER: M4
I did her by about five home to there over all the energy I was assigned to a film with Cyril Frankel who is quite a well-known documentary to say they interviewed several quite recently.
SPEAKER: M11
He here he had done a film just recently are called the devil on horseback with an NGO called Sydney Stone whom I admire immensely as has a great admirer of C.S. great great Ed.. In fact he taught me a lot. I will I will talk about him in a moment but at that time he was a bad smell around the studio and they refused to help. Well he was well trained disciplined like he would work only at night. Yes. He would get his assistants to work through the day then he'd come in as soon as the pubs closed. I think he owned a pub actually and he would work through the night and he would work so fast it would be wonderful. But this did not go down with the studio very well and they refused to have him on. So next week the series said I will not work without Sidney. And so it was a it was a difficult situation I was told definitely I was doing the film and so I arrive on the first day and so really didn't want to talk to me. Eventually after a couple days he realized he had to. And so there was a nother problem in that the writer W.P. Lipscomb who had written films in Hollywood like the Tales of Two Cities I think Tale of Two Cities. He had written a script and was puting the film and Cyril had decided to take no notice of the script whatsoever and just shoot it any old how. So he instantly from the first day's rushes there was a war. And I was in the middle and acting as go between them and I was making the whole film work thank God. And so I brought them together and it became a very interesting relationship I did other films with Cyril after that.
SPEAKER: M9
It also was one of my favorite films. It was called Make me an offer with Peter Finch who might also work with because his first role in England was in train of events. Olivier brought him over from from Australia to do a play some on Danny Denholm photographed devil on horseback.
SPEAKER: M6
Interesting. He also did make me an offer to duty beautifully. Yes. It was one of the very early Eastman color films.
SPEAKER: M9
I think it was about the second film at Humphrey's labs have done the first one was called Trouble in the Glen with Orson Welles which was horrible to look at because everybody did their own makeup. I remember there was a three shot was fired Tucker looking rather pale and Orson Welles looking like a salon.
SPEAKER: M4
It was very odd but the material was so weird.
SPEAKER: M1
On some days we'd send test material to Denham and to Technicolor to see whether whether we should change labs.
SPEAKER: M9
Eventually we came up with a very nice looking film but these were the early days of Eastman color and it was quite a frightening time. But he was one of my favorite films and I'd love to see it again today. I hope it's on tape somewhere. A very very fine film with lovely performances by Finley Curry and Rosalie crutch Lee and Adrian Curry and only Seselja who was a novice in the White Suit and Wilfred Lawson and Richard O'Sullivan's young boy at the time. It was a beautiful beautiful film. I adored it and after that I was then assigned to a film called not a sign I was a freelance. Then I started freelancing in 1953 and I have to this day I was offered a film called John and Julie from a director and a director called William Fairchild with help. He is a novelist wasn't he. Yes. Yes he was first film and he was doing this ambitious film about a little girl who wants to go to see the coronation and so runs away from a school in the West Country and makes her way to London to see the coronation. I found it on tape in Santa Monica not so long ago and I looked at it was still quite delightful with the first acting role by Peter Sellars but not as a country policeman anyway.
SPEAKER: M2
But he also did another film group three.
SPEAKER: M4
Peter Sellers a group three U.S. agents felt they were not groups three as OK.
SPEAKER: M18
Oh perhaps it was because of popular Beaconsfield but it wasn't group three. It was a he played a nasty car salesman.
SPEAKER: M9
It was a very violent film. I can't remember the name of it. But anyway in order to do this film challenge Julia we need a lot of material from royals sources. When I went last week for the first time to see the town of the crown jewels at the Tower of London they have now it like a smile like a Disney attraction. And as you approach the crown jewels so these screens all round you have material from the queen's crown showing the coronation which is quite marvellous. Quite modest and I have two films to cut up as I wished. One was made by Parfait and one was made by a cast or night. For whatever the other. There was a rank newsreel was anyway that was edited by Sidney stone in 24 hours from massive material 24 hours.
SPEAKER: M4
Yes says the turnaround time they had. I'm sorry what was the title again. A queen is crowned.
SPEAKER: M3
Oh yes. It is a September as the as it were. Yes that was the castles of light version wasn't it. Yes. The Associated which was edited by Terry trained Harry French's passé.
SPEAKER: M16
It was a load of garbage. Mm hmm. The difference between the two styles with was evil one was exquisite and one was thrown together. I'm sorry to say Sid could work under pressure like that and come up with.
SPEAKER: M2
We could throw it together in the sense that it was 24 hours work but it would be brilliant still work. It was brilliant absolutely brilliant.
SPEAKER: M3
Just to go back to sorry just a second just to go back to Peter Sellars in the film he made it Beaconsfield the group three other than the one you mentioned was called. Orders are orders now that were that orders with orders. That was groups he was it. Yeah. Donald Taylor produced read by today David Pelton. He understands him well. Yes. And the end Tony Hancock played the band master. Okay.
SPEAKER: M9
Then he went on another film for Julian Wintel out there anyway.
SPEAKER: M6
That was later at the end. Later yeah. This is very you sing about set in stone. Yeah. Gosh. Yes I thought he was the remarkable editor only a lot because he was working in the craft and he was the editor of craft after you left.
SPEAKER: M2
And so when I was starting he was showing me the ropes quite a bit you know.
SPEAKER: M8
Yes of course a lot of people cut their teeth working for him during the daytime.
SPEAKER: M9
People like Bill Lennie would watch Ghost for him and and learned how to cut. But he's his methods of course did not sit well with no because he worked on laws that he was unorthodox very authentic.
SPEAKER: M3
He worked in his own hours but he was so professional. Indeed.
SPEAKER: M8
Yes yes.
SPEAKER: M3
So anyway so as the group three period. Yeah. I'd forgotten about. Yes. And then Joe and Julie when I think about the end of the period.
SPEAKER: M1
Suddenly the whole the industry kind of rejected group three films because they were too cheap for that.
SPEAKER: M3
There was a curious fact about group three the on the board of management was this Michael Baulkham which seemed to be very strange because in the way that they were able to hold together a petition. He brought it all together. Yeah. But David they were in competition with his own.
SPEAKER: M2
I mean they were rather a sort of Soviet they used to be called Sabi lingo. But John and Judy was very ambitious. Not only did we use.
SPEAKER: M16
Well I mean I get around to that in the movies about the royal activities. We on the blotter Beaconsfield we built a reproduction of Trafalgar Square with lines and the pages the column.
SPEAKER: M11
We did a lot of matte work showing what it was like in the days of the coronation. And there were hundreds of extras. And it was very ambitious. They dug it cost I think sixty thousand pounds was about twenty thousand more than they were sitting on the adequate budget for. Yes for them. But it still wasn't big. It's big as the feature film and somehow the industry just it just sort of we didn't get it. It didn't do well. But I learned an awful lot from the producer Herbert Mason on that film and whose technique was very simple simply that the best method of defence is attack. Otherwise you would never set back and except for something you went in and you got it like for example he need the cooperation in many ways to make this film about the royals. There was a scene with all these little girl guys getting on a coach in Beaconsfield and Peter Sellers is wanting up and down looking for the missing girl. And it was a close up of a chubby little girl and I said What do I do with this bi ll I don't I can't find any use for this guy he said put her in or we don't get any cooperation from the palace. She's the daughter of the dukes of course.
SPEAKER: M4
And so she has a close up which doesn't mean a damn thing but like for example I used all this material from the queen his crown. Now it's a question of getting cooperation where we get in this queen Duke's equity and we run this stuff so Marcus Mabry has cautioned how it fine. Right now we have a shot of the crown being placed on the Queen's head in the abbey.
SPEAKER: M11
Well we've got to get the dean along. So the Dean comes along with his wife and the lights go up and she's wiping away tears. Oh let them have it. So so we got that permission you say we need it the household cavalry for some scenes where Peter Cook Cook I think is a policy OK was leading the household cavalry. Peter Cook Cook. Yes. So we were able to get a few household cavalry guys to do all this sequence but we really needed to hold the whole thing.
SPEAKER: M16
And you only get the whole thing as a coronation or when a visiting monarch comes and lo and behold the week we want to do this highly Selassie decide to come to town. So we were out there we got the whole thing. We got the whole house covered doing the real things and it was marvellous and we got permission to use all that. Because I think her would have been had some connection with the army or something anyway then it was a question of the voice over the coronation of Richard Dimbleby.
SPEAKER: M4
BBC wanted to march. So OK we got Richard down played overseas. Ha. Yes. The moment of crowning has come. No really I should have said. And he put his head up on the day and he recorded this one sentence. He wanted to underpants pounds for it. So they said to fight it well actually do anything else you want. So I said Yeah well let's have an opening commentary. So he recorded lively country free for us the whole film and everybody was so helpful simply because we went an awesome Oh and then there's was another thing too. Phil Green who was a sort of run of the mill composer had been hired to write music Hmm. And I had used as temp music because I'd been impressed in the queen is crowned with the Crown Imperial Coronation March by William Morgan. Every time the queen appeared I put in a search of this music you see which is quite spine tingling stuff. Yeah. And it was still in the film when we ran it fulfill greens. And he said when he was spot in the music.
SPEAKER: M7
Well what do you want me to do there. And we said do something like that. He said absolutely no way. He said I can't do better than that. He said get in touch with Walden. Well we did. And Walton agreed and sold it to us for a very long war sold the rights to use it.
SPEAKER: M3
So just a matter of getting money to some for the folk for the actual recording presumably because it was. Oh did you did. Yes actually. Well did you. Yes. Recording a little yes. I think it actually recorded vote. Yeah you did just simply record what you could deliver the film because that would have been mixed in with all the things we say. We certainly got over orchestra who had played that bit.
SPEAKER: M4
No we though I think we got an actual recording with the old Columbia Road here. You had to just negotiate with them and I remember that whole scene was very impressive. As I say spine tingling and we were dubbing the film with Ken Cameron at Beaconsfield. And in those days you spent.
SPEAKER: M11
Three days I guess dubbing our group three films ten reels. Yeah. Where's the other nine the other studios took two or three weeks obviously but as we realize today things quickly. I remember doing one film in a day and a half of the time but we were working on I think our Thursday or Friday in a Saudi and this last reel which was so noisy and so many things that it wasn't coming together in those days. You didn't do it backwards and forwards like you do in a day it was done on optical so you started at the beginning the real and you went through to the top.
SPEAKER: M2
There was no rock and roll Oh no rock n roll not. No.
SPEAKER: M5
So I think we'd had about six or seven takes of this dub and it really wasn't working and tempers were getting a bit frayed. So Howard Mason who was a great peacemaker still upset.
SPEAKER: M7
I got the answer here. Let's stop right now. It was about nine or ten o'clock on a Saturday night. We'll come in tomorrow morning and we'll finish it fresh. Ken Cameron said certainly not. He said I'm doing another film tomorrow with wanting. So we went on to see more tapes and we finished about midnight I guess. And I printed ten takes from optical sound for Israel and I played them all and I eventually came together with ten bits ten splices which is very unusual ten splices in this ten minute real hand little dubbing section's gone. And when I finally put it together my spine tingles really. Yes. And it worked. It's it's it's uh there's something about films when they really work.
SPEAKER: M3
Mm hmm. Yes you get those magic moments there every now and then and then all the everything gels. Yes. Yes every now and then. But it was a bit of a nightmare wasn't it. Dubbing in those days when you had a complete loss. I remember you know you really did give you sleepless nights.
SPEAKER: M4
I remember you say I was the sound editor as well as the music editor as well as the editor on these films a group three because I had no luxury to have different people. No we didn't have dubbing it into so I was issue myself an assistant and a second assistant doing everything and you had say three weeks to shoot the film three weeks to cut the film in three weeks to prepare for dubbing in three days to do it and it was all over. And when I hear today of films taking longer and having 10 people to do the sound I I try and tell them stories about how I used to work and I didn't really believe it but you know you know I remember that one that I did for group three which was called Child's Play.
SPEAKER: M3
I remember it well I have it Mason Heather Mason again he was like a director. He was like the old uncle whose uncle he was the elderly gentleman who was the woman director Margaret Thompson.
SPEAKER: M7
Margaret Thompson famous for hosting the children the kidnappers. Yes.
SPEAKER: M13
And Danny Denton was the cameraman. Yes. And I had a very nice first rate assistant called Connie Mason. Oh yes. And we had a I think the budget on that was under 20000.
SPEAKER: M4
And we had every Hollywood really I recall that helps and you know it was some.
SPEAKER: M13
No no not not in that not in Child's Play on just. OK Mona Washburn was the leading lady. And Peter Martin and a gang of kids. OK all right. And we brought it in. Well I suppose we in under schedule property and we had a chat with Anthony Hopkins who wrote music for a record a band. Very nice woman. You must have used Anthony Hopkins the composer.
SPEAKER: M12
No I never worked with him but I remember on the first show I did four group three. You know you're only young twice for Terry Bishop and I also play the soundtracks. That was a good film. It was about the university wasn't it about. It was a James Brady story cool. What say they. Yeah but I remember I laid out soundtracks. There was a bit of a nightmare and we we got to dub the film and I'd left out one noise which was somebody kicking something as they enter the room and unfortunately was the last shot in a reel of a ten and a half minutes. So I was literally standing in the sound recording booths ready to kick hopefully in sync at the end of the ten minutes bang like that as they were actually recording dubbing the real late night dubbing. So that's the way they used to do newsreels in those days. They wouldn't record it because if you recorded you had to wait till next day to get your rushes so they would actually record it and live life. Yeah I remember Emmett who was the. The c ommentator on on one of those famous goes on British Neil not British.
SPEAKER: M14
Yes. He became an associate producer Ealing and produced no films and because he'd been doing newsreels there was a newsreel sequence in something or other probably possible to print it or something like that.
SPEAKER: M7
And so they asked him to do a commentary. So he came into the theater and he sat down and he started to read this and they said it doesn't sound anything like the way he used to do it. He said Well I don't understand let's do it again. So he tried again is it Ted. It's nothing like it is to the newsreels.
SPEAKER: M4
And so I had to work himself into a frenzy and you know he he was there at the time he got up to the speed the way he did it. His legs were dancing like a dancer underneath the chair. And he said I never realized I used to do things like that but that's the way it was and the kind of energy and and it was extraordinary the way these people worked. Anyway I came to the end of the group who period they closed down and luckily Bill Fairchild who directed John Judy said well I didn't realize how complicated was gonna be. He said if I ever do another film I'd like you to be with me before we started to work it out and groups are collapsing within a week he was offered a film a British line called an extra extra day. And so I was hired to work out the whole film with him for six weeks before we started. So rare occasion I think it's the only film where done it on although. It really should have been on many films that I've worked on and so that the first day the first day shooting he knew exactly where what he was gonna do it all the way through the film. I don't say made it the better film. But he said he was a little more comfortable in directing it.
SPEAKER: M6
It's interesting yes. So were you there with him when he shoot. I shot it.
SPEAKER: M12
No not really. He made me shoot the first day's work which hadn't any artist here because he wanted to go to pressure of Christoph and shoot me. And so there I was with an untried unit who'd been brought together for the first time trying to make them do things.
SPEAKER: M2
Hardly any experience at all before before. John and Julie as a director as a filmmaker and we now know as a writer because I thought he was a writer. He was a novelist. Yes.
SPEAKER: M12
I mean nowadays anybody can step on the set and be a director it seems. In those days if one was expected to have a little more experience so I was very surprised at a number writers were getting chances like that. But maybe that was Balkans and I suppose more often than not they get helped by the 19 cameramen and they drew experience unhappily. There is a strange thing that happens I've been hired by directors who say I've never directed much before on a guy who came to commercials something else I really need your experience and I'm getting the best cameramen I can and all what do you think great great great. The moment they set foot on the set. Their humility disappears and they suddenly realize they have the power of life and death. And they became megalomaniac. Oh I see yes. Yeah. Yes. Which is very sad but it happens again and again and again. Anyway I did the extra day was with Petra and it worked out quite well. And at that time ITV had just started up and they were snatching technicians from everywhere.
