Gerry Fisher

Forename/s: 
Gerry
Family name: 
Fisher
Work area/craft/role: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
303
Interview Date(s): 
19 Oct 1993
Interviewer/s: 
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
255

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behp0303-gerry-fisher-summary

 

SIDE ONE

Born 1926 at 12 Waterloo Road. Family moved around the Greater London area, educated various places. After leaving technical college got a job (war time) with Kodak, making the F7 reconnaissance camera used by the Royal Air Force. Later called up into the Navy, didn’t want to take the statutory 6 months work; his father happened to meet Bert Mason who was [?] from that point on in 1946 he worked for the Alliance Group (Riverside, Southall and Twickenham). These all eventually closed down. He then went to work for Wesses making documentaries.

 

SIDE TWO

His career continues from Focus Puller to Operator, working with Pennington-Richards [BEHP Interview 122], Bob Day, Ted Scaife and John Wilcox. He then moved to MGM working for Jack Hildyard, [Interview 29] Peter Newbrook [Interview 374] and Freddie Young [Interview 4]. He worked with David Lean on The Bridge over the River Kwai, with Ossie Morris [Interviews 9 and 689] etc.

SIDE THREE

Still working as Camera Operator: Suddenly Last Summer, The Millionairess; Road to Hong Kong; The Yellow Rolls Royce; Cleopatra, Modesty Blaise, Casino Royale. Joseph Losey got a message through to him whilst he was working in Ireland, asked him to read the script of Accident. He read the script, talked to Losey over the phone and was told he had the job to light the film; since that time, he has never looked back. He talks about working with Losey, also the time when Michael Winner thought he might be able to use Fisher. A very funny story about Liz Taylor, and a conversation Gerry had with Rouben Mamoulian when he was directing Cleopatra.

SIDE FOUR

His career continues. He talks about working with Billy Wilder on Fedora, John Huston with Escape to Victory, Ned Kelly with Tony Richardson and working with Sydney Lumet.

SIDE FIVE

Sydney Lumet continued, etc.,

 SIDE SIX

Shooting Commercials.

[END]

Transcript

BEHP transcript Disclaimer

This transcript has been produced automatically using Otter, https://get.otter.ai/interview-transcription/.

It provides a basic, but unverified or proofread transcript of the interview. Therefore, the British Entertainment History Project (BEHP) accepts no liability for any misinterpretation of the content of this interview.

However, the BEHP wants to make every effort to improve the quality of these transcripts and would welcome any voluntary offers to proof read this and/or other interviews. If you want to help, please contact BEHP Secretary,  sue.malden@btinternet.com.

Alan Lawson  0:05  
The copyright of this recording is vested in the back to history project. Jerry Fisher, lighting camera man, interviewers, Adam Lawson, with Sid Wilson, recorded on the 19th of October 1993. side one first and foremost, when and where were you born?

Gerry Fisher  0:44  
I was born in London. Now is an odd thing here because I was actually born, I just recently made a copy of my birth certificate person for something. And I was born I think it was number 12 Waterloo road. Now Waterloo road at that time, there were houses on the as it were the bridgehead leading up to the passage over the river. And number 12, although we left I left there before I was old enough to remember because we left there when I was two and a half or something like that. So I don't remember a thing about except that I know from conversations afterwards that the shop tower the Waterloo shot was but the bet behind the house I was born in. And as far as I can get as far as I can judge. I think I was born where the Festival Hall cinema is today. What year was that? 1926 19. And I actually did a programme once the cinema the you know, the festival did our kinda festival the British cinematographers and I ran some films there. And I found myself standing on this stage and thinking about stuff. You know, I was born almost where I'm standing now talking to people about films. Isn't that. So funny thing. Anyway, that was it. We then moved from to housed and after that, where I do have early memories about when I was once I had I had nasal diphtheria, goodness knows where I got that from that I did. fairly rare. But I can remember being locked up in the sort of front room and not being out and wondering why these men with white coats are coming in the front door. I found out they were coming in to get me to take me off the isolation isolation board. And that was a strange experience. So I'm very vivid experience because I can remember images of it like I can remember the doors at the end of the ward had to round windows in. And sometimes I would look at those doors. And my mother and father's faces would be framed in those windows. They weren't allowed in. And they would go like this. And I would look away because I didn't they never came to see me. They weren't allowed to come in contact. There were two nurses, both of whose name was Williams one was very nice. The other one was not so nice. Although I'm sure she was doing her job well because my family sent into me a little metal garage for toy cars, you see. And inside was a bar of Cadbury's chocolate, and the nasty word nurse Williams came in and she confiscated my presumably I wasn't allowed chocolate. He said but I mean that really was sort of like the end of the world. But as I was concerned, I can remember that very clearly. I can also remember going back when they finally after whatever period was I know some weeks I suppose. They came to me one day and then I was taken out of this award. And they were in another room and I met my mother and father after first the first time after all this time and I couldn't understand it of course and they took me off we went to a park and Stephens in the sand on the bench and to let me run around let me eat I suppose show me I was free again, you know, but I didn't run around and then it gave me a little toy tram. I wish I had it now is disappeared. Some it was it was you know the old fashioned tram and metal model toy. I got the tram. And I wasn't sure where I'd got the tram. And I was expecting I suppose in my mind to go back into this. This place that I've been in all this time. And anyway, I didn't go back in there and I finished up going home and I thought what am I now you know? And it wasn't I think until they put me to bed that night. Then I cried. Because it was then I knew I was back. Up until then I was scared stiff. I was back into the hospital again. No but very strong memories. What about schooling. schooling, I started off going to various schools started. I mean, I didn't want to go to school, my mother took me to school, when the time came for four, or whatever it was four or five in housing. And she couldn't get me in the school, I got out of the railings, and

I wouldn't go, you see. So those days, they were placement on the beat, and one policeman came by, and he sort of stood up, and I'm in the middle, looking at this looming figure with his hand behind him. And she said, Why, and he says, Come along with me. And then he took my hand, and I can remember walking towards these dark green doors. And they were ahead of me, and this basement was next to me. And I thought I can't escape, you know, you had to respect law that you see, not like today, you've knocked his helmet off. Now, I suppose I'd probably be bigger than him today. Anyway, he took me towards these doors, and I can see these doors coming up, like there were sort of in front of me and I can remember reaching him and I remember the opening. And then I can't remember anything after that at all, you know, it's all that was what I remember that was stuck in my mind, but I don't remember inside or anything of that, of course, I went through a normal schooling and moved again, because our family moved from there to handle. And we spent on our sorry, we went to Hayes and, and then I went to a school there, elementary school, and went through there for some time, which is when, curiously enough on one of those school holidays is I really, I supposed, diverted myself in the direction of photography. Because what happened was, those days we used to get long summer holidays, you know, eight weeks or something. And it was always I can remember it always being wonderful weather and going off. And I used to lie in fields and I would get this heady atmosphere of the air near the ground being humid and full of fall, the sort of pollen and, and noises of field mice and things like this. And I can remember looking up at the sky through these waving, sometimes, like, I'd go on the wheat field or something like that. And a lot of that came out in later years. So it's memorising the way the boy in the room but in the, in the go between. and I drew a lot on my, my boy had experiences for that feeling of sun and light and heat and rain, and just the joy of being a boy, you know. And during this same period, they were building a couple of houses and at the end of the road, and I was fascinated by these guys working on building these houses, they had wooden scaffolding up and they were always sort of like one God be carrying bricks up the ladder to the bricklayer, he had this heart on his shoulder, you know, with full of bricks and a lot of activity and it was a fascinating thing to watch those stand and watch him. And there must have been about half a dozen on building these two houses. And one day, I was standing watching them and then one of them said to me said want to make yourself useful. So I said, Oh yeah, so he said, well go down the corner shop, go and buy a packet of Lipton tea, quarter pound. He said put that back on the stove. So it was some water in it on the on the stove and they had a little bonfire you know, little pieces of wood there smashing up probably they would they should have built the houses but but and he said go and get a packet of Lipton tea up there and put that back on the stove. So I went up, he gave me the money. He trusted me with the money. I suppose it was about six months up I go to this little corner shop buy my packet of Lipton tea go back. And he just come down from the carrying up a handful of bricks because he was forever labour even knocking up the cement and stuff like that. His hands are all sort of, you know the workman real workman's hands, and he's fold out a cigarette out of his Woodbine out of his pocket. And he lit the barn with the match. blew out the match. And he put the match on the top of the water of the bucket that was on this far. And he said, watch that. He said when that starts to bubble when that starts to move, put in the T and give us a call. Yeah, so I might go you know what this is mysterious thing I've got to do here and even when I'm sat down sort of route of I'm watching this order like it like it's the greatest thing ever. And then what I did start to move on in this little match. I'm watching it. It's sort of grad it's not Enough swimming slowly around worried throw it in with the little burned end on it, you know and everything. And

eventually it started the bubble. So I put all the tea and sturdy he gave me a stick. He said I stoke the stick. I started with a stick called Quarter Pounder, the back end of them in the galvanised bucket. Alright. So I put it in, like a makeover. And they said, right, and all they all came down off the scaffolding, left what they were doing, came down and sat with a little little shed there. They said it was a nice day. So I was sitting outside. And they wanted these little memo cups. And they said, well, not bad. Not bad. Drop a tree kit. No, you ain't good tea. So I thought I was so pleased, I was so proud, then, you know, having achieved this miracle of making a tea in a bucket. Anyway, I did that for a bit for most of that week. But at the end of the week, they all collapse together. And they gave me six months. No, for me, you know, I was like a dog with two tails. But what I did with six months was that I went to Woolworths where it's you know, it was always six months for each part. And wool was heard then we're selling a camera in three parts, which you could buy the back for six months. And the front and the lens assembly were considered two parts that were joined together. And they were actually shinning. So I had to buy the back. Which I did with my six months. I had this backwards a little to read windows in you know, designed for this thing. It was a vest pocket camera 127 film. And I had the All I had was the back of a camera, you know, which I think had the viewfinder bit in it as well. I'm not sure if it No, no, I think that was in the front. A little, just a little simple metal clip up frame, you know. Anyway, I had that. And of course, I had to wait for another week, which I was again making my tea hoping I'd get my six minutes and by chance and uncle had visited and he'd given me six months as well. So now went and bought the other two halves of the two thirds of the camera. And I now and the camera. For the first time, we've all been completely on my own thing. And now of course I was had to buy film and I had to find a way to do that, which I suppose it wasn't a lot of money then but it was a lot for me. And so when I finally did get my first film, I was itching to put it through the camera. Now when I put it in, of course, there's these little magical windows with these little hands pointing is for you to wind until you came to number one. And then having taken number one long as you remember the one done you wouldn't get double exposure, but of course you you did inevitably get and my sister I was taking pictures of her in the garden, my mother and my father, she was taking pictures of me of all ever all sorts of like, the way they would be not properly framed my socks around my ankles, you know, my hair wasn't combed, I was a real ragamuffin kinda I don't know what happened to his britches there somewhere. And that's what really started me off in photography, because I then just couldn't afford to have them like had the negatives developed. But I couldn't see them the right way around because I couldn't afford the print. But I discovered the mechanical PRP printing out paper and which you put in sunlight found in a junk shop an old sort of frame that I could put the little clip back frame and you just put it in the sunlight for about half an hour. And then you had an image on there which if you put in salt water, fix it and I had all those little reddish brown to the sepia contact prints of my one my best pocket 127 film. And that started me off because I went on for years being always you know mad about photography, but never ever gave a thought to actually working in photography. I'd never that never occurred to me. Didn't you know I regard it as an area that was you didn't get you know, you couldn't get into really I didn't have any way I could. So I used to sort of save my money and buy a better camera and so on and I finished making my own in larger because by the time I went later to other schools nearby moved to Hamill and went to a county school there. And then actually on September the third 1939 which was the morning that the war was declared my sister and I bicycle over to our new home we were just moving to which was a haze in and I got a scholarship to go to Bishop Ellington which is only a very good school. I got a free free scholarship to go there. But again, we moved from Hayes end to handle. And we finished that with my going to Oh, sorry, no, we moved not from his into him. We moved from Hasan to Watford and