SPEAKER: M3
And so yes we lost quite a few in that time may 55. But we're doing this a lot of some people yes.
SPEAKER: M4
This was 55 said doing this film Irish line they suddenly offered me a contract to stay with them and be their contract editor. Mm hmm. And indeed I did and spent a year with them during which time I only did one film. The film first film that came out was I was doing a little film to be directed by Alistair Sim which I thought would be a wonderful experience. I worked with Frank launders illegally on a film called Green Man based on oh yes a play of this scene the body all the body was well nourished and had two different titles. Terry Thomas and with Alice the same George Coe Terry Thomas and Brian and very funny Raymond Huntley and lovely gentlemen whose names came through the world who was very wonderful in.
SPEAKER: M10
Are you being served for so many years put off the role a portly gentleman not off alone or something like that. Oh no no no.
SPEAKER: M12
Anyway no matter. Anyway the Friday before we start to do to start shooting and it's going to be directed about us to see him and the technical director. It was a camera operator who'd be jockeying for position to direct called Robert De and Alister who is a very handsome very dark ideas about the film expounded them to the producers Renaldo and Sidney Gilbert and they did not go along with it at all. And so he said okay in that case I won't direct the film. So they were left on a Friday before shooting started with an inexperienced director who never directed before and the backers knowing this film had to be done very quickly in six weeks back as British nine very on an unwilling to allow him to have the chance. So Frank in Sydney said well let's get a supervising director in. So I arrive on Monday morning to find the director is Basil did. Oh yes. Whom I had walked out on not three years before. So I was just like well actually after a couple of days we went for a walk around the grounds at Shepperton and I told him my story and he understood it and we have great friends from then on. But his technique on the film was to Ivan. They were starting was let's say he's seen 50. Okay well this is seven so let's see we should really put the camera here. Don't you think Bob and Bob was sitting on a stool at the side of the set and Bob. Yes. Could I embezzle so Basil rehearse the scene and then shot it and said How was that for you Bob wasn't great Basil. And he kept his nose clean for six weeks and got the credit for the film Basil refused to take any credit. It is a remarkable film. I saw it again not so long ago. It is still remarkable. It's it's one of the funniest films I well associated with. Very funny. I'm very sorry the BBC decides to make something without any called the Green Man because it's a bit confusing in many ways. You know when but what else did dog that day it was at. Well it was it started his career off although he didn't direct it. He then did a film called The Rebel with Tony Hancock.
SPEAKER: M2
And he was off and running and he's had a very respectable career in yes sort of run of the mill was rather sort of workman like director wasn't going to associate him with anything particularly startling.
SPEAKER: M14
But I mean Basil is associated with hard hitting films like The Blue Lamp and things like that. But people were unaware that his career started with Basil Dean back in the 30s and he directed some will hate some of the comedies. Yes. Yes and he had a technique with comedy which I found fascinating. He would rehearse a scene when it was OK. He said right. We now take it 10 percent faster which is a technique that Frank Capra used to use in those cameras in the 30s. And the actors would go faster than they wanted to go. But the result would be the right speed on the screen. Whereas other directors would play Roy bolting for example would direct things at a normal pace and then you'd have to introduce the pace in cutting which is not the best way to do it with the result of the green man.
SPEAKER: M4
Literally I was servicing the film not creating the cut. The timing was the timing was the autumn. Yeah I see Frank Capra for example had some innovative ideas on his films. He would shoot at this tremendous pace and then he back in the 30s. They would make a an acetate record of the master shot and they would use that as a playback for the close ups. So they had the same speed because so often close ups will be of a totally different speed. Lacking the energy of the master John is right. Yes. Yes very. Yes. He had a lot of innovative ideas like that. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M3
And of course in those days there was another reason for keeping the pace up because they bad because films didn't tend to be short. I mean the requirement. Well yes they were dealing.
SPEAKER: M8
They were especially very short and they were continually having to get dispensations from their distributors drank the rank or G FDR. I think it was in those days to be under the stipulated minimum which was something like 85 or something sometimes they would go down to 80 80.
SPEAKER: M2
Yeah. Because I know it's a matter of the white suit was 81 minutes. Really. Yes really. They were lean and mean. Yes. But they they were good. I mean I find that the films today tend to drag an awful lot. Yeah I know a lot of the big features. Yes. They didn't seem to add an awful lot. So often we'd come out of the screening at BAFTA and we just said Well that would have been a marvelous song if any it had been half an hour or 40 minutes shorter.
SPEAKER: M8
And you could see where you could cut it. Yes yes. Roach is different. Yeah I know he said it's because nowadays the people who actually make the pictures are responsible for the cutting whereas in days gone by. There was a studio chief Zanuck or a mayor or Thalberg or somebody that's right. The studio would take the film over and bring it down to shape. Because you can get too close to film and you want to hold onto everything.
SPEAKER: M2
That's why there's some of those directors you know some of those producers that were so marvellous because they stood back. They they weren't watching it every day they'd come in at the crucial moment. This was a grand city it was such a good area with our films because he could look at us. He could spot what was wrong and what we could improve it.
SPEAKER: M8
Well I was to tell a story about Sam Fuller who was a lovely man still alive in Paris in fact these days. I was hired to do a film with him called White Dog which I talked about earlier and he had this reputation of doing these very very lean little 80 minute films B pictures back in the 40s which were quite impressive. I've actually never ever seen one but I've heard about them. And we started doing this film and obviously we still wanted to end up with about that sort of length. But my first cut was three hours and 40 minutes. And this was a bit worrying. So but Sam said don't worry don't worry well we'll cut this down well. Well get this when we downsize so let's get to work on it. So I started working with him and massing notes as we were going through. And I was rather distressed because we did not seem to be getting any shorter and we were getting longer. In fact I was working way on doing his alterations when the producer walked into my room. And how's it going and I said well I know we wanted a shorter film but I'm afraid it's gonna be longer. He laughed and laughed and walked out but he did come back an hour later he said were you serious.
SPEAKER: M5
I said I was serious I was. Do you want to see a real piece I put a real up on the on the flatbed to show the ideas that were being expounded by the director. He said Oh my God oh no no no no. This is terrible. I'll take him to lunch. So he took me lunch said Sam I got some ideas I'd like to try out with Bernie on this show. Do you mind if I just pick up all my guests said Sam.
SPEAKER: M4
So we took up first rate and we instead of putting all these shots in that Sam why are we so out and out now out out they're down. And you know because anything is really logic. You got to tell a story in the simplest possible way. After we done the first rule we abolish say when I said all right great. Not realizing that not one of his notes had been taken notice of. And that's the way the film was finished. And in fact many films get finished that way I'm afraid. Mm hmm.
SPEAKER: M2
Believe it or not but you had to take an awful lot out of that film brilliantly. Well yes I do. How long do you say it was that those cut three hours and 40 minutes. You know it wasn't. It's a half less than half that.
SPEAKER: M4
Well a lot of films were long like for example of the first cut of giant which William Hornbeck one of the greatest editors of all time. Yes I remember he was five and a half hours. Was it. Yes. I mean he.
SPEAKER: M7
I asked him once. Good I became very friendly with Bill. I asked him once how he enjoyed working with George Stevens because he'd done a lot of things like place in the sun which he got the Academy Award and giant and shamed. And he said oh it was impossible. He said it was impossible because he he'd like to be shot so much and wanted to use it all. He was always complaining he said about I was cutting too tight.
SPEAKER: M5
And he told me the story about place in the sun. Stevens had just reprimanded him about this cutting too tight. And he came to cut a sequence which Montgomery Clift is taking Shelley Winters out to the middle liked to murder her. Oh yes I remember that sequence in fact by some curious chance I was doing a movie three years ago and the director wanted to use a sequence in a film in the film and it's I've used the sequence in the film on the screen while a murder is happening. It's amazing how these things I'm so fond of end up in the films that I've yet. I like the film I did last year had a sequence with the third man in it. I understand it's now being cut out because they couldn't get the rights so it's in the tape I have anyway I've got Orson Welles and Joseph Courtney my tape of the film. Anyway going back to William Hall make the digression Bill picked up the sequence to cut it. And the first shot was Montgomery Clift rowing away in the distance. So he's rowing and he's rowing no rmally he'd take about six rows and then he would cut to something. So he kept going to the end of the shot which was two minutes a roadie road until he was Speck and then it was a camera flash. So he cut to them reaching position and stopping in the middle of the leg. So he cuts the rest of sequence then he runs it and last year it was Stevens and Stevens is watching this and they start rowing and they're rowing and homemakers looking sideways at Stevens who's not doing any reaction what's William and Bill thought well my little gags as misfired I'm afraid. Well what a pity. Two minutes later he cuts to the close shot because he has to. Stevens explodes. God damn it Bill why do you always cut away just when the shows when the shots getting interesting. Which sums up Mr. George Stevens. That's right. Yes. I was talking only a few weeks ago because somebody asked me about Sir William Wyler. And so I happened to be reading that evening with the editor of Ben-Hur who isn't very good fr iend of mine and who's so good a friend of mine that I've forgotten his name instantly. Ralph Reed. Well what does it say about you and I said Ralph. Tell me about working with William Wyler. Was it evasive. Oh my God no. He said it was so difficult he said he would shoot master shots and then he would shoot close shots it didn't match like if they were standing up in the master they'd be sitting down and the close up. He said I can never cut anything together. And I tried him and it wouldn't make any difference. You know you'd still go on doing this these these masters were quite undisciplined.
SPEAKER: M4
Mm hmm. But they still managed to finish their films. Mm hmm. Although if you look at Wuthering Heights The last show of the film had I do with Wyler that was shot by some other director because Sam Goldwyn wanted Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon to walk up into the clouds together. Oh right. Yes. That was that was a Goldwyn ism. Yeah. And while I had nothing to do with him. Yes yes. So many things that people remember were not shot by the directors like Lewis Milestone never shot the end sequence of all quiet on the western front. No we didn't finish out what the famous scene with the with the butterfly lie and nobody could think how to face the film when the second unit director said I got an idea. I went out on the back long shot it man. And whilst I was man enough to say he had nothing to do with that. Anyway back to the story.
SPEAKER: M2
You got to while you were talking about oh yes I was. I was working Green Man a green man.
SPEAKER: M12
Yeah well I did a year with British lion and then that they thank goodness didn't read you and I continue to freelance and did a remarkable number of films over the next 30 or 40 years most of which are nameless.
SPEAKER: M6
Come now you know that. What point did you use. Well what year are we talking about now when you were British land. Well that was 56 56. Yes it took some years before you actually crossed the water was it not to 70. Well I actually went there in the winter of 74. Yeah right. Cousin on my trips over those 20 years I did an awful lot of films but. But you were working at the relay. Well we weren't attached to any one. No I did. I did a year or so. Were you guys a British transport an idea here at Guild television doing commercials which was the most horrifying year of my life. Do you do commercials. I didn't know. Well yeah I'm a guy we work if we all around the White Suit.
SPEAKER: M4
Nick MacDonald ran guild television I said come and work with us save the rest of your life it's a marvellous place to be. But I've done a lot of commercials in my time but that was the most concentrated period. I mean I did a commercial with John Firman bridges on Channel Ferris wheel as memory of the Kennedy film censor. Nice man. James I enjoyed working with him. But when you work in commercials full time there's never a beginning a middle and an end. It's always ongoing there's always something in the room. He's always never stops. I remember at given television they would bring it roll and a cup of coffee or maybe just a cup of coffee as a courtesy to you every morning about 10:00. I think four days in a five that cup of coffee stayed on the end of that venture was never drunk. It wasn't time. There was never time. And you know the other thing is you can never relax you could never you could never make fun of the movie. You can never make fun of commercials because it's also dea dly serious. Mm hmm. You're right. I go home at the end of every day like a piece of chewed string and that's the truth of it. Mm yeah.
SPEAKER: M6
My brief exposure because it's not really filmmaking I'm afraid it's it's looking for a needle in a haystack all the time. Hand it to me.
SPEAKER: M16
I meant my limited experience so I was working with a man who was strange enough how these things go full circle is not doing a match shot for me on kidnapped a man called Billy Potter who was their wizard at Guild television and we were doing some fairy snow commercials. They had been doing up to then interviews with housewives and they thought this was getting a bit boring so now they said to the Railton who ran the company. And he was real. Yes you have your guys do whatever you like. So through them we lose a Jerry. Jerry one with the glasses. Jerry from what does not not not brand Jerry but Jay Bryant and there was Peter duffle and there was somebody else all going off doing their own thing. And I cut all these things for them. No one of them was a very elaborate one minute commercial about an old man who was waiting for a pub to open so he can go get a drink. Sitting there is brilliant white shirt. Thanks to very snow. It was very elaborate. I think Jay Bryan did the thing abou t a little girl with his children running around a garden a little girl with a very white frock running around a garden at a birthday party or something like that. I forget what so what. But so one was when Well one of them did a little thing just as an off off off chance an afterthought two shots a little girl carrying a basket walks or a wall drops a basket out force one of the cakes she's been collecting she jumps down one cart picks up the cake dusted off puts it in the basket and dances off. It took me it took me a week or so to cut the first one well the old man in the pub suddenly two or three days to deal with all this since a verity about the little girl in the garden. It took me exactly five minutes to cut the other film which was one cut he'd actually timed it to 30 seconds there it was. Now comes a day when we have to show it to the client. Louise Burt Dan's widow was the agency producer and she was very very nervous very very nervous. In came the people from the. From t he relevant agency with their composer in tow who did the themes for the various notes jingles flew round the first one in silence to see it again. I did a bit too elaborate too much with story. What else to go round the second one little girl prancing around the garden the first one where we see all this before. Well she got this little thing little girl running along a wall jumps down runs off.
SPEAKER: F1
Oh well seems as a composer. Yes. And everybody was ecstatic. This is it. This is it.
SPEAKER: M4
And I'm shaking my head. Louise comes to my calling it was all marvelous. We must go to lunch next week. Oh this is marvelous. I thought I can't take this. I quit commercials. I went back into features there. Yes because this is not the world I wanted to it. I'd spend a lot less time doing such clever work but it wasn't what they wanted. And that's what commercials are it's if you're selling a product you're not selling.
SPEAKER: M3
That's right. Yes you you're entirely in the hands of the police what they call creative consultant to everyone. And it's an interesting sort of discipline and probably quite good to experience it. I've heard it and they pay well. I seem to remember well yes they do but nowadays I guess they pay your price for doing it or you work in a company that does commercials you just get paid a salary and so don't get anything out of it.
SPEAKER: M8
One Coke commercial I did I was asked to do by Tony Simmons who I'd been working with. Oh yes very nice man. And he said I've got something I like to do I'd like you to recut. Sounds like a commercial. So you say you're already being cut and be shown but they don't like it.
SPEAKER: M5
It's it's for the Daily Herald and shows people with the Daily Herald in the hand being talking to one another he said. But we got a lot of material he said. The thing is he said everybody is in the film is going like this like the declaiming. And he said we want to find bits which are going like this but they're in quite a bit put push polling. Yes yes. I said well that's fine.

End of Side 3

 Bernard Gribble Side 4.

=======================================

 

SPEAKER: M2
Your window ident side 4 Yes. Bernie just talking about his commercial injury.
SPEAKER: M11
Oh yes for the Daily Herald. Anyway I spent months recounting it and eventually we got it to to to work. It seemed and I was about to dub it. And I'm in the dubbing theatre and one doesn't like to make a move without the agency producer there. But he called just sounds about starts at 0. Disaster is awesome but go ahead and do it and I'll explain when I get there. Then he walked in about half an hour later and said well he said it sounds okay but the picture's not going to work. He said because they change the banner on the paper last night. So we had to go out and reshoot all the key spots that I spent six months finding and some shots and people talking it's a. Jumbo jet at Heathrow. With a. Daily Herald in the hand had to be changed to a close up of a guy recordings. He had to do it anyway. Eventually we'd got it finished. It was all in black and white and some he said should have been in colour. So next day I'll tell you what was put a title on the end saying read the Daily Heral d we'll put it in red. Great idea they said. So we did that. It all went out. Six months later of course the paper folded into that story.
SPEAKER: M7
Anyway that doesn't sound very rewarding life in commercials. So during the course of the next few years because I did you have to realize I started I got my first credit on the street in 48. So I've been doing the 48. That was your first. I started in 47 on the film but it didn't come out to 48. So I guess that's the first year I got a credit card since then I was counting up recently I've done feature length films as anything over 40 minutes I would say I've done. 92 I think. Last time I counted. Hmm.
SPEAKER: M2
Although many other things I've had credits are like talking what is now is actual cinema feature that you did.
SPEAKER: M10
Last one I did for the cinema was not the greatest. It was called ACES Iron Eagle 3. Directed by John Glenn. Oh yes. Oh John Glenn I used to it it was too late underrate the bombs on the country in the last five bonds. When was that made. About five years ago. Since I went to Hollywood I've done well. That's probably midway in my career I probably done just as many in Hollywood as I did in England. Yeah but only a handful of them have been for the cinema screen mostly. Has been TV. Strange enough the TV work has been much more rewarding not monetarily but suddenly rewarding film wise done the feature work television it seems is willing to handle much more touchy and interesting subjects and and higher. Very good actors willing to do very interesting things. Features are totally overblown and tend to rely on special effects and of glitz and they're dealing with a different sort of market aren't they. I suppose nowadays the international would I must budget since long I've worked on ve ry expensive things. Which have just died a death and you spent a fortune on them. I'm very sad.
SPEAKER: M16
Anyway and anyway nowadays they spend so much that day on these big features that by the time they get to the editing you either have to have three editors on Amazon or whatever.
SPEAKER: M7
It's not so much. Well yeah a deliberate activity to get it done quickly. Let us get it out with several editors it can be difficult it can be easy it all depends if there's somebody in charge who's putting it altogether. I have since first learned about. I mean when one is an editor and learns to craft you only know about yourself. When one sees other people's films it's very difficult to say well it's whether just or not when people ask me I say why don't what material like I don't want materialist. Exactly. If something hits me like a ton of bricks I say that's a bad cut. But one of the worst cuts I've seen in many years was done by a great friend of mine on Schindler's List Michael Cohen. There was a reason for that kind I'm sure but it threw me out of my seat. I've never mentioned it to anyone I meant to throw you out. Your seat. Otherwise as a Brit the edited film. No I mean I never knew one should never be really critical of my dad's work because a it's not his work on the scr een or seeing any way the way of making films is totally changed.
SPEAKER: M11
When I started out you edited the film either with notes from the director and suggestions and rushes but you use having them in the cutting room when you've edited the film so if you did not have a director sitting over your shoulder telling her how to do it as so many editors have nowadays you showed it to the executives and the museum director and if you were as smart as I tried to be you had all your discussions in the theater about editing with everybody there because if you worked with a producer and director and then the director went off to visit Cannes or something and you went on with a director next time the other person came back you say well what's happened here and you'd have to go it all whole exercise of explaining why you'd done this. So I'd always try and make sure that everybody was in the theater so that if there was a disagreement they fought in front of you and then you decided. Nowadays it's a whole different ballgame with the DGA rules the editors cut is only seen by the director. Nobody except in rare instances may see bits and pieces nobody can see what the editors cut. The director has his 20 days or whatever to fashion the film where he wants to present it to the producers or the network or whatever.
SPEAKER: M7
Therefore what does the editor do. He only does what the director tells him to do. They have no idea what an edge does because they never see it it does work which is very tragic and very dramatic. And there was many times that I would like to say to people when the director has been banished from the scene as he can. As he is in television after he's presented his director's cut. It's very lucky man to be allowed to stay round after that. More in features after he's had two previews otherwise he's dead after that. It's very galling at times to say well actually I did have it like that once. Nowadays with the late works I can say well we'll see it. Just call it up and I think they said cheese huh. Well yeah put that in it happens again it's very galling unafraid. Very good.
SPEAKER: M2
Yeah. So if a director is being pushed off after a director has got to have insurance on you you're dealing directly with will like the chap I met the other day. John Davis. Yes. The line Producer is that yes he called the line producer. Well he's called a reduced producer. Yes.
SPEAKER: M7
When you have so many producers in especially an American television and you don't know what they.
SPEAKER: M2
Well I wouldn't be responsible for the creative side as it were after the directors disappeared. Between you and he I mean. Well he in actual fact on this particular show he has worked closely with me but.
SPEAKER: M7
A representative from Francis Ford Coppola has come over to deal with us. He's not a producer director his eyes are on ideas man but he represents Francis. Francis really has a big credit on the film's executive producer. But in fact he owns the rights to make the film. I thought it was in public domain but apparently obviously this is not because he owns the rights to the story and so it's supposed to his film. The other producer Robert How many is in charge about 20 or 30 films at the moment. Right sees Rush's occasion. He comes by now it again says a few things but has nothing more to do with it. And I was just given the car the credit list the other day and it includes another producer whom I've never heard of. And I asked John Davis my line producer I said Who is this man. He says don't know who he is either. So he creeps in onto the credits. Yes but you look at television shows and icon you see produced by produced by produced by produced by produced by maybe 10 or 12. They all get a cut of the profits. No they get a cut of the license money. Yeah right. And you don't know what they do finance. You have no idea what they do. I've done several films where I have never met the executive producers and have no idea what they want to buy a couple I've read about seen him.
SPEAKER: M2
No I never will. He's often somebody else. He has nothing to do with the show whatsoever. Yeah. Oh it's so weird anyway. Did you do you think we should go back to. Yes. Well apart we are still you finish the commercials.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah. Well actually I had a year and during during my career I had what I now refers to as sabbaticals which was not lounging around on the beach at Acapulco but it was in fact going to British Transport films which was oh yes.
SPEAKER: M7
Then in the 1960s Yeah it was a it was a year to two years of absolute joy and freedom because not only are you saying that one was given no one was given as once one's head and and allowed to make films.
SPEAKER: M3
It was it is a refreshing period in one's life and I enjoyed it. And I had this I say this year in commercials which taught me an awful lot and what I didn't like about it. But then then I had a year doing a television series. I had I had been approached by a producer about doing a television series and I said well at that time one didn't want to have anything do with television Labor's bad bad name and he looked down on it. And this producer said Well Coach is gonna be the other editor of the series. I said well and coach Middle East life and can do it I can do it. So I signed up. So a couple days they are wanted by and cutting or she was doing writing the horse's mouth or something they share with her. I said well that it we're gonna be working together. You mean I told her about this. So now I met him at a party. I said I'd direct twelve to form but I'm over the cutting. No way. I mean do we television no way. So I thought yeah I was doing this television series and I suddenly lea rned because we were doing a TV series called White Hunter shooting at Halle offered on us said I can't go to village with locations being done in Nairobi with an air date one month from the start of shooting in the first episode I realized after I'd cut the first show and it was a bit sloppily cut perhaps because I'd been used to feeling my way through films in those days that it wasn't gonna work. I really had to make decisions on the spot from now on. Otherwise we wouldn't get on the air right. And in fact we had such a rush that Sydney box who was the exactly producer after a couple of weeks said look I tell you what. Get some more people in and you'll be the Supervising Editor. OK. Well I did that although I personally wasn't very happy with it because after I got two very good people in on the show I was reduced to walking around the studio with a piece of paper on my hand trying to look like I was busy because when you get two good people doing the work there's nothing to do. I'd gone to a period of using the producer's friend to cut a show which meant that I had to burn the midnight oil taking over and recording it myself. But that's another story. But anyway I had these two editors working with me and I was seeing the rushes and then seeing where they cut and I began suddenly to realize that one of them was cutting in a way that I did not like.
SPEAKER: M5
And it was very similar to the way I'd been working and I hadn't realized why I didn't like it until I saw the other guys work on material and I like the way he was working. And so I began to unlearn things I'd learned from Sydney Cole and Michael Truman. Very simple little things that I can only think one example like Michael would say always leave about 8 frames before anybody starts to speak and cut very tightly into the dollar cut right into the modulations. And that's one of the thing I and I had to unlearn and I very seldom do that today. Very very seldom. In fact I can't think of an instance where I've done it in the last I would agree with that 30 years. But they worked by this this rule which led to all my work looking and in fact it was described by some as staccato. And now I could see it if I saw him and when Phil's a fine cut approved by these directors at Ealing I would then go through an Sabah petition they put a couple of frames on the end of a shot because I thought it was too tight without altering the length and I didn't know why I was doing it until many years later. It's an instinctive thing isn't it. It's a bit down now. I learned a totally different technique of editing and watching these two guys at work and so that when I returned to the editing field I really changed my methods and I find now that almost every film I changed my method something as something I change. It's like I find a new way to do something which makes life easier or or uses my talents better.
SPEAKER: M2
That's very good isn't it. Well I suppose that although you may do that within a film because of the subject matter all that was done was to be shot. A sort of instinctive right thing.
SPEAKER: M7
And because of your experience over the years you Well you obviously you see this there's some things you think there's only one way to cut something and some people editors will say Oh well I look at the rushes and I cut it as I watch the rushes and I think that's impossible. How do you do that. How do you do that. It's a ridiculous remark really. Yes. I mean usually when I see a material or sequence I or when I see the rushes I will always try. I used to try when I worked in the days of film to have my rushes assembled in scene order so that you could see the master shot and then the close shots contemplate him over the over shoulders and they matching co shots one after another so that as you were watching it you control there I could see that you've got the master you got the oh shoulders you have the close ups and that's it fine. I came across directors say no no no no no I want to see it the way I shot it then I remember during the day what I did.
SPEAKER: M8
So instantly then I as I'm watching rushes I'm getting no sense of what I'm seeing and I have to think myself I must watch for something down the line. Did you your comparable close up to this. And things can get lost. David Lee new work that way you said that he'd always insist on everything being in seen order every means in scene order and script and other scripts and in fact there's only one director I work in the last two or three years who are doing a film in and in Zagreb in fact insisted that the continuity go tell the labs exactly the order in which they should go. So when it came to me it was all on scene order. But nowadays you see you when labs take the material and put it straight onto video tapes for me it comes in any old order as the camera roll camera rolls come off they go onto the tape the big cameras are on another roll. Six rows away from the camera. So you get no sense of whether you're fully covered or not so that you really have to wait until the materials are all put together. If it's film which lined up on the bench in front of me or if it's tape it's in the gallery for that scene to see what do you want to see. And then you can start thinking about how to edit it.
SPEAKER: M2
Well this is this has always been true hasn't it. I mean it rushes a troubled very troubled thinking some for the editor very often because though they come up all over the place I mean yes this is one's own experience. I mean there are directors all there. Yes well if you go sometimes you're lucky and you have a director who has exactly an idea in his mind to go through it with you shot by shot.
SPEAKER: M8
Well there are directors who arrive on the set with them with their homework fully done with a list of the shots they're going to do during the day. Yeah and if you're lucky storyboards to go with it so everybody knows exactly what to do. I mean less where speed Spellberg works really restored storyboards for everything but I can imagine that because he does so much special effects anyway everybody has to know what they're doing so at all matches. Yeah but I have worked with a number directors in recent years who've done no homework. And like in those horrible days one heard about in the colder days when units would sit around and wait for the director arrive perhaps with the pages to a script and then they would think about what they're going to do to lunchtime and then start shooting about four and go on to midnight. The days that have done differently. Well yeah but I've come across people today who arrive on the set with no idea what they're gonna do and look for a way to shoot t he shot and that the day is chaos from then on because nobody knows what they're doing.
SPEAKER: M2
Nothing really changes is it. No I'm afraid it does seem that there's always hand stuff. You get the same old problems even to my day. The white hunter. Who. What was that series. Who starred in it. Who was reading earlier. The lead man was very handsome general called Rhodes reason that I've never heard of him say all right. American. Yes yes yes. I sort of vaguely remember that I don't think I seen it it makes the sort of program comes up on UK gold and Bravo which is a cable and satellite stuff which we get here. I didn't realize you've done those. How many were there.
SPEAKER: M4
Well there were 52 and I actually physically cut about four of them which was an interesting exercise and it certainly changed my attitude towards editing.
SPEAKER: M8
Until then I'd been used to sort of thinking about the film and putting off cutting anything for a couple of weeks until I see what the material was like being forced into putting the scissors in and the first sequence was always murder because you always did it wrong and you over cut it or something and really should have been thrown away and I did makes me feel quite nostalgic. I didn't experience so much of that nowadays because I jump in from the top for.
SPEAKER: M4
The top let us right into the pool.
SPEAKER: M2
It's a totally different way of working because of the new technology of the new technology too.
SPEAKER: M9
It was the new technology. I don't have to cut the way I do even film with film I will always try and do it right the first time because you didn't want to get the trims out and put things together. There are some editors who would say what I like. I give you an example. Very good old friend of mine Max Benedict. Oh yeah. You know your ideas about editing.
SPEAKER: F1
He was doing a film in Hollywood for a pirate called Moroccan Golan and he showed a sequence to Moroccans and Martin said where are the close ups.
SPEAKER: M11
And Max said well I like to feel my way through a scene so I just use the master and the medium shots first and then maybe I'll use the up later. He was on the street the next day. I mean you think.
SPEAKER: M2
I think they're very unfair. No no no no I.
SPEAKER: M11
I think you have to want it when I'm editing what I said as he was film. I would digest the material.
SPEAKER: F1
I remembered Jim Clark was working for Jack Harrison indiscrete said I understand he goes on running it and running and running and running and running it. He runs it for days and then finally he would cut it. Well the thing is you have to absorb the material. Yeah. In fact I don't do it as much as that was my technique is to run the material shot by shot making notes loading the key things things that could be a problem over continuity.
SPEAKER: M11
So I should watch for when I see the coverage and then when I've analyzed all those shots like that I go through it a second time and now I'm looking for the bits that I like and I underline the line readings that I like and the bits of action that I like. And by that time I now should have my internal computer should have actually cut it because I don't subscribe to the theory that you pick up the material and say well we'll start with this shot now what do we look forward to cut to next.
SPEAKER: M8
What have we got here. What. That's all. Well that's no way to go and that's ridiculous. No. Carry on business like what I used to do before the light works. Maybe sometimes I do with the light works is after I've analyzed material I've found the bits I put to good like is I sit down and I write down how the sequence is gonna be edited like a jigsaw puzzle I can fill the bits in. And with film I would religiously follow that and Chekhov take off every piece as I put it in Moore marked it. So eventually when I mark them all I would just cut them up on synchronized and they would all fall into place and using that to move Viola technique on sometimes three moviegoers side by side technique.
SPEAKER: M4
My continuity errors were very rare. All right. Yes very rare very rare. And know I've lost my train of thought.
SPEAKER: M2
Well I didn't I didn't think you were out and I would just try to see what I was. A matter of at what point do you put it altogether. What was interesting about what he was saying about Jack Harris you know absorbing yes absorbing ghetto.
SPEAKER: M8
What other words I would know. Yeah know what I try to make with this film. I would know what I was trying to achieve therefore I would usually try and do this in the in the afternoon or evening because I'm not a morning person creatively. Oh that's another point isn't it. So I wouldn't mind organizing things and I'd work out how I want to do it and then in the morning I would physically work and synchronize it. So they created me wasn't working great at me was not coming until after lunch. It was just a physical me actually putting this stuff together and then if I was working away on a sequence and marking up these cells marking up these bits to put in and I suddenly it all has a nice piece of film I start wanting off in another direction and and then inevitably I would come to a stone wall and I'd look at my notes and say Yeah of course instinctively I knew I couldn't go that way anyway. And I go back to the spine. And the spine meant that okay if I was blocked by a certain contin uity problem I might have to go close up and come back here. But I was never gone off the spine. I was seen as I saw it on the scene know the scene as it was dictated to me by the material as opposed to a director telling me this is the way he wanted it. It's what the material spoke to me about.