Watford. I went to work for technical college, which was the equivalent of a secondary school with the scholarship I had. So I now I was moving in the direction of technical school and I was into engineering, drawing and maths and trigonometry. I used to like trigonometry, it was my one of my enjoyment. So I like that. But I decided, we're now coming up to sort of like the war was up. And of course, I was waiting till I was old enough to go into the forces. And that's my dream. My ambition was to go into the forces, which I went, I wanted to go into the Navy wanted to go into the fleet era. And But meanwhile, of course, I left school because there was such an emphasis on wartime economy and more time. You know, there was the What do they What do they call it, the labour rules, the controls, there was everything like that. So when I was 15, I left before the official leaving time, you could opt to leave early and I will do when I was 15. I left and went into a local engineering firm and and because I'd had some engineering training training at technical college, I was able to get a job on a lathe. And I made parts for a microscope. I've gotten the name of the company now. It was quite well known at the time. But I left there after a while and I finished up codec world Hara, Hara. And Kodak at herro put me to work in what was then a new a completely new offshoot of what time operated offshoot, which was not in Kazakh Hara main works at all. But near near Harrow on the hill, there was this secondary factory where they were building parts for a camera called the F seven, which was a mechanical reconnaissance camera which they used to put in mosquitoes and things like that and fly over doing reconnaissance stuff, it was just sort of like about a took a picture about 10 inches wide on a roll, you know, and the rolling was quite a complex thing and then it was called the f7 because the lens was f seven and it was about a 1520 inch lens and very long. They had this great aluminium casting to hold the lens. From there I went in the Navy I went into the Navy on December the 20th on 22nd nothing December the 22nd or 23rd in 1943 which was just nice because it was just before Christmas, it was freezing. I washed 4000 plates on Christmas day as a duty with one of those awful Steam Machine things. And now of course I was in trading went from my early

trading in Warrington to do my squats were bashing as it were and

all the discipline of being in one of the forces. Meanwhile, I had volunteered to go in the Fleet Air Arm and wanted to go in stream to become a pilot you know, naval pilot. And eventually after some months after moving around from from Warrington to sort of scape das and then through Devonport and various things I went before the Admiralty selection board. But the the weekend that I went to the take the Admiralty selection board I saw in the Devonport itself, there was a sort of a sudden arrival of about 400 white headed sailors you say and the white hat was was what you wore out of England. That was a tropical? Yeah. Oh, in this case, they hadn't been all from America. You Were they'd been training to become pilots. And because of the state then of the the training programme, they had actually cancelled the programme on 400 these Naval Air pilots and air I was going into to do that, and I thought that was probably the best chance at that. So anyway, because there wasn't, nobody got they didn't need any more pilots at that particular time, but they did recommend me to become a Naval Air gunner, which at that time was a very high risk area, you know, you were observer, neighbourly again. So you're in the back of a small fish or something like that with big gloves on, as you're finished up with. But anyway, that never came to any fruition and I volunteered to go into special services, which was combined ops. And I found myself now we're going to burst Alden brown in Southampton, where I was put onto a landing craft base, maintaining as an electrician I went for a six week course Bedford and lived at a civilian billet. And the name of the family that I went to I was just by arbitrary been one week, we lined up at the station to get allocated houses. The petty officer would say, right to have you and I had a chap I'd met dress recently, and we said, okay, and we got on the thing and they dumped us outside a house and that we go and like we said, where your bullet the woman, Robin was at the door. name was Fisher. There was a letter on the on the mental piece that said to miss Mr. Fisher, you see, and I thought, Wait a minute. I was grabbing it right. That was so we had two little rooms in this house. We had a ride out time there. We took these courses both of us passed. And I found myself now further on going to what now I can Moody's boatyard in bezeled. And then on the river Hamble where it was all sorts of scrapes Of course, with being given jobs, I mean, you have to go out in the cold morning in our frost on the boats go out to where the landing craft for more than one of them would have travelled with a ventilator fan which was practically inaccessible. And it was rusted and corroded. Somehow he had to get it out. I mean, he's to do those things and take it back and service it you know. So that was quite fun. But that was right on top of the time when in fact the D day landings were made and we were in as it were waiting for a second wave had the first one not been successful. Anyway, the first one was successful the second wave never went. So those landing craft over actually saw action. And I can remember you know, the all the things you were talking about the head Canvas tops, it was landing craft assault. And I can remember, you know, and we were talking about what you'd have to do if you know if the if the doors got hit by a mine at the front and what you're doing overseas. Oh, just get your knife and you cut the canvas. So the size of the squad is can get out through through these all kind of unreal, sort of you know, heroic kind of situations. You changing. Oh, okay. Sir, can you rate I stayed in there. And of course now the war did in fact end in Germany eventually. And we're now where I now get two weeks leave Well, two weeks leave was foreign leave. That was definitely. So now I knew I was on my way to the Far East. And of course a bit that housing would have started up again, but then in Grafton, all that stuff.

But I went home on the two weeks or even during the time I was on my two weeks leave. The news came out that they dropped the atom bomb on Japan. And so my two weeks leave didn't result in my having to go to the Far East. And so some some months later out of that, of course, I was demobbed in 1946 having done that, I now had digressed a bit because what I although I said I worked in codec, I had also worked prior to that in dehavilland in chicken talk design office, no at least. And there was a chicken tool design office drawing office which I was sort of like a lowly assistant, but they used to give me all the sort of trigonometrical problems to work out because I was good at that. And you know, I would be able to kind of calculate did the you know measurements between two holes which needed to be referred back to a datum line so they can make a jig and I now had in fact, an opportunity to go back to the Hamptons, which I didn't want to do. So I floundered around for a bit looking for jobs and I was about to take a job as a sort of mini cab driver what was best described as a mini cab driver taxi service. When my father who as I mentioned earlier was an active buyer now he was a repertory actor. He didn't it wasn't all his life that he was a clerk for up until the war but in the war, he went into answer and came out of vencer having done the Far East with my mother too. She went as wardrobe visitors. We found ourselves but Alright, so now so now I was D mobbed a strange period of one's life where I think you felt as uncomfortable as you locked in your D mob suit. My father though, because he had been now been in rebid gone to Aldershot rep, I think it was. And he knew a man whose name is Mason, who used to run a theatrical critic magazine. And just by chance, because I was still, I was still in fact, so interested in photography that by now, with my little bit of engineering knowledge, I'd built my own in larger vertical and larger in that my family house at that time. Whereas I'd taken over the bathroom, it was blacked out permanently, the bath he couldn't have without, without my permitting it because I'd taken the door of the airing cupboard and put on top of the bath. And I'd screwed a piece of bath towel in rail, vertically on the wall and built myself an enlarger with a little bit of engineering knowledge, made it all buying In fact, I remember buying a camera which was an exact a camera and the reason I bought it is because the lens unscrewed I could use in my larger that I'd built. So I was now doing prints, for friends and for people and in amongst all of this, I hadn't settled down to sort of this newfound idea of being at peace with presumably having to find something to do with your life. And my father met this man Mason. And mentioned I suppose that I was keen on photography, I used to take pictures of life friends, or their girlfriends, you know, glamour things. And my thought I took pictures of my father who we put outside, you know, put outside the theatre in older shop portraits. So he mentioned it to Mason, and he said, Well, that'd be interested in going to a film studio. And costs I was and the reason he was able to do that was that his son was called Bert Mason. And Bert Mason was an operator at Riverside studios at that time. So I got an intro there to go and visit. And because I was visiting the film studio, I took along my sort of portfolio of pictures I'd taken and develop myself and all that stuff. Hoping that somebody I could persuade somebody to look at it, you see. And of course, the stills man did. And I was orientated towards stills, because I've never even given a thought I had couldn't, of course, I mean, cinema photography was really out of my reach at that time, or you could have would be sort of 9.5 or 16 and 16 was horrendously expensive, and quite out of my reach. So I never even kind of go gave any thought or energy towards that. And I used to be a step solely into still but I used to make up all my own chemistry

because again, I didn't have the money to buy the or to have my film developed professionally. I used to buy the the blues chemicals. I used to buy a pair of green, I mean dye amin and all the stuff and I made my own balance scales. To measure the quantities I bought in a junk shop. The little weights, you know, the grammes and grammes and things. So I can measure out the staff. My big problem was temperature control, because, as you know, but we had a house that had no heating and to get the heating into the bathroom was impossible. So what I used to do, I had a biscuit with a 40 watt bulb in undermind developing tray. And I had the thermometer lying in it, which was an ordinary clinical forum. I used to sort of look at that and switch the bowel button and when it got to the right temperature, I develop my pictures, you know, so it was all fun, but it was all kind of like into that. But now I get finished up going into this Riverside studios and about no i did look at the studios and the thought that must be great working in that I was really thinking about maybe I could get into becoming a press photographer or something like that. When I had kind of like it to be admitted myself at photography was really the thing I'd like to make use of. And by complete chance, the cloud, the loader at Riverside studios was a young boy, about 70 lady. And because there was conscription, and he was called up, and they called me and they said, most I interested in this job. And I was the course and I went, and now I found myself loading at Riverside, I had about a week learning how to do it from this boy's gonna leave go in the army. And I became the central loader, as it were, there was more than one production there at the time. So I had to sort of service more than one picture, load, the film, taking on the set, and so on, keep the stock accounts and all that stuff. And it was quite fascinating. But I can remember how little I knew about what was happening, because you will always say that you had a sense of having joined something rather important, you know, filmmaking and everybody in filmmaking was also sort of exalted as for that band felt one joined a kind of new family as it were. And I remember going on the set and auto Hanna was lighting. And gas dress was the operator and Bob Davis assistant, and there was lighting a street scene, brother. With a police car on the set, I always thought that was strange, never see a car inside the, you know, a studio. And there were lights everywhere all over the place and everything else. And of course, the next day, they had rushes. I wasn't allowed to go into rushes. But of course, I'd crept up the back stairs and out of wherever the projection is. And he let me look through the window. rushes and to my astonishment, this scene whether there are all these lights on the day before was in fact, a night scene didn't mean it is no I thought that I thought was very strange. I understand that it would seem to be so bright on the set. So my first little education about what happens with light and film began right there. Can you remember the name of the film? No, I can't. We're just trying to think about it.

Alan Lawson  32:27  
Well, we bound to find it.

Gerry Fisher  32:28  
Yes. Yes. I started to do some second unit. Things I went on to location. There was a picture called they made me a fugitive, Trevor Howard was in. I went to Devon and john winbot was the operator I think, no, he was gonna focus on I was the loader. And we got snowed in and Tavistock. It was that awful winter 47. And it just, I mean, we couldn't get out of the town The town was completely cut off for two days with no roads in or out no railing, right other you know, it was just completely and utterly silent. There were drifts, you could just see about two feet that the telegraph poles out the top of the snow going off that was but that's how you knew there was a road there only by that and there's like 14 foot of snow. The ponies were in the we're in the town of Tavistock off, the more tougher shelter came in nothing more, which they do. And that was rather strange, weird and very cold. But that was one of the little things I did and I also went on second Sunday let me do a second camera somewhere down London docks with Gunther cramp for somebody like this and I go down with a Newman Sinclair was allowed to sort of upgrade it told no focus you don't focus load the magazines and do the focus and act and also remember going out with a Newman Sinclair with Gunther cramp. And we did various shots where he would begin you know, like one of these huge bollards you know, with a rope going up to a ship all these black shapes and shiny water and he would take the camera and sort of cut down and he would because he'd nothing he'd done a lot of documentary work he sort of picked up the camera and he moved the lens set set the aperture of course move that and usually had a 23 a or a 72 filter on because it was all very very bright or hard contrasty black sky you know kind of thing they were looking for. And I remember when he went to look through the camera and start to shoot I remember looking at the lens and it was on three feet and I thought that's not right, you know? So I've moved it to where, where I thought it should be which like 20 feet or something because I could see there was a ball out 15 feet away and the ship beyond that. And over there, you know, obviously about f 11 or something like that. So I thought, well, I wonder why keep putting it on three feet anyway. I just kept moving it back because I thought it had to do with focus. So I'm going to do the focus said anything to her. And about lunchtime, we stopped for a break and we went into a cafe made a cup of tea and a sandwich or something and he sat there with a camera and he looking at the camera and all of a sudden he went white and he said, Oh my God. And I said, What's wrong? I said, why he said this lens? I said, What's wrong with it? It's marked in feet. So I said yes or no. So he said, I thought it was marked in yards. Because that you step press photographers, I mean they used to use Newman Sinclair's newsreel, and they were Martinez event marketing feed. They have like three four or five yards at present. And he'd put it on three yards he thought you see and because he put it on three feet and I said I said well up and moving it back I said I wonder why he kept putting I've been putting it back. Oh he says you're such a good boy. So I survived that one. funny things

Alan Lawson  36:33  
by surprise going to cram for using a new one

Gerry Fisher  36:37  
debri man Oh yes, but you see, well we did use degrees because we had degrees at Riverside studios when I first went there and I can remember going on there one day and we really took the replacement magazine on and as you know debris was sideloading and inside take up on the opposite side. And rather a nice move. I mean a miracle that movement are so beautifully made. I mean it shouldn't have worked at all really but it was so beautifully made it it did I mean I love the way when you undid it everything detached everything came and hooked all the drive to the shatter and everything else but it all went back and clicked in and worked in a mazing hammer I could still lace one up I'm sure and anyway we Alfie Hicks was the Pope was the focus put on the film I was servicing at that time and I took him on the new magazine took the old one away gave him the new empty take up which he laced up quickly there was a bit of a hurry there was always considered to be a sort of interruption of the actor's concentration to have to reload you know they're always accusing of using short ends when in fact you you weren't it always seemed like that to them because it was the days of when you took many many takes to get this director's perfection and when we finished the loading slammed the sides of the camera back and everything else. I took off the to unload finished takeout magazine and then I went back on the set and I said to Alfie I said delfy he said what I said have you shot anything yet so he said oh yeah, we've done three more tasers done now so I said well not there with this piece of furniture was the lid of the takeout magazine so he so he said half so we we picked up the camera you see off the thing while we're both while they were moving setups took the camera off the velocity later and walked sort of somewhat mixture of bravado and sheepish ness of off the set the loading room to to unload this to get to the it was alright. Nothing happened to it because the camera was like dice you see. But that's that's not unknown that situation I think other people have had that happen to them in the spur of the moment you forget to put it on.

Can you remember what we were paid? Oh, yes, I think it was about six pounds 10 overtime to get overtime. I think you could get overtime. Yes, if it was authorised, often you didn't have it authorised. And in fact, I had problems because I lived at Watford, I had to get Riverside and that was not an easy journey. And sometimes when the winter was on everything, I actually stayed in the studio and I used to sort of try and find a dressing room somewhere and sleep on a couch. Because it was a it was very difficult and may if we had these fogs and things that we had to spend hours and hours trying to get back here. So I didn't know what to do it but I was able to find All of the security people whoever it was they knew me and never worried me. Just used to find myself somewhere just asleep and then get up the morning feeling awful and go and have a cup of tea across Hammersmith Broadway somewhere you know

Alan Lawson  40:18  
what studios left to work in actually

Gerry Fisher  40:22  
Well, that was he worked there before the war but they never did well that did he say that group was was the actor actually called the Alliance group and that was consisted of Riverside, South old and Twickenham. Now, you might, in fact, I did once go to do something, tweaking them as part of my job being reassigned, so we got to go over tricking them. They need a second camera over there two days like that. So I knew about Twickenham and also knew about cell phone. But of course Riverside actually closed when they did move me over to South Hall. And I did work on one or two pictures at South Hall. They Marios MP comes to mind. I don't know what that were what they would have been up in doing that. And then of course South Auckland, just tricking them stayed open. And I was now kind of like, more or less thrown into a freelance situation, which of course was quite tricky because I was part of a studio which didn't exist. And I wrote to a dead M and I wrote to Pinewood I wrote all these places and MGM and trying to get into one of those studios and wasn't having much luck. But was offered the documentary that Wessex we're doing in Dalrymple's, the producer of Wessex farms, and they were doing a series of films called

one of the one I worked on was with Humphrey Jennings, it was called the eye of the beholder.

And we went up to Norfolk, and we shot with him and kind of romantic documentary, black and white, of course. And that led to my being sent with Wessex, again to Germany, and Switzerland. 1949, I suppose this would have been with the European aid recovery films, part of the Marshall Plan, they were doing whole series of films. Can I stop? You say, yeah, go back. And

Alan Lawson  42:44  
how did you find working with hydrogenics?

Gerry Fisher  42:48  
Oh, well, I mean, he was to me a kind of like, some icon of a kind of a, of a, an intellectual, who I had no idea what was, what was his mind? It was all very creepy, because I felt I didn't know what was going on, you know? You mean his feet when on the ground? Or your your Well, I mean, I was still, as it were. Still untrained in the sense that I had my I hadn't yet absorbed any of the kind of

systems we use to change one's attitude, what you're doing to me, it was mechanical. I was like, looking at the camera. And I was looking at the film, and I was looking at the, you know, the hill, I had to climb up carrying this because I just have to carry everything, of course, and the tripod on the head and all that, but I was sort of concentrating on the wrong thing. Really. Yeah. So when it came to the unit had to get to do things that were, quite frankly, you didn't have any idea why you did them? What it meant, because he hadn't learned it. It's rather like I suppose being as Amir's it later happened to me, where you're thrown on the beach, in Spain, and you hear Spanish recent fishermen talking and you don't know what they're saying. Your brain doesn't sort it out quickly. And I was in that situation. I was learning a language. But I still didn't know the first word I didn't know the verbs, etc. No, that's fine. I mean, I knew superficially entities, but I really didn't know anything about the conceptual thing of, of how, why you do things, and what changes the result of what you do because of your approach. And, to me, it was kind of like more mechanical, which course subsequently landed. It just isn't like the head. At all. Let mechanical knowledge you have is only useful if you have somewhere to direct it. Everything I've ever learned as useful to me even going to dancing classes is useful to me because I remember I used to get a dancing classes during the war. And I was sort of like 16 1515, I suppose. But the very fact that I went to dancing classes and was able to sort of manoeuvre around a dance floor without hitting it, the other people dancing, you learn the sort of technique of, of using space. And I can remember vividly that being extremely useful to me, when I used to do handheld camera work on a crowded room, I could actually manoeuvre myself in the space that was becoming available the next second, I actually did that. And I thought it's only because I went and learned to dance. And that became useful to me as a camera operator, you know? And so everything you ever learn is useful to really. But anyway, at that point, I hadn't learned enough.

Alan Lawson  46:00  
Where six What were you? What were you doing what was actually your job?

Gerry Fisher  46:04  
I was I was focused

Alan Lawson  0:14  
Jerry Fisher, signed to you were you were you on with were six you were?