SPEAKER: M2
Now that's the point of having it ends up it goes up in the movie whatever the director may say. I mean is flying a man with a particular skill and he must do it his own way and he isn't allowed to do that then.
SPEAKER: M8
Nowadays the point nowadays they think that they do it all you see that's the tragedy. A lot of them think they do it all and don't realize the contribution of the editor makes. Now with the video not video I mean it's a long term to use with non-linear editing my techniques are totally different. Haha I will take the material and I will make my notes as I did before. What are the key things are in the scene with two screens. I have the same facility as two movie areas to see what continuity is like but that's really not the point of the exercise. The exercise is just physically putting it together and because I don't have to get the trims out and splice something back if it doesn't work I don't have those worries. No I pick up the first piece of film I've made notes about how I'd like it to go perhaps but usually I don't want to look at those because I know the scene backwards. Now I start with a first shot and then I come to the next shot. Okay maybe this three takes on this. Which one do I use. With film I'd run them again make try and make absolutely certain here. If somebody's saying good morning how are you. I put the morning on anyway. Good morning how are you. Good morning how are you.
SPEAKER: M12
Oh I see you get good it is and so that my first cut of a scene it would be incomprehensible to anybody. Confusing because not it is you have repeated lines one has repeated actions and repeated repeated angles on certain actions and so you sit back and look at three when I see it may run ten minutes but you're seeing all sorts of permutations and then all you do with video editing is you just not them out and knock that went out and knock that one out and then suddenly and then you've got to think about ten minutes ten minutes literally ten minutes it comes together.
SPEAKER: M8
Whereas it would take all day. We'll film if I did and I've heard of people working that way with film people like Oliver Stone apparently with film used to work that way. But I think altogether different angles. A lot of physical work and of course physically. And then you'd have to have an assistant splice it all back the way it was so that you could get it available to screen again and it's smart with non-linear editing it's all there as masters anyway. You don't have to touch it.
SPEAKER: M2
I would've thought therefore I mean how you create creativity your creativity is having much more opportunity than money.
SPEAKER: M13
I would have much because you see I tried many more things because you're not cluttered up with physicality which is really inhibiting and we see the thing that disturbs me about people learning how to edit today and obviously there are many new people coming along because although the old guard of hung in there as long as they can. A lot of them were actually frightened by the new techniques and won't touch them and so they're going to be they're going to be elbowed out of the way obviously by the younger people who are willing to use the new techniques new technology because producers directors love it. I mean that's the point I made my director my producer on this show said he was didn't want anything to do with this kind of technology thought he would be a load of garbage until he saw me at work and now he's so fascinated by it he said he'll never work any other way again which makes a lot of sense.
SPEAKER: M2
Coming in now fairly rapidly I mean what portion of people in your area.
SPEAKER: M13
You know television editors overhead I think does hard the film now in Hollywood feature. Well certainly not. I can't imagine many television films being done to film but a lot of features are being done electronics a lot by non-linear editing.
SPEAKER: M2
Now a lot of features are being done. Right.
SPEAKER: M8
Yes. It's more cumbersome for a feature because they still like to have the possibility of seeing the rushes on the big screen a quick screen and then having a preview because they're very big on previews in the United States. Oh right. So when you got to a certain point where you've cut say getting there a rough cut a first cut and then all the rushes had to be conformed. Maybe only the picture because the sound is now sophisticated physical enough to be actually. Transferred out of the light works. And and played on that on this on the screen as a soundtrack picture. So they wouldn't have good enough quality to. No no.
SPEAKER: M2
No because the digitization is still so therefore what problem and the features are still being cut and therefore probably quite a lot of features are still being cut in the ordinary way as indeed Dick Madden was doing it the other day. Yeah killing unknown Jonah. And here he said he was he would always stick to that but I suppose that if he went over to television he might find himself working. The other thing I was going to ask you how do the your first assistants manage learning the learning process. Why do they don't.
SPEAKER: M14
That is a tragedy you see nowadays you will find instances where if you have a lot of films to your credit you're too experienced. I have a resume a CV which I use in the states which starts about 20 years ago. It ignores the first 30 years of my career because I can't use it anymore. It's too too frightening to people. And you will find instances to where a young assistant editor knows how to use the long non-linear systems will say to a producer I know how to do this. Let me edit your show.
SPEAKER: M8
And our producer will think because he knows how to use the equipment. Therefore he knows how to edit it. Yes but he doesn't because he doesn't see to didn't the technique of working in an editing room with an editor was fill is your constantly with him at all times. No going on all the time in the area where I work now the assistant comes in very early in the morning to put the dailies into the machine to digitize it and is only necessary to be around for Playhouse whenever you want them made within the day. So quite often my assistant will leave about 10:00 in the morning and come back at 6:00 in the evening. Really. Yeah. So he's not that involved whatsoever no editing no no.
SPEAKER: M2
Do you have. Presumably you only need one assistant do on.
SPEAKER: M13
Oh yes and one assistant can actually service several editors or a television series yet isn't it. Yes. Yes. So if we're going to very much on your own it's going to be a snag. So there will have to be a sort of tuition for somebody else going to take over you know perhaps there are lots of courses on how to use the machinery. But there are no courses whatsoever on how to edit this which is tragic. And therefore I don't know how people are going to learn and I don't know how people. Will be fined. We'll get to know the tricks and frankly I when I have a million ways of using material so it can be because it could be used properly. I have. Numerous shortcuts to make things work. None of which people are aware of. And will be aware of.
SPEAKER: M2
I suppose ideally you are resistant or a an assistant if he or she really wants to learn they had to actually sit beside you. Yes wondering what you're doing.
SPEAKER: M8
Yes but that's that's also not going to work. And that's not going to cause.
SPEAKER: M11
One has an internal computer. You pick up a piece of film LSA or look at a shot and you pick up a second shot your internal computer is instantly rejected that shot when he looks at that shot it's gone through a thousand permutations you'd never think about it. That's right. If you're a new editor and you pick it up you want to pull it.
SPEAKER: M2
Wonder if it would work and you don't know because you've never tried it but I can look at two pieces of film and I can know that they won't go together and know what will go yes but to be fair I mean even in the old days of handling film I mean that the editor couldn't the assistant couldn't know exactly what is going on your mind in running know the different world that he is my God when you started editing you are concerned with making a cut in the physical business of cutting two bits of film together.
SPEAKER: M12
You can spend an awful lot of time on that simple matter so that so you make a smooth cut and you say yes lovely. So you go on and when the sequence is run you have national office nice saying this line and saying well I got to go now I'll miss the train. And he sits there and then he rises and you cut to the shot of him rising and crossing over the room you got a beautifully smooth cut and the right will say that won't do he's going to catch the train he's sitting there get him up and then you don't know how to do it because you you've got a smooth cut why should you change it. It's things like that you protect things that look good which are dramatically bad but are not necessarily appropriate. So in other words when you're cutting first of all when you and there are two different there are two different terms cutting and editing which people use alternatively meaning the same thing but in fact there are two different methods totally different cutting is physically cutting together editing is doing it in the mind. It's it's covering the whole broad concept again of the film itself. And so when you first first start editing you are concerned with making fiscal cuts and that's very hard and time consuming. Now when I come to cut I'm not thinking about cuts I fine I don't care whether good bad or indifferent I'm getting the shape right. And then the cuts fall in place the other day I put two shots together and it didn't look right. So I started ordering and I thought oh wait a minute. Why am I ordering this. It's never going to work. And then I went in another direction because I knew very well that I was trying to make something work that had a lot of hope in hell of working as a young editor I would probably have persevered for another hour or two. Yeah right. And served up something that didn't work. But yeah well it was should we get it.
SPEAKER: M2
Let's go back a little bit because we haven't actually got although even eliminated a lot on the and this particular method of working that got to go back to your own career. Well you hadn't actually got to America yet. No I won. What drew you across.
SPEAKER: M5
Well I fell in with a director called Michael Winner. Yes I think I remember him he lives just on the road here. Yes. Right he does a he. I knew him actually when he was a young assistant director on on white hunter. Oh yeah. I used to tell funny stories about him and. He got his chance to direct his first film. I think his father actually bankrolled it because he was very wealthy man. Mm hmm. And he persuaded Danny angel that Daniel Angel to let him direct a film. He was about twenty or so at a time I think. And I got this call when he rings saying my name was Michael went out and I know what you think about me. I still like to make sure. I like it. So we met and we talked and he offered me a film and I'd just been offered to other films with directors I knew which were going to start on January the 1st of that year and I said wow he's gonna start December the 1st.
SPEAKER: M14
And that seems to bit better than me. So I decided to go with that. And then there was suddenly a problem. And Danny Angel decided to start the film. Jennifer So I had three films in general first and here I was committed to Michael. So I thought well he's a new director why not.
SPEAKER: M11
So my agent was told I wouldn't be signed the first but he screamed no moral commitment. So Danny had me and said well you're on the payroll you've got to go and tell him how to make the film. So I went to sit with Michael his office and we talked of this and that he really didn't really want me around.
SPEAKER: M15
And he said well you know I got to do something he said. How we're gonna shoot this is our streets but all set some design on places designed around places I know like that pub around the corner in Leicester Square and this and that. I said let's go around that pub and work out the seed. And we went around a pub it was very quiet part of the day thank God right now you sit down now you you'll be Eric Paul went and there's this this man he area you on sir you'll be Alfred Dench I don't want to. Okay well ignore him our eye now this shall be a shock shot all right. And so we spent days wanting around the place. We went up to Kenwood and places now. OK. So we want to raid this place now. You got the gun hold the gun up now don't be nervous Come on.
SPEAKER: M11
And we worked out the house. Well this was a very good idea. We started the shoot but perhaps it was too good idea an idea because he started shooting the first sequence and he decided to use no coverage. Well we we agreed that we didn't need much Coast because we knew what we wanted but with me no coverage means at least you give a one line lead in or something so you got the energy up at least because there are certain things some directors even today still do wrong like they'll start a line on the movie together like you're walking down a street. They don't even give you one footstep before they start the line. So everybody start some action it's looks tell a peculiar little something. But he shot this equals without any coverage at all. So Danny Ainge wanted to fire him. I said No I'm sure it'll work Danny. I'm sure it'll work. So I rushed back at the cutting I was I cut these 30 shots between 2:00 and 6:00 for a shooting and ran the secret form and thank God it all held together . So we stay on film. But you didn't do that again.
SPEAKER: M4
He then started shooting conventionally I had to say and we went on we did about 10 films over the years together. What was that film called that first one that was called Western level with her right now. Yes I remember that well yes those sweet little film. Mm hmm. And related content. So I did his first major film and I did quite a few with him over the years. There was a period though when I was involved in a film called Mr. for wish of the Penguins which kept me out of circulation for about 18 months because it went through two directors and complete reshoot of the entire film bio. Fuel location shots in the Antarctic. And eventually I got a call from him saying he was going to do a film in New York called Death Wish and would I like to cut it. You know I was doing something at the time so I did. And I loved America so much.
SPEAKER: M2
I think that was his best film actually. It was the climax of his career. I thought it was really really good movie that it is totally eventually done way through. Yes. And each shot nicely. And he was in it to be it was simple. And everything worked. He sometimes cluttered his films up with too many scenes.
SPEAKER: M4
Well yes he did. After that he became a. He became a writer. And he's not a writer. And that's when he said one word that was shot in New York with a death wish. Yes 74 yes.
SPEAKER: M2
And so you and you kind of knew in New York and finished it here he is. Yes. There's no. That was your first. Was it your first trip to.
SPEAKER: M11
Well I was um I was fascinated by New York and fascinated by the energy I found on the film unit. I'd gotten used to a very lackadaisical approach to films over here and I was getting a little bored. And the films were getting very boring. And in fact I'd have to look at my resume made to remember what I did to you 20 years previous to that because most of them were mostly very boring films but some I came back after that film which everything went very successfully and smoothly and ended up sitting back here and I found wow same lackadaisical attitude. And then Michael said Let's do one in Hollywood called want on time. There was a tremendous energy on this film and excitement and then we went to New York and to Nolan and I I was once again revitalized about the film industry and I found it ever since in America there is this great vitality about making films.
SPEAKER: M12
Yes. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M2
Which I thoroughly enjoyed. So that was your first central introduction to Hollywood work with Michael Winner. Yes indeed. Goodness me as nurses personally. I remember that film you making. I'd never seen it. I like to see it. Which one. One Tom Tom.
SPEAKER: M11
It's not very good. It's not really it's sold out with high hopes but it didn't really work. It's an interesting recreation of Hollywood in the 20s. I'll say that and it's lots of wonderful cameos but even those are a little off. Well I mean we have 100 names on the main titles. And finally I was driven to saying Michael I know Richard Allen is supposed to be in this film. I remember him well from my childhood. But where is he.
SPEAKER: M17
He said well let's have a look at this scene. I said I know he was there that day. He's that guy in the background there that I leave it on the credits. Well. We never had that. We never found it as all star cast.
SPEAKER: F2
I'm not the critics. Result of union activity or something because you never have these years again.
SPEAKER: M11
I don't know how this all came about. I don't know when it started. I'm trying to remember now. I remember on death wish in 74 the film ended it said the end and I don't remember any role or anything quite frankly I want on town had only about 30 or 40 names on the end.
SPEAKER: M2
But after that it seemed to start expanding the X-Men as many as it did as it was about 15 or 20 years I know it's ridiculous. Know I it. Yes. So that's a death wish.
SPEAKER: F2
And that was as late as nineteen take it or leave. I mean you're looking for the basic people. Yes yes yes yes yes.
SPEAKER: M2
That was 1974. That was right. Yes I see. Just to go back.
SPEAKER: M5
I remember you doing that film in Malta with Anthony Newley what was that kind of Rama's can Hieronymus Merkin forget mercy hunt and find you happiness. Yeah. That was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career.
SPEAKER: M4
I I was approached by my dad who approached me anyway. I met with Anthony Newley and I told him how much I wanted to work with him because I was a television series that he'd done and I wish escapes me what he done for television. Yes 40 years wasn't I don't remember this but he was very clever and I mentioned one of the episodes which was one of my favorite which turned out to be his favorite. So of course we had a great rapport from the beginning and but now we can understand his script. He was very bordering. And Universal had told him he could make it if he made it for a million pounds. So off we went to Malta to make his films which was a sex musical and it was a very strange place to go make a sex musical.
SPEAKER: M12
I mean I warned Tony that first day at the production meeting that we should not do the nude scenes in the government's Governor's Palace Garden District and end of the road and of course nobody listened and of course we were soon busted and we had terrible problems but we finally got it made and now we can understand the film at all. I began to understand it as I was cutting it and towards the end the only two people who understood the film were how when Roger the writer who later did.
SPEAKER: M11
Some very clever films come in with Leymah and myself. Tony didn't seem to understand he kept asking us what he was take certain things whether it was the story of his life. He was as confused as everyone else. I remember there was a scene at the end of the film where his wife Joan Collins came to him with her two children and said I've had enough. I'm going back to England tell you the two children and he said give Jerry lots of close ups in that scene because he hadn't got much to do in the movie. That was the only scene that hadn't been played in real life at that time. But it was eventually played in real life. A couple of years later.
SPEAKER: M4
But when the film was together suddenly everybody understood it and it was a very very clever film very very clever film. It didn't meet with the approval of the critics. I think no it did not and Universal was so embarrassed. They formed a new company to put it out called Regency because it had an exit effect. I think without without a certificate in the end in America because they were very nervous of it. I think it died a death did it die to death they had it out twice it died of death. And it's not even on video. It did not. I haven't seen it they but it was a it was a brave experiment.
SPEAKER: M2
Brain it'll probably resuscitated in time. I hope some people will hail it is not a masterpiece nine lives at some point or something and if they do I wish they could find a sequence that was cut out.
SPEAKER: M4
We had a very clever song number called Oh what a son of a bitch I am. And it came at a crucial why would do a film. And even though it wasn't getting a certificate Universal said you can't have son of a bitch. We cannot hear the word never. And the whole number came out 1967 and the whole number came up. And as a great big gaping wicked hole and.