Gerry Fisher  0:21  
Yes, I went I went and did this rather involved documentary. It was actually based on the our subject was transport. And we went all over Europe. During the recovery. It was the European recovery. Part of the Marshall Plan was to sort of film how Europe was recovering from the war in 1949. And we went to places in Germany like Duisburg and Hamburg and places like that and lubeck where they'd had a lot of, obviously, we're still reconstructing I can remember Hamburg railway yard was sort of just full of rocketed bombed out locomotives, and few trains coming back. And the caravan was Jonah Jones. Oh, yes. And he was always known as I Dan target, because Jonah Jones had had, he did have that as his credit that they do. He had worked with the CIA and made a film called target for tonight. General, we said I'd done target. Then Harris was the operator. And the director was a woman was Kay manda. And the production manager was also a woman called Deborah Cheshire. And john didn't get on all that well with with the idea, I think, basically ever a woman director. And nevertheless, he, he did his job pretty well, of course, and we functioned very well. We went to all over Switzerland, we went over the passes, and we photographed the new roads being built the tunnels and the trains and we were up early in the morning and back late and driving long distances. And one night we found ourselves in Duisburg. And it was General voices to sort of used to kind of drink lemonade, or some fizzy drink, but he didn't like the fizziness. So used to shake it. And then release it slowly so gas would come out. But he tried this one night. And actually, the Duisburg a half hotel restaurant, which is right opposite the Opera House. And it was a big busy night where everybody actually was coming out from the Opera House, and a sort of an interval and never coming in for coffee and things like this. We were sitting in there and Janos shook up this bottle of lemonade. And unknown to him. Of course, it was very lively. And he couldn't, his thumb didn't hold it. And it went up in a huge stream and went straight down the back of a rather large gentleman lady is sitting at the next table. And the husband was sort of like a typical Prussian with a sort of shaven head was quite upset by this and Jonah Hill, very embarrassed. I mean, we all laughed because we evacuated from them went back to the hotel. And in the way there was a bar and then the bar the hotel came and I was there with Deborah chesson. She said, No, we're gonna have to drink so it's our lager or whatever it was, we were drinking. And she said, What are you gonna have to drink? Jonah says Genesis. No, thank you, Kay. Because he was still smarting from this experience. He knew if he had another bottle about we were given some stick about this bit lemonade. So she said, Come on, Jonah. Don't be like that. How about have a drink? So I said, No, thank you, Kay, I won't have anything here. I'm gonna go to bed. So she said, Jonas, he said, there are times she said, When if I were a man, I'd hit you. So he said, Okay. He said, If you were a man, it hit you long ago. got nothing to do with making movies, of course. But it's still things that you remember. They are funny things that

Alan Lawson  4:31  
were roughly where are we in time now and

Gerry Fisher  4:33  
what we're still 9049 Yeah. And at least I think it's 49,000,048 I can't really separate these that easily enough. But also in 94. Nine, I came back and having worked for websites that were six on this thing for the Marshall recovery of the European recovery programme and all those documents and they must exist somewhere. But there's a lot of people had a lot of people did them. Multiple crews going out of the place. And in fact, I think Humphrey Jennings was killed on one doing one. In Greece, he fell off a rock. And so I now went back and West x, we're going to do a picture called the wooden horse. Which those that I could do as focus, you see, because I done my focus with the Monday. That's what I did. So I went onto the wooden horse and went to Germany with Paddington Richards, who was the cameraman, Bob de was the operator. And they worked now for still as a freelance, of course, I wasn't employed by Studio. I'm in LA, it was out of Pinewood. I was working for several months. I think we went to Shepperton studios actually to finish it. And while I was at Shepperton, I became known by the Shepperton camera department

Unknown Speaker  6:09  
who ran the development there

Gerry Fisher  6:12  
would have been Bonnie Chadwick and the studio manager was Lou Thornburg. And because I was there on the wooden horse and was there for the system at Shabbat, and was that you? The camera department had all the cameras in cupboards and you were sort of allocated a camera to work with. Each assistant had his own cameras. And I had nc 213. And it followed up that had the end of the wooden horse loose on that and said, we're gonna take on a couple of focus systems and would you like to be one of them, you get a contract for sort of like five years with the six monthly option. So I said, Oh, yeah, of course I did. And I joined and I was put with Bob day. Up there and Ted Scaife started to do pictures like Mr. Denning drives, Northen. Oh, that was with john Wilcox. That's right, I've moved around a little bit, there was john Wilcox for a while, then Netscape. And that's where I really began to learn more about this. As more as Moses, I mean, I was really sort of close to

the actual business of making movies. So I did stay there, right through for a number of years, until the point I became very bored, really, with,

with doing what I did, because it was it didn't seem to be leading me anywhere. I was useful in that capacity as a focus. And it was clear to me that I would never automatically get advancement to operate because whenever they started a new film, they didn't want to go through the process of a taking a chance on me as an operator and be replacing me as a focus puller. So I was just, as it were known in that capacity. But there wasn't an advancement in those days, every camera man was was clearly established. And every picture that was made was made by one of the cameraman of the day they weren't. Unlike today, when you know, it's completely different to

Alan Lawson  8:33  
that. The Can I ask you about the faith, you know, pull focus? Did you find it? At first, it's quite a difficult thing. To do full focus.

Gerry Fisher  8:51  
Yes. It's quite difficult in some ways, except that I have very, very fortunate in the sense that I have got a very good I had and still have a very good judgement of distance. And it got to the point where I didn't need to measure things didn't need the tape. And I one of the reasons for that was that, well, I wasn't really kind of like consciously doing it. But what I would do, before I measured something, I would always decide how far it was. And then I would measure it. And if it wasn't exactly what I measured, I would go back and look at it again and say why did I think it was that instead of what it is? And the result of that was I could actually sit down and like I actually won bets on this you know when not bets but I remember sitting I did a picture called appointment in London again with Pennington rigid. a follow up to the wooden horse presumably about that period. And duck Hickox was nice sistent director, and we stayed in the hotel in the lobby of the hotel, we sat there and he said, You can't do that. Tell me you can do this. I said, Yes. Again, I said, I'll tell you what I said, I have a bet with you how far away? You are from me. And he'd say, all right, I said, if you get it within an inch, are by the drinks. So we sent a tape and we sat down, he said, I was at many. And I said, You're seven feet, two and a half. And we measured it, and it was seven feet, two and a half. And so he said, Oh, that was a fluke that I said, No, right, the new over there. nine foot seven is nine feet six. And eventually, you know, you just it's, it's an you have two eyes, that's what they do for you. They tell you how far things away. Yeah, you know, I mean, for instance, I'm always saying this for people that if you get up in the night, and you want to put on the light switch, you you your hand goes to the light switch, you know where it is, so you have a sense of space. Also, if you have something in front of you that you want to touch, you know whether you can touch it without leaning forward or not. That means you know how far away it is. So it's actually translating that into physical terms. It's just purely a matter of application. Because everybody knows that that's further away than that. But what they don't know is that that's seven feet two, and that one's nine foot six, that's that's the difference. It's just the refining of that, that ability that you all have. So that's, that's how I got through and I did pictures sometimes. I mean, I didn't measure all day, because I knew what, first of all, quite often, then the setups were tended to be kind of like, a certain size. Therefore, if you did, if you had a scene in which you shot, as you often did with a sort of 32 millimetre lens, and you had like a full length figure, then that would be like 15 feet away. I mean, it would always be 15 feet away, because that was the size Yeah. You had a normal person. I mean, it was different it was somebody's eight foot door, but normal people normal setup full length figure would be like 15 feet that that and if it was sort of the then the classical plan American as the French say, if it was a waste figure, it would then be six feet. So if the if the operator got the blue font or the light line that with the director and stood there and put the actors there, you knew it was 60 secret, and you only just at a glance at it, say oh yeah, it is. Sometimes it be five foot nine for some reason or other a girl is smaller or something like that. Or it could be six weeks three, if it was a third person with a varying height and they just wanted you know, everything kind of has a as a sense of order about it then, so I didn't find it difficult in the end of that day, you know, I found it quite easy in the end, and I used to sort of that's it. That's really

Unknown Speaker  13:09  
where you were born.

Gerry Fisher  13:10  
Yes, it was of course it was. Although I didn't really expect to get to be an operator. I thought operating was so difficult. I didn't think I'd ever be able to do it.

Unknown Speaker  13:19  
When do you have when you did happen?

Gerry Fisher  13:22  
Well, I've I've had worked on I went eventually got to MGM worked on a picture of it. Now I was a freelance. I'd left Shepperton, I went to MGM. And the first picture I did, there was Anastasia I wasn't working for MGM, but it was a freelance agent. Anastasia and jack Hilliard was Karima Peter newbook was the operator. And Anatole litvak was the director. And arising out of that now began to work on films with jack jack Hilda, Peter and Bentley came up at the same time I'd met now less smart and knew the now the MGM camera department as it were. And jack, two things happened. One was Freddy Young was going to do a picture called heaven those Mr. Ellison and they wanted a second camera to go to the west in Islam or somewhere when you had no it was it was Caribbean. I know where they shot it. And less Bart said message you want to you want to put your name down for that. Operator, second camera. So I said, What is the I don't know? I don't know Freddie young. They said Oh, he said, you know, she said, Yeah, maybe that'll work anyway, probably Yeah. I actually did ask me to go and do a second camera operator on Heaven Knows Mr. Allison. And jack said to me, Well, you got to do what you want to do. He said but he said to you I'm going to do a picture of David lean Bridge on the River Kwai. And I want you to do it with me. Let's focus. He said, Now, I can't promise you that I give you the job as an operator. He said, But when the if the situation comes up where you can do it, so I will, I will give you the job as operator. So now I'm in the Cliff's stick because les Matt is saying to me, well, there's your opportunity. Why don't you take it? Why are you hesitating? He said, You won't get another chance. So I thought he could be right. Anyway, they bad lartey I sort of said, I got to go with jack. So I did. I went to Savannah, we went reserve acquired I spent a long time there, of course. But during that, during that time, Columbia who were doing the finance we got very upset at one point because we had been like, and it was a long scheduled pitcher, we had six weeks pre production where we did a lot of the river stuff and jungle stuff. And suddenly, after shooting for like three months with the main actors out came the heavy gang from Colombia, you know, saying David lean. We've got to do something about this because the picture has been four months now in production and the way we're going on, it's gonna be cost it's gonna cost 1,000,001 million pounds. Big deal. You know, those days that was a lot. So I said you got to form a second unit. And get somebody to do a second unit to do stuff that you don't need to do with the main unit. So David's response to that was to be late the next day on the set because he said they kept me up too late last night dog.

And Eddie right, they did find the former second unit, but that meant, in fact, Peter newbook went to do the second unit as it goes the camera man. And that left an opening for me to be the operator on the first unit, which I did for about six weeks. So I've now worked with David lens, the first unit operator and our two assistants were sort of upgraded. We had two guys with us. And I survived that. But having done that I wasn't now an operator with any credit because I didn't part of the picture. So when I came back from there, because we were they were using Columbia we're doing another picture called the key without Mrs. Another Ibbotson and I was asked to do it as focus because I had had first hand knowledge of the combined cinema scope lenses that we'd used on Bridge on the River Kwai. So I went to do that the key was rather strange because the key was the last picture I actually bought focus on and it's also the last picture that are the rivets and operated on because he became a cameraman following that. On the horse's mouth I think it was and I went to become operator with jack going out to do a picture called the journey to Vienna. And I'm now doing with lit vacher not the operating job so now I had done the stage with lit back had done the journey of the loop breakers operator. Some years later. I was involved in in conversations it didn't get done not this money got damaged a different way. Lit that was going to do a picture called a ski bum and I was going to photograph it and I really thought that would have been kind of neat because I would then work with one director in three cities the Royal Valley right I did the preparation went to do we went to Geneva and places like that. But I didn't then butcher the picture never got made it was gonna be with Peter Oh tall and he finished up not doing it. They sold the story somewhere and it was I think it was john Daly was involved with it.

Alan Lawson  19:35  
I'd like to go back to the quiet talk talking about David lean working with David lean. It worked for us what you said about the second unit rang a bell when because I did an interview with Paddy Kerry and he told us about David lean hated seven units. What was he like to work with? As far as you were concerned? Or Didn't you really get? Oh, well,

Gerry Fisher  20:05  
yes, I mean, I mean, he was he was very, very organised as to how the picture was going to be not organising in storyboard form, but he, every time he got to a situation, where he had to make use of a number of things, the actors, the, the elements, that the how he would go out into the jungle into things, he would sort of take time to study everything, and he would, what he would do would be exactly right for that film. And he wouldn't be shooting much more than was necessary for that film. But he would arrive at it fairly laborious Lee, in the sense that he didn't shoot something just off the cuff. It was all designed. And he'd kind of like a remote man in the sense that he, you couldn't sort of talk to him when he was in his sort of process of, of analysing all the elements, he became very concentrated and very distant in a sense. But nevertheless, you know, you have to admire his work, because he was an absolutely true director, as well as directing our movie. I mean, everything that happened in that movie, including elegant as His performance was actually dictated by David Lee. And so there was no accident that that and subsequent pictures had the quality they had, because he had that, that ability to do that. But it was very much an individual process, and therefore you never got close to him. Because he didn't have time to get close to you. He wasn't there for that he was there to make his his vision of the movie. And it meant that everything had become his vision that there was there was involved. Did he accept suggestions are told you? Oh, yes, yes, he did. In fact, one of my first taser, now, sort of we were doing a thing, which is sort of what we call the pool, there was a waterfall in a pool. And that disturbed Japanese patrol, and they wiped them out. Shocked and bad, you know, there was a gunfight, and they destroyed them. And we had the shot where the they came out, this is the jack Hawkins and but him Holden, come out from the top of the pool and looked down. And we pan down to the pool, which had the bladder. And, David, I can't remember which way round it was. David said, we start here and we we pan down to the water, which has now got all his blood on it. And I said, Oh, we could start on the water and pan up to find me. He said, That's better. And so go from the result to the perpetrators, rather than the other way around. And he did it that way. And that was one, you know, my first realisation that he would accept things like that. So you were very well designed as far as what what you were expected to do. But obviously, when you're operating, you are continually having to make instant decisions about whether you do or don't move that way or this way, at that exact moment. And how you frame is very much a part of the storytelling, medium, but

Alan Lawson  24:06  
an operator's relationship with David would be very different to an operator's relationship, say with Joe lozi. Or Oh, yeah, he's other people.

Gerry Fisher  24:14  
Oh, yes. Because Chelsea didn't. He worked quite a different way. I was just going to take a break for a second. Okay. Are

Unknown Speaker  24:22  
we going?

Gerry Fisher  24:25  
Yes, I haven't come back to the I don't know what year we're talking about, quite honestly, without looking at some some films we've

Unknown Speaker  24:33  
seen fine.

Gerry Fisher  24:34  
Yes. Because I was working at Shepperton and doing pictures like the Green Bay and I think and the ringer kippa to farthings. And that came this picture to one of those gorter had this idea of shooting pictures, which were kind of subjects that were almost like rewritten. plays theatrical subjects, he had an idea of doing them for television, really. And they were to be done in 13 days shooting, which was revolutionary. The idea of that then was done no. Good. Yeah, going completely the other way. So we did set up and do two or three of these one was, the first one was home at seven. And actually, Max green began it. decided he would achieve. We had things like, we could have two cameras, that the actress could rehearse a scene.

My mind's racing here, because there are so many different little stories, but one of them was at the head of the sound department. JACK Cox, john Cox, john Cox, john Cox, john Cox. Cox was Karen, john john Cox had been involved with this with various what must have been executive meetings about how they would achieve this concept of shooting pitches in 13 days. And one of the things that john Cutts said was, Well, one of the problems is going to be with the actors or moving around a set for like 10 minutes, the focus are not going to be able to remember all the distances. Of course, it would have to come from better does that sound department that there be a problem with the focus you see? So they said, Well, what can we do? And I said, Well, I've got an idea about that. He said, I've got this idea I'd like to put into motion. And apparently now we suddenly were presented with this idea, which was under the camera. And under rotating disc was a box. With a lens on the front, a lamp inside, it was like a little spotlight. And inside that the back of the lens, there were three little pieces of mirror, which could be angled differently. The effect of this was that shine a spot of light on the floor. And you could set these for distances, yourself, have a spot in the floor, six feet away, another 110 feet away, and another 115 20 feet away, see? So john Cox said, as long as we're shooting the photos, we'll be able to see how far away people are all throughout a 10 minute take, which is exactly what we wanted to course. So they said you've got to do tests with this. So we said why do we want to do tests we know you know, we know six feet minutes and 50 Oh, yeah, well, it's been no this is the thinking of installing these on the cameras at the same time, they did have a system of a little wedge put into the magazine where you could switch on a camera and it would be synced sync mark, you go on the sound and cameras simultaneously, so you didn't have to have a clapper board. So your actors could physically walk out of one room and another camera waiting in there for like three four or five minutes could switch on and the other camera could switch off and you would have the whole continuous action. So we now had to do tests or the first thing I did of course was to arrange for an armchair to be in front of the camera and sure enough when we paint across the spots of light all across the back of the armchair when these bots are live see which photograph goes because they that was near to the sauce so that this was a while maybe it's not such a good idea that was thrown in the cupboard at Shepherd in my camera cabinet it was put in there and later on years later we use that spotlight actually on a crane hanging vertically down so on a big dance floor seen the grip could make a little tiny mark on the floor and you're going to arrive exactly over it because of this spotlight coming down so it did have a you know it didn't have a purpose but it didn't work quite the way that it was envisaged and it was driven from the head but Bowden cables so it it plan left and right as the head which meant you couldn't go down low either it was on the velocimeter and you're supposed to stay keep it one height and now second thing was on home at seven the other can contribution everybody was was I suppose it was it was sort of like a think tank everybody was said well what can we do to change the way we make pictures to make it possible to make them in 1513 days you know. So max green decided that his The only way he will be able to light a scene but could go on for that length of time would be to use indirect light. Which of course we all use now quite a component of what I do is indirect or is this funny enough and never seem to use When they early pitches I remember shooting we always cinema you see them now, we always had the old basher under the camera or over the camera, which was the the light that was fairly then if somebody got near to a wall, you'd see this big shadow up behind them on the wall. Nobody ever use bounced light, nobody ever used it. I never saw anybody use bounce light. It just happened by accident sometimes. And now I suppose I didn't realise what they were doing. Because if you had a white set, for example, you would have inevitably have quite a large amount of reflective light. But by and large, everything was direct light, everything was controlled direct light.

Max decided he wouldn't do that. So we had this set, which is a composite set comprising a living room and a lounge just staircase a whole front door. So the act active action could be continuous. And he had hung the set is a sort of like a conventional 1011 foot set above that he had panels of white, while ceiling panels lifted above the set of an angle and outside the set, because you couldn't have lamp inside the set, as the camera would eventually see 360 degrees. He lit the set from outside by putting 10 guys five guys onto these panels, which directed down into the set. Well, in theory that worked, all right, except that it was it was a total light, indirect, and therefore it was, you know, it just didn't look like a film was used to be looking, you know, at least looking at a quarter we shot the first day. And God I didn't like it. And the one to start ratio the second day and the 13 days schedule. The second day they restarted on the first day's work. And at the end of the second day still didn't like it. Even though max tried to make a recovery, but I suppose he was so thrown by it that he obviously couldn't. So jack Hilliard took over the picture. And I at that time, had been working with jack and because I was an assistant that share button. I went with him. And so we did do the picture. And we did do ADHD in the remaining days available to which is quite remarkable. I thought at any rate, part of that was that quarter himself used to come on the set. Now he wasn't the designated director because Ralph Richardson was designated the director. That's because some technicality that quarter was at that time and undischarged bankrupt, so therefore he couldn't be doing something efficiently. But he used to walk on. He didn't come at sort of eight o'clock in the morning, he would come like at 10 when everything was he would walk on it had tremendous presence. I mean, he would walk down the corridor and it'd be the entourage but whole studio had behind him, you know, the studio manager and the construction manager, everybody all following down this corridor. And he took a delight corridor into sort of dominating people and also keeping them guessing as to whether or not he was serious, if you see. So he would walk on the set. And we'd have the shuttle lined up. We were in a group we're in a sort of a on a track at the back of the hall. Somebody came in the front door, they walked down and went in to the room and going past the stairs. And we backed up with him and went into the thing and Cora came up and he thought he said have you ever heard this? So he said yes. I said you're ready to shoot. So he said yes. He said, What lens do you have on? So Bob de he was the operator said 32 Mr. Carter? I think it was a Mr. nausea, sir. Madam minister. So he's 32 so it was a Mitchell It was a turret land. And God said, put on the 50 that was that was his way in which he could dominate. I mean, never looked through the camera. Didn't know what the shop was, but he just said, I don't know 50 so now I had to undo the front pad, the mesh the lens I had the Rotate the turret reversed and 50 Bob was sweating because then we had to recalibrate that and that that moment quarter said you ever rehearsed it. So he said yes. He said we should. And that meant you didn't get a rehearsal with as a 50. He already had the rehearsal with those do and that was quite important. Anyway. We did that and we kind of like breathe a sigh of relief and he went off the set and said okay, you boys, I think I can leave you boys to do the next thing. We carried on doing whatever else we were doing. floundering around. But we're still shooting. The following day. We came in and Bob day was terrified of God, I must say so fast because I was really bothered by less than lose. And Bob data. And quarter came on. morning, everybody. We have a totally different situation. He said, What lens do you have on? So before he could say anything? Sure, Bob could say cuz Bob knew that we actually had on a fifth.