End of Side 4

Bernard Gribble Side 5.
=======================================

 

SPEAKER: M1
Slide 5. So that was 1967 all right.
SPEAKER: M12
But that was. But you already said a death wish was your first trip to Holland to America. Yeah went on ton. And how we missed out anything in the final stages of English.
SPEAKER: M2
Well I'm I'm hard pressed to mention everything was really exciting. I did a lot of very pleasurable films which nobody will ever remember over the years.
SPEAKER: M12
They probably all come up on probably Bravo probably. We see your films every now then every now and then.
SPEAKER: M4
Your name appears. But mostly they were. Well I mean it's interesting I was reminded because in the film I'm doing now we have Lewis Carson who is cast Christopher cast Christopher Carson playing an elderly victories I think in 80s but I did a film with his mother civil Thorndyke called Alive and kicking about three old ladies who run away from an old ladies home and get into a pole and find themselves picked up by a Russian trawler and shipwrecked on to a Spanish island where they form a cottage industry making Wolf. It was a very very strange film. Franco wait. Oh yeah. He did a lot of what stuff did need a lot of films. Yes. Yes he did. And I did more films with Wolf relied. I did a film in Egypt called Cairo with George Sanders which was a very interesting experience but it was an honourable failure because we used the largely native cast their trying to speak English which meant they had all had to be revised. It was a remake of Houston's actual jungle to use up the pastors that they couldn't MGM couldn't get out of Egypt. There was going to be the first of a series of films that we had such tremendous problems. They never made another film there ever again but it was an interesting film.
SPEAKER: M12
I had music by Kenneth B. Jones I noticed.
SPEAKER: M4
Yes it was Kenneth V. Jones you're right. Right. Who. Loved every minute. I had three months in Cairo which is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. But it didn't really work. I did an interesting film with which I saw on video recently film with Freddy Francis called tails with this madness which started with Rita Hayworth who who after seven shots found that she couldn't cope and fled the country poor thing and was replaced as Harry Cohen always threatened to was replaced by Kim Novak. Believe it or not she was marvelous. I did a couple of films called Steptoe and Sutherland step turns on right again which were absolute joys spin off. Yes. And this. They were very funny. And delightful.
SPEAKER: M12
You didn't do you didn't do the Dad's Army one did you do. No I didn't.
SPEAKER: M4
No I did. I did a film called The lovers with Richard Beckinsale and Paula Wilcox which was great fun. Robert Hubbard wise directed. There were a lot of nice nice little films in that period. I did. Films with Jack Greenwood at Merton Park some a all his films which agreement on to do. I'd been hired to do them when I was still doing a film at Pinewood and I went to see him and I said How was your visa. Well we shot the first one or on the second one already I said Oh well I'm going to do something so I said Line up the film for me and I came in that weekend the system lined up all the film around the county and I got every bean in the cutting room was lined up in the corridor. And I cut the entire sixty five minute films and Saturday and Sunday show it to Jack on Monday morning slicked it up by lunchtime and hand it to the sound editors.
SPEAKER: M8
It's Bill that says a lot doesn't possible to do it. If I could do from a to z because I obviously had been competently shot in the first place and you were able to vary.
SPEAKER: M12
And the second one was done by Clive Donna who was still a very good director they share those regulators the old Edgar Wallace they got on Bravo. I enjoyed them very much.
SPEAKER: M2
Yes they were quite fun to do.
SPEAKER: M8
I did about five altogether and they weren't all shot low are they because there was what they should know there were some that Julian winter did they did it can I can. Yeah I never saw any of those.
SPEAKER: M17
So anyway perhaps we could go on to.
SPEAKER: M12
When did you finally decide to stay in America.
SPEAKER: M6
Well that was off well but I was a sentinel in New York. I I met I had already met Yvonne passer and taken over a film actually that John Jameson was doing. He was taken very ill with diabetes and they wanted to stop film while he had some treatment and he said No no you can't do that I'll find you somebody who I know you'll be happy with. So he trained him they called me and said Could I take over and I said Yes I went to see Van and over the show the next day it was in first cut. John is a brilliant editor and it was a play well done. And that was my I worked with a band finalizing that and then he offered me a film called The Silver bass with Cybill Shepherd and Michael Caine and Jay Leno who'd been found either in a.
SPEAKER: M19
Comedy Club and one or two other lovely people. Stefano John. Yeah. Tommy Smothers. Oh lovely people. And it seemed to fit in nicely with the end of the sense. No but then we ran the sentinel for Universal and they hated every minute of it. And they sent Michael back to the drawing board for a lot of reshooting and I thought oh so I just left a note on his desk one day and said goodbye and left could quite understand why I was going but I went anyway. And. Although he offered me a I work with him afterwards or somebody else and he offered me another film we never did work again at the end of your. Yeah. That night time was Michael. Well when.
SPEAKER: M4
Well it was an interesting time. I mean most people hate his guts. But I had a very interesting working career with him. Very interesting.
SPEAKER: M8
And we did in fact like I'll never forget what's his name with the Joker. But unlike some of the editors he had working for him I think he actually allowed you to cut the stuff me. Yes.
SPEAKER: M6
Where was the trouble was that after a certain time or during the period when I wasn't working with him he got Freddy Wilson in and I'll tell his story as Freddy no longer with us. Yes. Freddy cut a film or the law man for him. And when he saw it he didn't like it. So he said Okay Freddy thank you very much. And go to the movie and start cutting himself and Freddy just stood by and let him do it. And they they had a relationship for a while.
SPEAKER: M2
And now of course he cuts his own films and uses the name that he used when he was a newspaper gossip columnist. He uses a model crust. Yes.
SPEAKER: M18
Do you see he can edit him and he really is. Physically can he's physically capable of editing. Yes. Oh that's all right. Then after a fashion under fashion after a fashion but I always heard a European Max Benedick and people who work with him. I mean they just sort of standing there beside you. He wouldn't. He wouldn't cut anything unless the editor was there. That's what I was told. Well I mean although he didn't like the editor to handle it himself. He seems a very strange method. Yeah. Working well strange man.
SPEAKER: M6
Anyway that's another reason why I did want to work with him anyway cause he he wanted to get his hands on things as well. So anyway I I was going to work with them in Hollywood. Ah yes well in Hollywood. Actually I had to work. Completely off the lot in the house somewhere because of the unions. There was a very interesting situation all right. You had a problem. We had a problem because I was working surreptitiously. And in fact it wasn't obviously until I returned to Hollywood eventually and join the union that I was able to work efficiently because in those days one could come in and work surreptitiously although if you announced your presence then the unions would jump on you. But if you came in and were quiet about it then you were too liberal in. Nowadays even. American citizens such as myself which I am now has to prove before you start any film The Lincoln has the right to.
SPEAKER: M8
He really has the right credentials. Yes. You you're an American citizen. Yes yes.
SPEAKER: M6
But if every every American has to prove it he he has the right to. He's not an illegal. Well it's very doubtful that because until three or four years ago there were a great many people working pretty legally in Hollywood. But anyway I found myself doing so with bears which I had very enjoyable experience on the Silver Bells because that was shot and it was shot in Morocco and Switzerland and Las Vegas and Twickenham.
SPEAKER: F3
Yes.
SPEAKER: M2
Anyway.
SPEAKER: M6
So then eventually I I went back to New York and I stayed there a couple of years and did minus the industrials which were actually very interesting to do documentary. Yes yes.
SPEAKER: M12
I spent about a year doing industrials have wall to wall commentaries that day in America.
SPEAKER: M6
Well no not necessarily no. I think there was I think the ones I do quite good and then Armand Hammer came along and he he he was a great art collector as you know and he. Had arranged for a collection of Mexican art to be taken around the country. He was showing in Washington D.C. and he had it photographed and I did a 30 minute film about this exhibition and work with him on how it is a fascinating man to work with. He was in his 70s then. He lived to about 90 something but even then he read 70 was so dynamic. Now we were working away in the Caribbean we say oh I must speak to the president about something.
SPEAKER: M2
Get on the phone and speak to the president. And they say how much warning we got another half. Okay. Ring Kennedy and tell him to help. Ready. And then we came to the end titles and he said there's not enough names on here. No credit for so-and-so. So I tell you what I'll recall the end credits he said. So we take in the next room for the microphone and he read the rent and credits giving credits to everybody. And Sonny was shaking their head so much that guy's name his head's gonna roll. He was gone. Lovely man. But on that little film which was only a 30 minute film which has never been shown it was just for his private use I think he said oh I want to I want Margot to do the commentary. Course remember Margot Lost Horizon. Eddie Albert's wife. Oh right. Yes Margot. Well she's only known as Margot. She was fascinating. You remember the girl in Lost Horizon who was 200 years old. Oh yes we believed her until she left what's left Shangri la and died in them. And then she she came al ong and did the commentary. I met some fascinating people over the years.
SPEAKER: M3
So where did you live in New York for her. Well I went apartment then married to an American lady Johanna.
SPEAKER: M2
Well you had her. Yes I met her. No. OK. She was she was a therapist and she had an office on Central Park West and we had an apartment just off the park on WMD. Yes. And saw some fascinating people there was a lovely part of New York to live in a very bohemian. And two streets away on the corner lived John Lennon and Yoko Ono and they would they would frequent the same stores that we used to go to. And he would move quite happily amongst the people which he could have done years before when he was practicing as a little Beatle. And it was so tragedy it's tragic that within two years sadly they got him they got him very sad but that was an interesting period anyway the point was I couldn't get into features editors in New York they feature work was tight I was in need it still is by three or four people. And I've always said you've got to go to L.A. you've got to go to L.A.. So I thought to myself well if this work ever dries up I'll get on the next plane. And I was told the film I w as doing would end in a couple of weeks time and they won't be doing anything for a few weeks I don't want. I'm leaving that. So I'd heard that Roy bowtie was gonna direct a film in Hollywood. So I rang him. He said oh wonderful dear boy. So I got off a plane in Los Angeles and went to see him in Century City And he hired me to do a movie with Richard Harris. But the union people weren't too happy although I met union people there and they were going to slide me into the union quite happily. They didn't want me being openly visible at MGM doing this film. So I was persuaded not to do it. In fact it's never ever been shown. It's a film with Richard Harris. Richard my role voting I guess it was lasting if it did. It's never ever been shown. Probably not in his resume even though he's in his biography. What was it called. You remember. Mm hmm. It's about a man who holds has a siege against people in Culver City over some really. Arthur Levitt might emerge. There would be Monday on I kn ow I had to replace me was George Grenville who was a friend of mine now. But anyway I that one anyway.
SPEAKER: M6
So anyway a few weeks later something came up which was to work on a series a show a pilot for a series called super train which actually in the end cost eleven million which in those days was something like How awful. That was 79. It was a very very strange television show very strange stuff. It was a joke of Hollywood at the time because it cost so much money and we had this is about a 200 mile an hour double decker train that travels from east to west. Clearly America and all the adventures that happened on the train but we had a miniature we were building but it wouldn't work.
SPEAKER: M7
You can't crash you can set foot. So we actually dubbing the show because it was an inflexible air date without any shots of the train and there was a possibility that when the show went on the air there would not be a single shot of the train in it for the last minute. They made the miniature work and we got I think six or seven shots which we distributed to one of the film. Yeah but it was a disaster. But anyway it made contact with the director Dan Curtis on the film and we went out on to a serious but after two episodes he was doing the same things he did on the show like he did a film with Dick Van Dyke Show which I think was Dick Van Dyke and he hated all he fired the director and took over and reshot it all himself. Well you just don't do that in television. So he was fired after a few weeks and he was going back to Western. He left unfinished and his editors doesn't want to join him so he said well come with me. So I went with him.
SPEAKER: M8
See what is a Dan Curtis Yes. And I stay with him for several years and I did some very rewarding films with him whether it was at a Western series I'm allowed to tell him no the Western was a film called The Raid on Coffeyville. But that was a television film was it as opposed to a feature film.
SPEAKER: M9
It was a very good film it one of them I remember it had a shot where they were writing off for the confrontation at Coffeyville when they all get killed the Dalton Gang get killed. And the camera cranes up and I looked at this shot. I can't believe it. I can't believe it.
SPEAKER: M10
I can see all the freeway traffic lovely still about to show an anachronism creeping in.
SPEAKER: M7
I was running my particular show kidnapped the other day for the cameraman and he was say oh no no you can't do that. I said I'm sorry the film was locked I can't do anything to help you there. Oh can't you know. OK OK. Then we went on for another couple of reels and there was a scene where our Mona Sante is confronting the boy over something and it's a big case of him saying something.
SPEAKER: M11
And I said I said Oh my God. And they said Dennis Lewis in the camera said what what's the matter. What's the matter. I said Oh. Let's just play that again and I play this close shot again and I've been looking at this for the last three months. You know I have not spotted a big black car. I can see a little bit. And. So I said well Dennis I've got to recap this obviously so I'll I'll I'll take care of your little point. The second time you would have had the track of the car to emphasize it. Well we would have them in the 17th century car. At.
SPEAKER: M2
Any room. So I do I stay with Dan and that's quite well it took me on to win the war and there was no date for starting and he said well I want you to find lots of stock footage. So. It was a terrible feeling of deja vu because I then went to the Sherman Greenburg library and other places and I was winding through the same material that I'd wandered through 1943 at ground back and by my was it was going over the same old stuff all over again. And it was frightening except that the tragedy was it was so badly cared for. You'd be waiting to a roll and suddenly wouldn't go any further and you look at the rest of the road and it was glued all right all glued together. So when nightfall died I don't read print either pile I'd bring up lots of potential stuff on the computer. And when they got the negative out of the vault. No no good.
SPEAKER: M9
So in fact it was a very depressing exercise and then my agent on the show had done a very bad deal for the show and I was very infuriated. So I was not very anxious to do it. And Kevin Carter sadly invited me to do a film called motel hell which is a rather fun horror film had to be done by Halloween. And so I resigned from the winds of war and went off and did a motel hell which is great fun with Rory Calhoun amongst all be great fun that's become. I hated it. I used to leave off my reservation. Now it's become a whole cult thing and whenever I mentioned that people say oh my favorite film is that it's now back on my resume. What do what dates are we're talking one now into the set of 80 89.
SPEAKER: M2
Yes I know. Yes. Anyway and at that time I was suddenly offered the White Dog at Paramount. And so it's very strange. I don't know the producer John David so I don't know the director sample unemployment. Why am I being offered this film. Eventually it was I found it was a ploy to get me onto the lot of Paramount because Dan wanted to get me back on the winds of war and then the invitation started coming and I kept saying no no no I don't want to know. I don't want to know. Nice and long. Eventually I said to Johanna marriage all the time. Well I said I finally said no to the winds of war knock and everything do it. And the phone rang. It was Dan. He was on his knees like hell jostled at the other end of the phone begging and pleading. So I finally agreed to go back on to him and actually I had a very rewarding 18 months.
SPEAKER: M8
I came on to the show after he finished shooting a very impressive stuff that wins of war. I saw what I saw. I saw quite a lot of it. How many episodes were it was 18 hours and very well done. I thought it was beautifully shot and I am gripping stuff.
SPEAKER: M2
I was invited to one remembrance but it clashed with something else and so I never got onto it. I did in fact watch all 30 odd hours and I hated every moment on because I thought it was not well done. The joy of winds of war was that it was 50 percent soap opera and 50 Cent 50 per cent reality. A nice young nice man.
SPEAKER: M8
Well you've got a nice story well a character is rather interesting likable character.
SPEAKER: M5
I thought it was well directed but when he came to do war and remembrance. Now we were getting into the Holocaust situation and he became too involved in that. And so he spent an awful lot of time on the Holocaust and with the result that when you you'd had 20 minutes of outfits and then you came back to Peter Graves having his affair with Polly Berger and he's a war what the hell is all this about is that a waste of time.
SPEAKER: M2
The balance was totally wrong. And although Cray was crafted superbly I thought he didn't work for me. But that's telling us that's life anymore. But I did see war.
SPEAKER: M5
I think Robert Mitchum was he his staff. Yes. After he'd done spent the years shooting with Mitchum on the winds war he did not want to use him again and searched high and low to find a replacement for him for the second show. I mean the best of network come up with was Ed Asner. But he wanted to recast everybody and he did cast recast and he got rid of Ali McGraw who was absolutely superb. I thought in the first film you although I was one of the few people who did he got rid of the sons and replace it with two people I couldn't tell apart and got rid of John Houseman who was brilliant early industrial replaced with Django with equally brilliant but different John Gilligan. But I thought Houseman was so marvellous in the original political cause trouble is he was undisciplined and that upset Dan. He was already a replacement for the man they started with whom they fired after the first week Mr Strasberg.
SPEAKER: M12
Were you shooting on. Was it all shot on 35. Yes. Because I suppose television are the big series all the shots and if everything was satisfied in those days.
SPEAKER: M1
Yeah you know in those days. Yes. What about your present things kidnapped.
SPEAKER: M6
That's that's still 35 basic. Yes yes. But it goes on to video to be energy do everything.
SPEAKER: M12
Yeah but I mean the point is that it's the basics. The crucial thing isn't it because you have the option of if they wanted to they could still make it into a yes.
SPEAKER: M6
I don't think that many people actually shoot totally electronically. I've only had one experience of it.
SPEAKER: M5
When I first got to Hollywood before all these things I've been talking about I did in fact do about 12 thirty minute films called next step beyond which were a little little sort of these little thriller Thriller things.
SPEAKER: M7
And they were shooting them electronically in the neutral folder all over and I was actually transferring it to 60 mil. Yeah leave a lot because I didn't. I tried cutting electronic. They couldn't do very well. It was too primitive in those days. Yeah but the tragedy was that they were shooting it all over Hollywood in a roundabout and the moment you move those cameras safe from the street to the beach everything has to be recalibrated. And they were losing so much time that it wasn't working out. And disastrous things were happening like they would use two cameras for example.
SPEAKER: M9
And when it was transferred to time coach will say well burst cameras. And so the first show I did I didn't go to the conforming and where I had wanted the long shot.
SPEAKER: M11
I got a close shot when I wanted to closure like a long shot. It was a total and utter mess. And that's the way it went out in the air and I was appalled. So the second time round I went to supervise it myself personally in the middle of the night. Oh God it must be gone it was frightening. And then on the second time around I found that if I had an overlap they couldn't take the sound with it. So I'd have people saying a line and it was stopped dead and it would be a hole and that's the way of some of them. Oh my God. Oh it was terrible things happen all that serious.
SPEAKER: M1
But one learns a lot during weddings. I was like Yeah.
SPEAKER: M7
So that was shot electronically but anyway after I think after winning the war I probably came to England to do top secret for the circus in Jamaica warehouse which was what did they.
SPEAKER: M12
Dave what did they use in this country now. I mean for dramas serious like Pride and Prejudice they would let me shot on Super 16 no studio 60 days.
SPEAKER: M6
If they make television but I mean I was down and I remember the BBC at one stage were doing something elaborate like Bourne peace or something like that and they were actually shooting it with video cameras on location and video mixing it in the in the booths on location. Sounds very primitive but some extraordinary things.
SPEAKER: M14
Well I understand it sounds what you do on 60 I remember once when I was working with Bill Fairchild he said Oh I've just written something for television. They're going gonna be. It's on tonight on television. And of course it was live in those days he said that show let's go on to the dress rehearsal or whatever they call it whatever it was. Yeah. And so I went along to Lime Grove and sat in the back behind Alvin Rakoff right off right correct and right off here while he did this film all the acting happening in front of us. And then there was bits of films dropped in from Terracini and there were sound effects and music being added in over here. And he was saying camera one camera two camera three you can recall. I could never do this I could never do this. It's fantastic. But it all worked out. And there was a sort of amazing chemistry that flowed when they were doing these things and I've seen some of the material from those days. I think Kenneth scopes of those days which had b een thoughtlessly edited because you know you were really into the thing and we all been rehearsing what you were but he got it beautifully.
SPEAKER: F2
But I think people at the end I'm not going to be doing it live here on television just collapse. I believe all I can believe that I can learn a wonderful thing comes out of it. It's done it's successful it's wonderful. I come to the films like really amazing.
SPEAKER: M14
I remember Norman Duerson showed some kid escapes from his early days to us once and it was fascinating. We can see he has some wonderful stuff he found in his garage and one of these shows where I think Harry Belafonte or something like that doing something. And he explained how it was done. He said I really upset them at the network because I use 70 cameras or something. He said it was done in this way and he analyzed the sequels we just seen. He said these all doses in this theater in New York. And he said the opening sequence is is played a wide as you'll see. And then he said in the middle sequence we go into this close area. This is all done to playback. He said because while they were doing the middle sequence they were actually now building the set for him to walk up this stairway right up into camera. And and so the middle section finished and it's no live. Then suddenly then you go to a camera up on of the top. And Harry Belafonte comes out climbing a stairway to paradise o r something comes all the way up these stairs which are just being constructed 10 minutes before. And that was behind otherwise.
SPEAKER: M2
So there was another situation where he had this actor who unfortunately had a toupee and he had to open the program by saying opening a door. There was a trellis fence or something and had a door. He had over the door and say Hi I'm so-and-so. And he tried to and he couldn't open the door couldn't open the door and all he had to do because we're only a little doorway to step up on the run but he knew we had to come to that door.
SPEAKER: M10
So he live television or not. He forced that door open as he came there of course is it to be went with a trellis what. He said was seen by a remember that situation.
SPEAKER: M2
He said the director was walking out and down on the council tearing his hair out in early hysterics. Well I done I think those were interesting days. I didn't know we could ever take them again. Yeah. Well anyway after.
SPEAKER: M8
But I was winning the war with about nine. I was about 81 or 82 wasn't all that long ago.
SPEAKER: M2
And after and after top secret I did some interesting things with spelling Aaron Spelling a very interesting man very interesting man. He certainly. He he was doing so much at the time. And yet he could come in to see your show and instantly tell you what was wrong. He was an all right Brandy. He has exactly you know you get pounded by the right answers to everything. A fascinating read. And it has caused some anyway.
SPEAKER: M12
Well you were still working conventionally weren't you as far as you are working on this film. Thirty five million. Yes. Did you how did you do anything much work on 60 Minutes apart from the one you were doing.
SPEAKER: M2
I don't know. I worked in on 60 will in New York. I met when I was hired to do this work. It was rather strange because I I decided to crack new york as soon as Christmas was over and I got out the book and I rang about 100 people and 50 didn't want to know and 20 said Why do you drop by and see us and ten. Talk to me and go on. I didn't narrow down to my left a few reservations actually one offered me something for a few days. Then the phone rang and a voice said Oh this is Howard Jarvis and I just want to tell you that the Russians will be in from Chicago on Friday so you can you can on Wednesday so you could start on Thursday I see that. What do you mean. So you repeat that I said I don't know what you're talking about here that I've been at some place and I said all that that Englishman who came in we should give that job to him but nobody bothers him. Oh I see. They just assumed that you were already on the books. Yeah. So anyway I think I came in and to do this industrial film and they said what I want to work with because everybody else is working on various things or other and I said well I'm. A movie owner I guess. And so they wheeled in a 60 men we were in the movie area they hired a knife as they will do it and I realized oh I've made a terrible mistake because you cannot cut 60 mil movie over at least if you do you tell the film to read and write. And so I they were watching me like a hawk. So I got through it somehow or other. Then then they offered me another film and by that time the equipment was not in full size. And they said What would you like to use. Now we can't get a movie out. Can you get one of these things. So I saw there was a steam back in the back room and I wanted to work quietly as I said I use that. So I used the steam back and I fell in love with it actually the first time and the only time I really think a scene back and a decent pick sink is all you need for 60 mil. Yes. Yes. Well actually I just use a motorized were motorized picks. Yes actually no comes in. I did cut a film on a motorized pixie. Yes yes. More of one of the agencies here in town. Yes. I enjoyed I enjoyed that because it looks after the film ever I didn't actually go to a movie either or anything I'd stayed on the fixing and cut a dialogue documentary totally on the fixing wasn't it motorized. Really. Yes.