Because it was something I'm seeing we were doing taking somebody across and nothing random. So before Bob can answer I said, 32. He said, Put on a 50. So I opened the front of the camera. I closed it and said, ready. And he knew he is he called a new that had pulled he called his bluff. And you know what? I saw the size of his eyes crinkled up. He loved it. He thought that was very funny. He really thought that was funny. I mean, the bob day was was white. He thought I was in that position. He was fine. I was fine. It was about but nothing happened to that at all. It was just it's just sheer devil. But it goes on and inspirational, presumably because I got away with it. And then of course, he used to watch me reload. I could, I could reload very quick, quickly. And he said what he said, he said I couldn't do that. So I said now I said, but probably some things you could do like he kind of was was fun, as well as being an ogre. And the sense of being totally, you know, the total guard of the studio, I mean, really, now he brought up the result was different, because at that same period of time, roughly. We did a remake of drums, drums along the route for feathers. But really, they've been on location, too. The back to Egypt to Africa, somebody I believe I wasn't on that. But when they came back in the studio,

I had to go into a second camera one day. At that time, I'd finished whatever picture I was on. And I was now in the camera department.

just maintaining my camera and so on. And I suddenly got a call from the stage they said, Oh, you've got to go on takeover on stage from, I think it was Tony ballsbridge I think was the system because he's sick. So you've got to go on that set. And it was it was kind of legendary that result in who wasn't really the director because Terence Young was officially the director, again, that was another one of those. But he used to have these little canes, and when he used to get annoyed or to make a point he would break a cane on something, you know, almost almost on somebody that not never quite somebody was always on something close to somebody. And they always got the feeling that he meant to do it on them, you know, and the break these little switch games. And so he was notorious for that and throwing these rages on the set. And the other thing they said whatever you do, if you go on his set, don't whistle because he can't bear that was when I was standing outside the county park which is right opposite the entrance to a stage where they were shooting and going onto a stage because they used to take the tea trolley on a stage and we'd go on there to get out tea. So I said, Oh no, I'm gonna get a cup of tea. They said, Well, whatever you do, don't whistle. Well, I said, Oh, really. And I immediately began to whistle in the corridor, and I whistled my way onto a stage, who did I meet coming out through the door resulting coder who looked at me like that, but he didn't recognise me. And whatever he was going to do, he didn't stop and admonished me for wrestling or to give me the you know, to bring me up up to date with it. So I wouldn't got my cup of tea and slunk off. I've immediately run out, they'll run out the other door, you know, back into the camera department laid low and assumed that I'd got away with it to see making this little gesture of defiance, no dog whistle. So now Several days later, I get this call. I've got to go on do a takeover because Tony Partridge is sick, so you got to go under set. On I go. And of course during the few minutes that followed the system directors at old Zelda and this is Jerry Fisher. He's taking over from Bose because he's sick. Okay. And he didn't. He kind of looked at me and neath in a way which meant a kind of neat TV in thought he knew what he had seen me before but nothing was said So now I've worked and been on there for about a week, 10 days. And by chance, I myself at that time had a grumbling appendix. And I was in line and waiting for some time when they could fit me in to have this dealt with, you know, have it operated on, which is quite quick, actually. But that was what I was waiting waiting for. And sure enough, after being on this thing for about 10 days, like it was john Bremner was the system. I got the call, and I had them to myself, and I had to take the option not to go there. No, I'd miss it. You see, so I went to Cameron. I said, I'm sorry, I've got to go. I've got this thing is the thing. The doctor, I've got to go, in my opinion, which I did. Apparently, on the set the next morning, the night that I left. I came on because now they'd had to replace me. And Brenda had to go through this same routine. He had to say, Mr. Porter, this is so and so is taking over from Jerry. So he said, What is wrong with Jerry? So they said, almost a quarter. He's he's had an appendix problem for some time. And he's just come up, he can have it fixed. Now. Those revenues appendix removed. Aha. So he's here so he's sick. So you see, so I said, so called, I said, I know I DC. I know why he's sick. It's not because he has an appendix. So he said, misgender, as I said, he said, No, it's because he whistles

theory with God's. Now let's get here. Yes, going back forward to operate. So now I've done my first picture, though, which was the journey and which I discovered I could in fact, operate and enjoyed it and became very heavily involved with it and was very suddenly I kind of everything started to fall into place, things that I had learned without realising I had learned and judgement and you know, decision about how to do things and when to allow for more time spent on careful arrangements. And when it was meaningless. You know, this was quite a difficult thing to learn, actually, some people say, but I can remember not knowing it from spending a long time arranging all the bottles on the shelf behind the barman in a bar, you know, to my satisfaction, so having sort of written yet and I remember years later, I remember seeing the shop. It was rescreened somewhere. And I think, what the hell did I do that for? I mean, that didn't mean a bloody thing. That didn't contribute anything. But I was convinced I was doing something positive, you know. So you have to lose some of that. At the same time, you don't lose it entirely. You still do make important decision, but you've got to see them much. You've got to see them quickly. And you've got to really readily realise whether or not they're valid or not the decisions that you take, because you can get misled with this great train set of this ability to do things. But of course, you have to find that out by learning the language as it were.

Alan Lawson  43:30  
But you're almost I mean, we're not in competition with the lighting cameraman because you're not

Gerry Fisher  43:36  
in competition with him. But I was unaware of what he was doing. Yes. I didn't have I never really looked at the lighting as something. Again. I wasn't actively trying to learn lighting. I was busy operating.

Alan Lawson  43:56  
But you're working very much closer with the director. And

Gerry Fisher  43:59  
I was because that was a system that some operators do. And others don't. I mean, America suddenly is rare. Oh, in America, an operator only executes a shop. Nine times out of 10 there are very few operators in America that would be capable of constructing a sequence, you know, a series of moves or moves, or a movement or a plan for a scene. Very few. And in America, the directors have the habit really of constructing that with the DP and then the operator does it and they do it exquisitely Well, yeah, I mean, they're very skilled. But they you say to them, to do it themselves, so they wouldn't know how to do it themselves. They've been subdued and they've been prevented from doing themselves and they've been turned into execute as rather than, you know, designers. Now I was in that category that quite a number of English offers. writers are in at any one time, where you have learned enough to be able to sort of decide how to plan, a sequence and how to plan your movements and your editing and you learn. It's not just a case of every shot, being kind of like a tricky shot. It's knowing when it's important to have a tricky shot and when to allow the the scene itself take precedence and of course, that's a tricky balance. So it's difficult to even describe it but it just happens that when you see a thing, it's something tells you but it'd be your experience tells you what would be the most advantageous way to make all the points of the scene, including using the camera to do that.

Alan Lawson  45:56  
It's really enlarging runs with cameras and it really

Gerry Fisher  45:59  
absolutely yes, you're using another term

Alan Lawson  0:05  
Jerry Fisher, side three.

Gerry Fisher  0:09  
Okay, well, we've arrived at the point where, after those all those years as a focus system, I did finally get to be an operator. And because that was a whole new horizon opened, because none of the things, I suppose you really would make you a good focus puller would necessarily make you a good operator. But some of the things I've been the discipline certainly, and the attention and the ability to be able to concentrate to the exclusivity of everything else, were very important. And I became the kind of operator which, who was totally committed towards the camera work as far as it be serving, as I've just explained, as part of the way to amplify the story points. Now, my operating was mostly with with jack Hilliard, starting off with the journey, and then going on from there. And I remember doing Sunday last summer, which was Joe Bank of its Elizabeth Taylor Montgomery Clift. And I can also remember being a bit of a pain in the neck at that time, because we had a set on Sunday last summer, which was a house has been designed by another missile and the garden was being was done by Constance Spry and it was all you know, it was all kind of very highfalutin. But in this set, you probably remember there was I was an elevator with a personal elevator which Katharine Hepburn and mother of course, Sebastian, came down from above. And her voice came down first and followed by her. She made this sort of wonderful appearance in the set coming down this elevator. And it was a real elevator because strategy into the set. And there was a provided for in the planning that by the Friday of that week, we would have shot the scene of her coming down in the elevator, and there was a shot to get, which was like her point of view of the others looking up, namely Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift looking up at her coming down with the dialogue over both scenes, and are locked in this elevator and got up in the elevator myself. And it was very small. It was like two feet by two feet. Very tiny. But enough for one person to get into. So I said what, because what they planned was on the Friday night we would finish shooting the downstairs part over Saturday and Sunday, they would rip the set out and the elevator out to get the the transatlantic crane in to get the POV coming down of her point of view. And I said why are we doing that? Why don't I get in the elevator with a with an aeroflex? Well, first of all, I'd say no, because let me get in the elevator. I'll handhold the shot. They said there isn't room for a tripod in there. I said no, I just said I'll handhold it. So I said but it won't be steady. I said yes it will are braced my elbows against the side. It'll be steady. And they said, but we won't have the sound for this sound because you got to take this out from gunshot anyway. So they said this is a feature, you know. So, this is Joe and jack. I knew I kept on You see, I kept digging him and rancour, but sit down with jack for Christ's sake. Let's let him try it for God's sake. You know, we just did do it anyway. So but try it otherwise, you'd never leave us alone. So but they said all right. You've got you've got one take right at 530 on Friday night let's not do to finish so it was just enough time for me to say prove I got in there and of course I had to go in there with the battery node focus was set anyway. Bye brace myself against the side and down became an up man. There was Montgomery and lisabeth looking up as we're coming down. So I had one take. And they said right okay, that's all that's all you're gonna get. That's it for this. I said okay. Now, they were still scheduled

to take the set apart on the Saturday. unbeknown to me, though, Mankiewicz who was up in town, I think we were developing at Humphreys, I'm not sure.