SPEAKER: M8
Yeah it can be done and be done with it as everything has rhythm as they say and everything rhythm.
SPEAKER: M15
Yes you see we used that we had that Magnus sync British Transport film. Yes. I don't know what it was there and he was a welder. How did you work at Melba house at all.
SPEAKER: M3
I certainly did. You did. Course you did. Yes I certainly did. Yes we had that we had the Magnus thing and we had it notarized. I don't think the head of the I row to. So I knew you'd have a right. I'd forgotten. Couldn't remember what find him. Well I did two stints with you I guess. Yes. Because you must've moved over before he came back the second time. Oh right. Yes. You know that's been demolished. Oh I said Marlborough House was knocked down about two months ago.
SPEAKER: M15
It's still part of the station or there's just a it's just flat. The whole area all that military House complex and a cobbled carpark in the middle. It's all gone and I'm not sure what they're going to live it.
SPEAKER: M3
Goes ghost walks up and down. Yeah we made that film called A scene from Melba House which has now been resuscitated the music by Vaughan Williams Vaughan Williams I had a pleasure working with that gentleman I noticed you worked with him on two films possibly. Yes he did the music for a film I was assistant on called loves Joanna Gordon. That was his famous score. Yeah. Yeah. Very good score. And then.
SPEAKER: M2
And then when we were doing better springs and starving was a brilliant musical director at Ealing. Used to get these wonderful people like John and Paul Williams and others to come and do music for the competing films. He said for winners be wonderful for this. So he approached him and Bill Williams came along and saw a few scenes and said I'd love to when I'm in the midst of some symphony or something I can't do it. He's always in the middle of something. He was so he went away. But then miraculously about three or four weeks later a theme arrived. And so the eventual film has music by Ralph Williams augmented or something by to starving and Ernest who never ever wrote music actually augmented the the film himself. And this is it. This is a kind of Western set in Australia and Vaughan Williams scene lifts it up into the realms of the Hollywood musical you know the Hollywood Westerns you know really. Oh he was really marvellous marvelous composer here.
SPEAKER: M15
He was here to pick you didn't do more film music. He did. He wrote the music for 49 parallel yes which and also the one that I saw not so long ago.
SPEAKER: M1
Did you. Yes. And he also did the wonders Sid Co. Scott of the Antarctic Andy.
SPEAKER: M2
Yes he used a woman called Margaret Ritchie who was keen as I think is the term as the voice of the Antarctic in a lovely cold voice.
SPEAKER: M15
That was him that was a lovely school. I mean you talk about the music lifting a film which otherwise might have been fairly ordinary. And then I think Scott of the Antarctic was a remarkable effort.
SPEAKER: M13
Yes it's very difficult to put across visually but the music really gave it that extra dimension didn't it.
SPEAKER: M2
People don't realise just how some films are made by the music. I mean I would hide I would be I would have liked to seen seven men without music before and for all they could carousel. I'd like to see him breakfast at Tiffany's before them Fisk was on to see what the difference is.
SPEAKER: M8
Did you work with me on Matheson. Yes I did. I mean much is unclear but I was thinking I know anyone at Ealing. You will probably will know only what you had your own chat and if we have noticed Irving. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M4
And then when he became infirm his he was replaced by his assistant Dr. Matheson.
SPEAKER: M8
Doc is Miller's brother Miller's younger brother. Yeah. Yeah. So I didn't work with me at once and it was a very fascinating experience.
SPEAKER: M15
I got to know me very well actually over the years because he was all sort of honorary direct from music. Pretty short films and he'd done a lot of work on crime and I admire him enormously. Towards the end of his life he he started composing really I think he had composed and he was a composer by training but he didn't compose quite a few score for us. Towards the end of his life.
SPEAKER: M13
But take to my mind he was the sort of one of the few indispensable people in that business in our business. Yeah the musical director who was not only a good musician but also a good film maker.
SPEAKER: M16
Well in those days putting music to films was a very different exercise than it is today where you have the film on the screen and you have streamers which will tell you exactly where to get to a certain spot where you have click tracks which should tell you the tight tempo that you need. I'm in my introduction that was on for Bush and the Penguins which had been scored by somebody that Roy boating thought should have a chance he'd been an arranger of our show and when they saw the film they realized it wasn't really working and they really needed a breathtaking score. So they decided to get John Addison in to do it and John had recently been working in Hollywood so now he wanted to do things the American way and so I learned this was the day before electronic click tracks I learned to punch out clicks and things and providing with certain tempo clicks to certain points so he could bring it in here then change to another table here and then. So everything fitted like a beautiful glov e. In the days of Neil Madison quite often the music was recorded completely independently a picture sometimes to a stopwatch timing in the windy town hall and you'll be lucky if it fitted but if you had somebody like Miller. Everything everything really work is remarkable.
SPEAKER: M12
Is remarkable. He loved it when there was a problem with the music track where when it was so too much music on and off was on it. That was when Muir came in not only.
SPEAKER: M1
Now let's go through that and he would he would work the Oracle you get it to fit welding.
SPEAKER: M2
I mean I would love I'd love to have it around today because you see the composer I'm working with now. Yeah well he has been working on a version which is far out of date from weeks ago. See our film has been through great upheavals. When they saw it. Since you when we finished shooting on September the 1st and as I said it's on the air on November the 5th that's us. That's a couple of months and then dropped. It's only been the end of shooting to the air date. It's been to a lot of in the last month since it was locked last week. It's been to a lot of work. The first version which ran for three hours and eight minutes is what they requested proved unacceptable. We've taken 50 minutes out of it to change it all around. Change the order upside down and all sorts of things. And for composer has been working to a toady out-of-date version. I know that he he was starting on Thursday on a tape of the new version was getting to him in Warsaw on Thursday so whether he can adapt it or not. He's doing that. I know now he's recording obviously this weekend. He's written music to send out a version is all going to be as I say histrionic. Is he an experienced composer has he done a lot of film music. He did Stalin for Ivan Passer on that I do not know. And so we are holding our breath so that you could use a mirror in a situation like that of course you could. Yes. Yes. Oh yes yes yes. Well in. In four weeks time it'll all be history.
SPEAKER: M15
Oh come now. When will we be seeing it here.
SPEAKER: M9
I don't know. I'm probably going to do a three hour version which will be slightly different which you'll probably be the version that we were shown abroad at the one you're showing now on November the 5th.
SPEAKER: M12
That'll be a three that'll be two hours plus an hour a quarter or something.
SPEAKER: M2
Well it's it's it's a two hour and an hour and a half show and what they want eventually is a three hour show.
SPEAKER: M1
So a three hour one off. Yes. I don't know what the difference is because they haven't told me yet. It could be a matter of taste just a matter of moments. Demanded trimming. Yes. Nobody shot by half a second. Well they can actually add actresses speeded up if they want to. They either can do Kobe they.
SPEAKER: M2
Yes they can but not as you could lose a certain amount or you can gain a certain amount if slows it down if you want to. They have all sorts of tricks you can close it.
SPEAKER: M1
Yes you can speed it up within certain limits. And you can do too much. No otherwise in effect a dialogue. You're also hearing the music. Yes or the effects of get away with it. It's only whenever they do it all the time anyway. So when when this is finished. Have you got anything lined up from this moment. But I'm not really looking but I my agent and working away at it in Hollywood. I suppose there is always stuff to be which they'll call upon you to help on when you get back. I hope so too. The United States is perhaps now we should get it in nearly at the end of this one onto a floppy disk. Oh all right. We're so happy we could have a you know looking back on your career. Do you look on it with pleasure or most of the time without intense pleasure.
SPEAKER: M2
In fact tomorrow as you know I'm going to meet John's Monk Leigh Goldman. Who started me off so many years ago. And although I have thanked him profusely in a letter I wrote him it will be my way of putting the final and dotting the i's and crossing the T's of that situation because I really owe him the most pleasurable life. I can't imagine a better life.
SPEAKER: M8
Actually it's a matter of luck as no matter who you meet in the first place. Absolutely. Absolutely.
SPEAKER: M12
Otherwise you might be messing around for ages as well I don't know what I would have done otherwise and he came to you anyway because he spotted you and he said he'd seen you with your interests in film and know it was really his chance remark.
SPEAKER: M2
I don't remember how I became friends with him. I guess it was perseverance on my part.
SPEAKER: M15
Well as in my case. Again I had a sort of a remarkable contact with somebody who lived in that same village as where John Monk lives now and they hear it to me.
SPEAKER: M12
You obviously are very interested in film because I had my own home movie set up on all this. Had you ever thought of joining the industry. I say well that's a very interesting idea I hadn't thought about it seriously. But obviously this is something which would and it was through them that I managed to get to Pinewood.
SPEAKER: M2
Great. Yes. Yes.
SPEAKER: M13
And these were people called barons who lived up to two minutes walk from where I live.
SPEAKER: M12
But anyway you could say that would you. Would you have altered your career in any way. And looking back on it would you have spent more time in Hollywood or would you.
SPEAKER: M2
But well I would love to have been part of Hollywood during the thirties. Yeah. I probably wouldn't have had any free time because I believe they work six days a week and they worked very hard. But I I would have liked to be part of that filmmaking era. On the other hand it was fascinating to have been at Ealing. That remarkable year in 50 51 when we would have been the kind of films that eating did were commendable with very Irish. But that one year we were all sprinkled with Stardust but you know. In the same categories simultaneously well being made the man in the white suit kind outs and coroners and passport of Pimlico. They never attained that kind of brilliance again. No. It just happened that one year it was very very strange. I mean they made some brilliant films afterwards. I mean I'm very fond of. Although I didn't cut it very fond of Mick to Maggie. Oh yes. I don't if anybody ever sees it. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M8
And indeed his lady killers was marvelous and the lady killers he's quite good and and a film that Les Norman made called The Night My name number came up. Yes that wasn't but that they show that you very clever film. There was a number of very good films made. Who would you say was the best director of the bunch and you know the most talented perhaps not the best. It's been difficult to say well what about Robert Hamer was he could see he had a rather short career in really short career. He made some wonderful pictures.
SPEAKER: M7
Well I guess I can only think. Well he did a brilliant sequel to the dead of night which still gets shown quite a bit on American television. I think Basil was probably the best of the bunch melody and most consistent too.
SPEAKER: M8
Yeah. Is he loaded Charles. No Charles right. Well the Charles Clapton he's very good and he's a great humorous. He's a great comedy director yes. Oh still is.
SPEAKER: M2
Well I mean his his contribution Well I mean he directed fish caught one fish caught one knows unless the cable TV unbelievable this man and not lost his touch.
SPEAKER: M17
No. Quite. No.
SPEAKER: M12
And he did it all on his own and DMA is remarkable and very brave of him because he's quite a daring thing to do to have a chap on the effort who's in his 80s.
SPEAKER: M2
Well it was really hard work with Cleese obviously directing his pleases in nostrils. Yes.
SPEAKER: M5
Trading films for management. And the only way it could be set up was for John to say he was going to direct the film. Mm hmm. All right. Yeah. And then the moment they started. John dropped out and left him the. Yeah. That's him in the field. Yeah. Yes.
SPEAKER: M12
So anyway I think you know I don't know whether perhaps you'd like to say a lot more but maybe maybe maybe we should maybe we should stop at the end of this tape.
SPEAKER: M16
Yes I think so. I mean very much as I say I have a most had a most pleasurable career I maybe would have liked to have directed something I almost came near to directing one of the good policies but then I realized there were many other editors who wanted to be directors who went that kind of route.