Any rate. He without my name, went to the lab and the next morning early and saw this shot, and he rang the studio before 830 He says, Don't take the set apart. leave it as it is. So when we came back in on the Monday There was a set still there was no crane now that. So I knew then you see that that shattered work. But it's in the film, of course. I was a real pain in the neck that day. So you have to, sometimes you have to sort of assert one's opinions, because otherwise Time stands still, you know, there's always the sort of the cop out, you know, there's always the week, this is what we do here. This is where we do on an MGM film. And we used to get this at Pinewood when you want something in the stores, and you'd say, well, we went for the set and they say, Take your time. That's not the way we do it. You know, that's the way they did it. That's the way if you went there, you had to accept and I suppose I've never willingly accepted everything well, now of course, I know the value of the important things. So anyway, going on from from there, I just locked here because I got list. Suddenly, Last summer I did the Millionaire's Sundowners robbed Hong Kong, that was funny. got in trouble on that one as well. I think it must have been a bit of a pain in the neck, as you just said, because I'm read the Hong Kong norm and Panama was the director. Now he was associated with a guy called Melvin Frank. They had made started out in radio shows actually. And they were orientated, particularly Norman, around words rather than visuals, visuals. And Norman found it to be distracting if at any one point you did a kind of a master shot in which you then cut in you had to cut in because being and Bob Hope would have at least three or four different improvisational jokes, some of which would were topical, some of which might become topical. And they wanted to cut in for that purpose. But what normally couldn't stand was anything moving in the background. And so we would have to stop the action. We'd have a thing like an airport, where everybody's coming in and they're walking across and they go to the customs and the whole background is full of choreographed assistant director material. People with baggage carts and all this and families and people hugging and going off and getting their going out the door and all that. And when we came in bond to them, and they all had to stop, everything had to stop. Nothing was move, because Norman said it's distracting. Alright, so the Oh fantastic. He was operating. So now it did transpire that he had to go off for some reason. And we had to line up a shot in which the, our boys, you know, being in Bob are trapped in this underworld, of which the Mad sort of criminal is running this and Robert Morley is running this underworld universe. And they've been they've been captured by at least six stuntman, big six feet by six feet by four stump. And they look at each other and they say they're trapped in this sort of cavernous tunnelled underground place. And they said, Well, what do we do now? So perhaps as well, we'll have to do pattycake Well, everybody knew what predicate was, because they've done it before on other films, it was another reprise of that really, which they just did predicate predicate with their hands. And on the payoff line, you know, they stamped both that they spent on the fate of these guys, but one and they all all these guys simultaneously, had to pick out one foot and hop around on the other, but as though they had been stamped on but there was only two above and being and there were six guys so I thought one stamping gonna do it. So Alright, the joke works if you don't see what happened, so I thought, I thought so I lined it up. And Norman comes back and says, Ah, let's see what you've got. So I showed him and he said,

why he said this, you don't see their feet? I said, No, I'm not seeing their feet. So he said, Why aren't you seeing their feet? I said Why? I said because I don't think it's funny you see their feet because you can see they're not stamping on their feet. always got to see their feet It ain't funny if you don't see their feet. So I said well the infant if you do see their feet pictured he says Nana gotta do it gotta pull back so I said okay Pollock error about your the director pull her back so they don't they patently don't stand on

stamp on three of these guys who still do the same reaction. Which I thought I mean, how is that better? I tried to explain I said no, if you've got a close up of a guard essentially box Nice he's

coming out of the Present arms and money goes bang down with the last thing you see the rug he goes all like that you believe is robbers, guys, what do you need to see him falling? Now you got to see their feet. Alright. So we see his feet. And he's got away with that. Now the next thing we do is Robert Morley at a kind of a on a Dyess elevated slightly above the others, and he says Welcome, gentlemen to my universe, my world, whatever it is, and he goes off and goes over to them. And this shot because it was mostly because he wanted it that way. It was like waist size, which I did pan over to the others. And there was a little bit of dialogue. And then Norman sort of, Okay, how was that? Fun? Okay, so Okay, let's print that. I said, Now, I said, See, now what do we do? What do we do next? I said, Well, I said, now we've got a pen Robert Marley's legs over. I said, how's that? So I said, Well, I said, You've just seen his top half go over, but you haven't seen his bottom

half go. I was getting back You see, to my I see, I've just seen his top half go, but Jim seems Bob apphia so

now Surely, you've got to do a shot of taking his legs over to them and he said, Oh, really, you know, everybody everybody behind him looking at me was saying Shut up.

Sorry, he kind of I finally realised but I mean it to him it was quite clear that it wasn't about visuals. It was about something else. And of course he's right to a point because I mean, nobody would have gone to see that picture because I operated it though a lot of people go to see it because Bob Hope and Bing Crosby really no matter what they do. So there's something to be learned from that. So that's that one. Now we got that from beyond that I go on. Oh, I did a picture capture picture then with Tony Asquith. Of course. One One was a millionaire and the other one after that was cool. Finished that being called guns of darkness. It was started off being called act of mercy. Tech born I think it was, it was a warner picture. Related care on David never. And bit when the picture was finally released, jack Warner decided because I just had a big success. He thought act of mercy was it was about I thought of a wounded president of a republic where there'd been a revolution trying to escape. And these people getting involved. And jack Warner when he saw the film thought it was a bit weak. So he said, we've got to call it it's going to be called guns of darkness. And I think he was hoping that a lot of people would think it was guns have never Roni and go and see it because of that. And he probably was right. Being a showman. any rate, he finished up being called guns of darkness. Then, then I went to do some pictures in Spain that Bronston 55 days at Peking was one and circus world was another an in between I did the VIPs with with Esquith and I did night must fall with Carol rice. Did ganza atassi with john guillemin Yola, Rolls Royce again with Asquith and then with Prime Minister did a picture called Bonney lake that was rather funny Bonney Lake because parameters as a well known kind of Hellraiser director, wouldn't it he was notorious for sort of having no compunction about telling people that they, you know, to get off of whatever and leave and everything else, the cameraman bashing, it will only have two points. And up to a point he no he didn't. He always left me alone. I mean, he didn't have any problem with him, although he sustained that Tim occasionally notably once when we were shooting in Westbourne Grove. We were doing a scene with Laurence Olivier, who was the sort of detective and behind the bar, they had a television set and there was black and white and it was actually 16 mil backprojection by Charlie Snapple as I say, you did it that got us more. And it was the the news reportage of this missing child was part of the story. And we had a big crowd like two or 300 people all all our own crowd, of course, not a natural crowd. And it was noisy. And Dennis coop was the lighting cameraman and he used to come and look through the camera and Dennis was used to like lighting through the camera, but what he would do if he wanted to, if you had a frame instead of whatever was at the side of frame he wouldn't leave it in the south from your pan over until it was in the middle of The frame. So because he didn't like looking at the edge of the frame, you'd like to look at this, whatever he was doing in the centre of the frame. But you koston no reason why not. That's what that's what he wanted to do. He could do. But perimeter, came back two or three times to look at the shot. And he kept saying to me, why is this shot? Not what I what I want. So I said, What do you mean no? autos, I said what he said, the camera is always pointing over there. I said, Well, that's not the way it will be. I said, it'll be way way you want it when we shoot it. But we're not shooting now we're lighting. So I said, Yes. But I don't understand why it's not where I want it. So I said, Otto, have you ever had anything yet? That wasn't the way you wanted it? And he says, No, I swam. So why why is it like this? I said, but don't worry about us. It'll be alright, I promise you don't worry. At that moment. There's a revolving door came into this pub, a large revolving door Victorian type of girl. And somebody came in that door, it was perfectly timed as to how they were able to do it, whether it was just luck. But it was perfectly time because his door evolved. Only at all, everybody had been just asked to keep quiet, there was a hell of a lot of noise, like when you get to 300 people or having cross Converse a board. Yeah. So they just been asked to keep quiet at that moment, the door had revolved. And somebody there must have been an actor, because of the projection or the voice was so good.

Somebody said, from behind auto for behind me and behind all these actors where that door was. Somebody said, auto perimeter is a shit. That moment, everybody looked around and sort of looked at each other and look around and horror. And all anybody saw was the back of a man disappearing out of the revolving door. A backer someone. Nobody saw his face loader. So Otto said, find out that he's already good at recovery, you know, is it find out if that was I want to have dinner with him? So now, Assistant Director ran out the door. And all they saw was the back of the same man getting into a taxi, which was waiting for him and driving off into the night. To this day. Nobody knows who that was. So Otto says, Who was that? He said they turned him in? He said, Did you see you that was? I said no Otto. I didn't say who it was, I said, but he obviously knows you.

And anyway, I quite enjoyed working with him, I finished up doing another little bit with him and add a second camera down in Israel and Exodus. What about working with Tony as Oh, that was lovely. Of course. I mean, he was such a gentleman. And such kind of eccentric. I mean, he would work all day in boiler suit, you know, I would smoke a cigarette right down until it was sort of like an eighth of an inch long in his lips. And you'd be when you were talking to him, You kept looking to see when he was going to scream because you see this red hot ash, about an eighth of an inch away from his lips. And suddenly, in the middle of his, whatever he was saying he would sort of pull it out of his mouth and put it out. And so he knew exactly when to do that, you know, and never got it. But he would apologise to the feast sort of stepped back on the set. And he never often cables across a set, especially in those days with sort of more arcs and things around the cables have tended to be bigger, you know, for art, as they call it in America, or they forget what we call it sort of heavy gauge copper. Sometimes auto would step back, and you're sort of in the rehearsal, and you'd say, Oh, I do beg your pardon. And of course, you'd be apologising to the cable, which is on the floor. And then of course, occasionally I would sort of stand next to him. And then he'd step back and he'd step on my toe, and he would think he was on the cable. And after about I'd let him stay on it for about a minute, you know, then I'd say, I'd say to him, you know, I'd say, Tony at a worksite. Yes, you're my foot, oh my god, he was sort of gravel, he would definitely grow. And if I was operating with him, he would sometimes sometimes have a cup of tea. And then because quite often I would have a lineup of shouting, but she wasn't really aware. But we'd put down the track and we were prepared to, to pull back with some movement or something like that. And he wasn't he was sort of like fascinated by the scene. He'd suddenly see at the corner of his eye, that the camera was moving back. And he would look at me and he would and we'd be doing a take and he would look at me and of course I would see Manawa glass across the tin, and he'd say it with his other spare fingers to say, much of say Am I in? And I would not like this very slowly, you know, of course he wasn't a Nico, he would finish up. So during these most amazing reverse sort of sunset dance they do in Jamaica, you know that thing where they go down. They pass under a wire about three inches off the ground, he would do one of these things with a cup of tea and in a saucer to try and to keep out of shot. And he would now and again, he would say, all right, I'd say just use the lab getting going on that was funny. But a real real gentleman. And totally, you know, orientated around acting and the actors. He wasn't really a technician so great. Oh, no, you couldn't have said he was a technician although occasionally he would have some concept for something which you could. He didn't can say exactly what he wanted, but he could give you enough information to realise that he was looking for something and you you would find it because you you weren't It wasn't your own idea. But you were the instrument of the idea as it were, which is fair enough. Great. All right. And I enjoyed those. Those pictures. They were really funny. Now I've got down modesty Blaze. Yeah, modesty blaze came up out of the blue. I forget what I've been doing. Maybe it was I never did Cleopatra here. Maybe it's for that or after? I know. A lot of put that right. No, it was after Bonney lake. That's right. So it was in fact after. Yes, long after Cleopatra. Cleopatra. I was the one that was but it was somewhere in there. And what happened modesty Blaise was it was on the grapevine that they were looking for somebody to do modesty Blaze, and that they've been the only rapada that really would have done it or had he been free would have been check orders. But it wasn't true. He was doing something. So there's the word was that they were Losi was looking for an upgrade of a modesty place. And