End of Side 5

Bernard Gribble Side 6.wav 
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SPEAKER: M1
Was ISIS. All right. So you're saying there's about two possible directing. Yes.
SPEAKER: M4
I'd seen many people continue examples like brilliant editor Ralph Campion for example. Oh yes White House editors and the World editor. And he got a chance to direct a small feature three weeks shooting cast already decided very tight schedule no money. It was called the Spaniards curse. But of course you can't very well win in those kind of situations. You cannot. You cannot it do your best. You are literally you're literally in a strait jacket. And it's no way to start a career. We cannot possibly know if you if you are a David Lean then you don't care a fig and you get on the film and and you make it the way you want. And. The fire you. Will they go along with you. And that's the way sometimes it has to be.
SPEAKER: M5
SPELLBERG almost lost his career on Jaws copula almost lost his career on the first Godfather. In fact the editor was poised to take over until that could happen until couple I realized what was happening and got him fired. And you do I'm a vacuum. A lot of people who almost had their careers finished because of the problems on a film and with a very small film with a tight budget schedule. You can do what you can do and you generally find that the the actors are the cheapest people they can get. And you can't get performances out of them.
SPEAKER: M8
So I don't envy anybody in this kind of situation and I certainly don't envy people the jobs they have in television now where they are literally pawns in the game no the moment they've done their bit of directing they're shown the door and people have absolutely no experience whatsoever of filmmaking quite a lot of it didn't take over quite a number of editors and had the occasional feature and and and then gone back to editing with Fergus Macdonald or he did a very nice film scene did a film called The Silent Voice small voice small voice small voice Valerie Hobson has interrupted journey I seem to remember.
SPEAKER: M4
Yes. HOBSON And Russell Lloyd did a film called The Last Days of Darwin. What do you think you write directed with Emily Williams. I seem to remember was Williams CNN. And I bet you see a few have moved over and become. Well okay journeymen directors people like CNN and not others not all of them not.
SPEAKER: M1
Not all of who've seen David Lean I suppose is a supreme example. They believe. I guess Robert Wise are the two finest.
SPEAKER: M4
Otherwise it directors. I mean people have said the path to directing is really to editing either really be this isn't entirely doesn't follow. I think you've got to have a story sense so means a writer is probably a very good person to have a director a cameraman can sometimes do it.
SPEAKER: M3
I think that sort of production experience is terribly important which editors don't get because they're not on the floor so much I mean the physical aspect to his production shooting your notes you need to be there.
SPEAKER: M8
The one thing I do regret not having done is is being on the floor for a bit so I could know what I can achieve with lenses. I know the names the lenses and I know what the shots looked like but until I put a lens on a shot and find that it won't work because it's too extreme or too wide or too narrow then you know it's like when you watch a film by David you know something when you're watching it done right. You don't. I don't know why it's right. I remember when John Gibson used to work with me many many years ago he once told me they used to say let's go see a movie tonight it's gonna be a bad movie and learn how to do it right. It's not a good idea to be good but that's probably a good thing if you see a bad movie in which you feel could be better then you're on your way to learning how to death you can spot you but otherwise. What I've been a second unit director. I was the first day on that films. Bill charts I've taken over a new unit and I'd been out the Friday before and I k new exactly where I wanted to shoot and what I want to shoot. But of course I had not taken into account two things One the fact I'd chosen a location next or sewage farm and now the wind changed.
SPEAKER: M4
Secondly that the unit only interested when they got to have lunch. And thirdly that the sun may not have been where it is now when I came and looked everywhere. So it made me the cameras I know. I don't want to do it this way. Let's do that. And then the moment you start wavering. Everybody gets in on the. And you find you have a lot of mature it doesn't work. So what you've got to do as a director is very be very firm as to what you want.
SPEAKER: M1
You've got to have a thick skin as a director. You've got to be ruthless.
SPEAKER: M4
And I physically I've known a director who couldn't make up his mind for example he arrive on the set and say well okay lay the tracks down here and up and we'll do that and then he's had breakfast. And then after he's felt better he's got up and said Oh sorry I shouldn't do it. He's got off and he said. I don't want do that I want the track to go that way. That instant you got a rebellious unit who wasted all his time doing that. All he had to do was to say OK light it let's shoot a quick tape and then he could go on to next that it was over here. The same director who should be nameless but I'd just be working with did this on the present film. He had this set up and then suddenly he decided he wanted to do it on the other side of the river and the cameraman said to me the other day when we were going he said that's the C.Y. had the big blow up I thought if he wants to do that then we don't get this film on the air. You have to be considered in many ways. I also saw a situation one evening we'd been having a very long day and we'd been using this house at Ardmore in the basement as all sorts of sets a cave on in Room a governor's office a prison prison cells. And the director said well after dinner I want to do the meeting between the villain and the and the informer and we'll do in the corridor but it's got to be the current of the governor's place. So the artefact worked through the dinner hour changing the prison corridor into the governor's corridor and cover that did everything he comes back to dealer says no I think I'll shoot it inside the office here and you realise these people we work in their work themselves to friends are absent doing a set and the director wasn't gonna use it. And that is unfortunate total area under matting and very I would say very stupid. Yes well there is.
SPEAKER: M3
I love him dearly anyway but he really did you know over the years you presume redone Hodson of directing sequences U.S. unit.
SPEAKER: M4
Yes. Yes but I think if you aren't the director of the film I mean as a second unit director you're not you either way you a very important way but you're unimportant when Aki McNaughton let me remember is the second unit director on Bondi Junction for George Koo call. He did some most remarkable shots of trains across the Indian countryside and people were the site. FLATOW wonderful. I'll cue. Wonderful. And finally somebody went to him and said he will not just do such clever shots because Cuzco is getting very annoyed. You his. He was jailed without a space. He was a devotee and it was jealous. Mm well equally I had a scene which in that film about television the director had commissioned me to do all these shots of the points of view of the television sets. We got all these things to put on the television set. Nowadays we've met them I suppose in those days we would we put them on film and we back projected them onto the back of a dummy set. And he said I want a shot from here. H is point of view here is one of you had a shot list that was fine. Okay great. I was a little green I suppose in those days and I did not realise that you learn certain rules. And I had a very very experienced cameraman working with me who was actually the head of the camera department and he did not say a word. The next day we had 90 minutes of my rushes all of which are unusable. He said I knew it was gonna be no good bloody camera but he did not tell me that you have to shoot on a straight line to the TV screen. Otherwise the image is not the image is doesn't it doesn't show that doesn't show at all. Well I know you see a bit of it but you don't see at all. And he didn't bother to help me one little bit. So I've had a great distrust the cameraman ever since. Likewise David Lean was an editor turned could and senior director on a film called Major Barbara and he was given the job of doing the second you shots or a montage at the undersheriff munition factory and he was given this cameraman called Freddy young and Freddy Young did not think anything of this upstart editor. And they had a very nasty time together with the result that David they never wanted to have anything do with Freddy young until they found themselves together on. On Lawrence of Arabia success. That's an interesting story. I never you that before losing you I don't know the whether it's actually true. That's what I was told. I didn't realise that David Lane was involved in Major Barbara. Oh yes. Yes seconded director Charles friend was the editor but Pascal was credited as the director.
SPEAKER: M7
He directed it himself and yeah we were a second unit director. I see. Yeah. Oh yeah. Oh right. Cause that's right. Because he'd edited Pygmalion hadn't he which was the film before David Lena then yes certainly. Yes. News Asquith Yes. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M4
Yeah I would've thought it was the ratings have been asked with yours related to the beautiful film which it's never seen these days called French without tears. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M2
With Ray Milan they were talking about that the other day in French without tears just cause we got the top page of the script. That's right. A copy of with a lot of signatures on top was trying to decipher them.
SPEAKER: M3
And Ellen Drew's signature she was the split leading lady.
SPEAKER: M4
There was some wonderful things in those days I remember of a film that Carole read made that nobody ever remembers now called Climbing high. Oh yes. The hell was that. And Sonny Hale. Mm hmm. There was a knock about company it was so funny. And I remember there was one film I was talking about that. Bridge transport to somebody there and I said I remember one shot vividly this girl is a custard pie comedy scene and this girl opens a door and suddenly two custard pies land on her chest.
SPEAKER: M6
And I said Yeah. Said I threw the one to the right and then that would that be Ken Fairbairn and somewhere that was Ken fair. Yes I said I tell you how we did it we had to throw at the opposite chest otherwise it wouldn't work. I had to say this way hit the floor that way too high. Yes.
SPEAKER: M4
I thought Ken was just a quiet little documented director until he suddenly said that he was an actor and he went into a soft shoe dance which was absolutely brilliant.
SPEAKER: M2
He he rocked with George on the George Formby films he went to Basil Dean. Yeah. And he did it and he was. He also went to Hollywood I think at one point did he. I dunno whether he actually worked they certainly had a tour of Hollywood.
SPEAKER: M7
Ken lives done in King's rich very arthritic is completely arthritic. No no he he can only move with the greatest difficulty but he's still I've talked to on the telephone occasion he sounds fine. I had a so I should kill one not so long ago. I had a call from Richard Kilborn. You must have been some time ago.
SPEAKER: M4
Oh he's died. Well maybe it was ten years ago.
SPEAKER: M2
Well he died about a year and a half two years ago because I had a letter from Eileen I died somebody told me he died very bad.
SPEAKER: M7
Parkinson was that only Aileen. I mean the Lilia telephone offer.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes you mean married. Yeah. And they lived out in Vancouver. Yes he called me from Vancouver over something months.
SPEAKER: M5
I mean interesting said well to wrap up my career yes I can't think that I would have changed very much. I would like to have worked on a few more successful films.
SPEAKER: M2
But you can never guarantee you start every film with the highest hopes and I thought you worked on quite a number of successful films over the years.
SPEAKER: M5
Well a lot of a lot of films which nobody remembers except they do appear on TV all the time.
SPEAKER: M2
I had a lot of fun on all the more I suppose from that point of view I suppose man in the white suit is still your most famous film.
SPEAKER: M7
It's the one that people remember most. It must've been others since then but I mean that's the one that springs to mind immediately Yes my point of view but you can't dine out forever on a film that old unfortunately sort of come back into its own again I mean I've forgotten for years wasn't it.
SPEAKER: M1
And it's only when you get to the sort of fiftieth anniversary of things or 40 years or whatever it is.
SPEAKER: M4
I was I was working at CBS and there was a guy directing a film in New York and his editor just fall out and so post-production chief said to him I got somebody here do the job for you and the. So he's to me and said you know he's editing films like The Man in the white suit. And I heard the man screaming in New York couldn't have edited that film No Way. Really. That's what I realized it had to come off my resume.
SPEAKER: M2
I wonder is I suppose to the cost of is to do with what you're cable are doing now is the. I mean rather than New York.
SPEAKER: M4
When I joined an agency I listed amongst the films I went to mentioned and the secretary called me back a few hours later when she was typing Ah shit man the white suits that he's out of film or television film and so you can't win.
SPEAKER: M2
It's rather like when I said I'd worked with John Grierson and Chet replied I didn't he used to work at Humphries which I thought was rather good remark.
SPEAKER: M4
Well I had a conversation with a guy who was running British Film Academy back in the 70s five or so just for a level 77. He was saying you know yours of interesting names I was in Burma with somebody with a group. He said yes he was a decent and interesting name he said and there was another editor back in the 40s with your name too.
SPEAKER: M6
I'm not really I well yeah that's me.
SPEAKER: M4
So anyway there it is there it is.
SPEAKER: M7
So carry on working I would say and carry on editing.
SPEAKER: M4
Well I should continue now. Now that I've come across. Linear non-linear editing so when suddenly all the possibilities I would love to go on for another 50 years doing likewise I'm happy I won't. But it's very exciting very exciting.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes.
SPEAKER: M2
Well maybe I should say maybe I should take her have a week's course into how to work it but they use her going back to what we were saying earlier. Well I know I could do it actually I could certainly go I should go tried to do it a week. Give me a week. Yes. And then I'd be available and I think I shoot my I'd I'd shoot something myself which I would edit on like work in any trouble is it's real expensive you need to raise a lot of money.
SPEAKER: M4
I mean the possible visit Opus so enormous that I. It's opened a complete new door to editing as far as I'm concerned. I try so much more experimenting.
SPEAKER: M2
Do you find that there are other editors but editor friends who are of like mind feel the same as you about it.
SPEAKER: M4
Yes yes. Anybody who. Well I know that's not actually true. And Coats was forced to do Congo like works and hated every minute of it now. And you know apparently she her mind set is against it. I understand John Simpson's mindset is totally against it but really. Everybody else I've spoken to who has been introduced to it has fallen in love with it.
SPEAKER: M2
Of course the young Editor's note is sort of growing up in a world of electronics and that you naturally expect to do it.
SPEAKER: M4
Well I like the girl is working for me and my assistant knows she has no knowledge of film whatsoever. Never till I've met the other day ever touched a piece of film in her life. In fact we we have a movie arrow in the corridor which we really really now again to look at matte shots and things from Jesse when they bring film along. She doesn't know how to handle the movie. What's that for you. Well okay it's bound to happen. Yes. Oh yes of course. In fact on my last show I had some IP sent to me for some reason for my stock house some labor shots and I had no facilities in this building at all to handle film and I had to look at it. I didn't know what to do with it because I was going to get it dirty if I put it down. I hadn't any bins or anything and it's very strange when you haven't got the facilities to do it.
SPEAKER: F2
Mm hmm.
SPEAKER: M1
Well I thank you very much for allowing me to. Well thank you. Talk about the great areas what it's really good. And it shows an awful lot. Lots more to talk about your other guests maybe. Maybe we should say this is the time being anyway I should have brought my resumé and the kind of films I got to do in the middle period as you say.
SPEAKER: M2
What we could do is what we got when we got the copies. We can let you have. We can send you copies whether they are still open or back in L.A. I've got your address.
SPEAKER: M3
I and always send you there how many other three three cassette to free tapes three tapes. Yeah well we could send you if you're interested. Yes I expect them. Indeed. Your your members of your family ability to hear what you would been doing over the years.
SPEAKER: F3
And that's the end of the interview. Folks.

End of Side 6

Biographical

Bernard Gribble (15 May 1927 – 15 September 2004) was a British film editor who, between 1948 and 2003, worked on nearly a hundred theatrical and made-for-TV films. They included:

  • Another Shore (1948) - Gribble's first credit as editor.
  • The Man in the White Suit (1951)
  • Clue of the Twisted Candle (1960)
  • Marriage of Convenience (1960)
  • Man at the Carlton Tower (1961)
  • The Jokers (1967)
  • The Games (1970)
  • Death Wish (1974)
  • Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (1969)
  • Top Secret! (1984)
  • Blind Obsession (2001) - Gribble's last feature film credit.

Gribble was nominated for ACE Eddie Awards for the editing of two episodes of the television miniseries Ellis Island (1984), and he had been nominated for an Emmy for the television miniseries The Winds of War (1983). A founding member of the Guild of British Film and Television Editors, Gribble had been elected to membership in the American Cinema Editors after he moved to Hollywood to work.