anyway, I got a call about it. And I went in and I did do modesty plays and I guess I did bring enough self inspired originality into the work which Losi recognised that he must have seen more in me than I was aware of certainly and the result was that after modesty blaze I was ending Casino Royale which turned into a kind of a debacle because of the changes of directors and actors and everything else. And I found myself having started the picture of Peter Sellers being directed by john McGrath. I finished that finding myself in Ireland with Houston with Deborah Carr and Dave and David Nevin. Are you resolved totally invented? Yeah. Anyway, I'm in Ireland. I'm in serious hotel is it and in Main Street in Dublin, and I get back and there was a call for me and the reception. They said what I call London operator number 37 or something like that. FIFO can't work on that. But you must be some travelled home or something like that. is late at night. I came back from having dinner. So I I'd never heard of such a system anyway. But I did get through to London. I said Heck, how can I? I'm told I got a call an operator 37. So they said oh yeah, hold on. So the operator said Oh, yes. You've had a call from Mr. Lowe. See, just hold on. And evidently she rang back. Unless I got Joe lessee on the land like 1030 at night. So you said, Jerry, I said yes. I said, I'm sending you a script tomorrow. He said, I want you to read it. And I want you to tell me if you can photograph it. I said, oh, oh, okay. And immediately my brain goes. But I just have I just imagine that phone call or what because it was so out of the blue. I mean, I wasn't a candidate to be. I mean, I wasn't proposing myself as a candidate to do as it transpired, the script was accident. I wasn't proposing myself to do accident or any other film. I wasn't. I hadn't put myself in the category where I thought That it was likely that I was ready. I mean, all of those things and asking I hadn't really I mean, I was so busy as an operator that I didn't really mind I was I was doing something that occupied my attention. So sure enough, the next day, I couldn't I didn't tell anybody about this. Next day, the script arrived. So I went to my room and ordered some sandwiches and I read the script. And then for the first time I read a script with a view. Totally different to what I'd ever read a script before, because now I had to read it with the viewpoint of being responsible for the look of the film, the photography, which allow I mean, in a sense, I was ready for as far as I could a frame that picture. And that was no, not really out of my depth with. But when it came to sort of saying, you got to prepare a crew to go on location, you got to ask for the right, you know, how many lamps you need, and what size they got to be and all that sort of stuff? I mean, I wasn't, I didn't have that at my fingertips. So anyway, I read it, and it was a good script. And I said, Well, you know, this is something I've really got to seriously consider because this isn't just some fly by night, just trying to get a good operator is somebody who's serious about making a movie with a with some content. But how do I find that content? So I've wrestled with that problem all night. And then he said, You gotta let me know, within 24 hours. What do you think? So I said, Okay, sorry. I called him back. And I said, I said, I've read the script. And this is why I think it should look. And I told him in the short, reiated way, how it should look how the scenes as a sequences should look how the relationships, you know, the sort of drama those, you know, the night the day, the the theme of the tennis match, and all this sort of stuff. And I finished it by saying, well, I asked that. That's how I feel it should look, I said, but I don't know how I'm going to do. So I said, you're doing the picture. And by did. And there was a total shock to me, because I didn't know.

before. I mean, the end of the first week. I knew I could do the picture. And it was a total surprise to me. Certainly a lot of other people do. But I mean, as much as anyone it was to me. How long was it before you lost the butterflies in your stomach?

Well, after the after the first night's rushes, which is liquid habit, and the only cinema they had available. They had some something they did, which was very funny. I hadn't seen it before they did local cinema. Yeah, they went to after, and they got either the wrong lens or something. And you'd never say it was terrible. It was terrible. I mean, you know, it was blurred it was I thought they can't be me. They can't be me anyway. Because I'm, I'm there the firing line, you know, they're sort of saying get rid of this guy. At any rate. We sat through this and I said, there's something wrong. I don't know what is wrong, or there's something very wrong. Anyway, they went upstairs the projection room and they came they said, well, we're going to run the first bit again. And when we ran the first bit again, it was beautiful, because it was just, it really was. I mean, it was actually a blessing in disguise that they'd screened it so badly. Because when it did come up that well it looks so much better than it would. And I can remember that very clearly because the very first shot I did was shot of Michael York, in a window of the done study, looking out onto the lawn, do University house with university. And then the middle of the lawn was a white goat tethered and there was a girl came over and spoke to the goat and stroked the goat and there's a conversation about the girl with a dog Bogart who's off screen and comes in and goes out and then their second shot was on a staircase going down which we did there in the university a staircase quite difficult, confined little staircase and I lit that and I was using the wrong lamps really. I mean I've been today I would know I would What didn't change what I got but it just meant I was using too big a lamp could have done it with a smaller lamp because I finished that cutting off all the extra excess where I could see I didn't want it confining it to where I did want it. And of course, I was using a big 11 wasting half of it instead of whichever nowadays not do that. But it didn't change the way I saw it the way it looked, because six weeks later, we did actually shoot the reverse of our first shot in the studio in a constructed study, which was actually more practical than the real one, which wasn't practical at all too small. And we did also assess secondary shot at the door leading towards the stairs, which which shot six weeks before. And when you see them put together, you would think they were shot the same place the same day, the same moment of time. There's no difference. I mean, they really it really is that precise, and that I didn't even go back to look at that stuff I had shot six weeks before the day I did it in the studio. I knew. And I knew how that whole picture should look. And I would just keep going until I'd got it looking that way. You know, really? Of course, there were things like I said using, I could have arrived at it perhaps a little more economic theory a little more expertly. But you don't learn that expertise. No, you're bound to do that. But I didn't make a mistake in their approach. I made a mistake only in the arrival. But not in the departure. there that was a milestone because that picture sort of really threw me straight into being gay did be what I suppose I could have taken years to do was done a picture with a critical success. Not so much about financial success, which today would be much more important, I guess. at a critical success. Yes, it was. For me, particularly. That lead of course then got to do I did eight pictures with Joe. All together. Except me and even without modesty plays I did eight as a as a caravan. I didn't do them all. And the curious thing is that during the period that I worked with him those that I did in Maine, I enjoyed them because it were all worthwhile ever. I had some reservations about the Doll's House, but as far as Jane Fonda, as did most people. But of those last pictures that he made, I suppose they were like maybe 1215. I did eight, there were five or six or seven? I didn't do. But if I was if you were to give me that period of time again and choose the pictures I would rather do I would have chosen all of the ones I did. And I wouldn't have chosen any of those that I didn't. Because I didn't like any of them. I didn't like boom. I didn't like Trotsky didn't like and I had already refused to do figures and landscape when Joe wasn't even going to direct it. I'd already refused it.

And I didn't do steaming the last one. I did do pick two pictures in France three Really? Well, three French crews anyway, Mr. Klein, which is a very good labour to surd, which was less good, but a lot better than the script. And the DA and Don Giovanni, which was shot with the French crew, but in Italy. That means that was who directed that was shot that was wasn't that proposal. Now Don Giovanni was listening. Yep. And that was quite a departure from that. I mean, from normal film and also departure from normal opera because normal opera, the opera the the purists would say all opera is only designed to be seen in an opera house because two people that go to the opera people that own I mean, the Paris Opera, the wealthy upper class, you know, the bourgeois are people that have seats in the opera. They have seats to the opera like they have, you know, an expensive car. It's a sort of an accoutrement. It's like jewellery, you know, we've got we have our permanency to the operation. Yes, it's something like that something they were rather than something they do. I mean, they don't care about opera date, but they like the whole thing of them the the parade the, you know, at the end of all the the sort of marching around the proscenium around the circle, the grant, all of that is part of opera. And they don't want to give that up. So to shoot a film is really kind of an opera is Beneath the dignity to how do you do it? Because it's available? It's available to be seen by anyone. By the message? Yes, you say, that demeans it to the demeans, but I maintain that Mozart had he had available to him the cinema, I believe he would have used it. If it had been around that he was far too volatile to have let that go by and say I'm done. I'm only going to write stuff for stages, you know, because that wasn't the way he wrote in it. Sally area and all that people, but they go, who knows? That's just an argument. It's not a you've enjoyed working with Rosie and must have been? Oh, yes. I mean, I we had a very, very comfortable relationship, but after accident, which she was a champion of mine, because he led to one funny story. Having finished accident, I'm now in this exalted role of having just photograph the picture, which nobody's seen. So I used to be an operator now, am I going to go back to operating? Or am I now going to say I'm a caravan. And the proof of that is whether or not what anybody thinks what I did was worthy of doing it again. So there was sort of an unknown quantity there because accident was now in editing. But I used to keep in touch, it was only a trick him. So it was nearby. And I'd go there to sort of see little bits that they'd put together and keep an interest in it. And then the case I didn't, I didn't for the unusually for me, because I was always busy. And usually, suddenly, I wasn't busy, because I just finished right. So now I'm up for grabs, as it were. And among the calls I had was a call from a guy called Mike Davidson, who I knew was a production who was working with Michael winner preparing a picture. And he said, Jerry, why don't you come up to town? He said, Michael winter would like to talk to you. I said, Oh, really? So he said, Yes. Yes, afternoon, three o'clock. Okay. up I go. I get there. punctually at three. Go in, the girl says, Oh, yes. And there is an office with glass partition in which was Michael venters. Private domain. And I could hear him even from the outer office because he was the founder. Well, the first of many calls he made to various girlfriends, darling, you know, I'll you know, picture that. They'll see you. I'll come around for you. And you know what you get through. It was arranging his next weekend. Having said that, I was there. They're ready, though. He just she you know, she buzzed in when he put his phone down. I still hear all these new calls he was making. And it was about an hour before he buzzed again and said, Is there anybody out there? So she said, All this is terrific. Oh, I'll send him in.

So why not get in there? He says, Oh, yeah, you're and he has to reach for a piece of papers as your Oh, your your Jerry Fisher sighs Yes. He said, I believe you just done a picture for your first pictures. I said yes. He said, Well, I'm Michael Did you know I've? I've got a kind of carte blanche. I can do any pictures. I like them universal. I've done this. I've done that. Normally, I can get I can use. He he mentioned that. Oh, hello. Because Otto was still alive than this. I don't know how I've had thought, Oh, hello. And well listen. I thought that was funny. Because there was autos, about the first day's work I ever saw on films, movies. So there's a transition there, you know, a huge jump in time as it were. And he said, I've worked with all these people. And I just said, I don't do this. And I don't do that. And I said, Well, you do seem to be very opinionated. You have a very clear idea of what you want to do. He said, Oh, I said I do totally. So don't do that. Don't go any for any nonsense. He said. It's a judo says if you've done your pitch, I said, Why don't I? Why don't I look at the picture you've done. So I said, I that's a good idea. See? So I knew I wanted to get out. Out I go. And I saw Joe that evening, actually. And he said, what's happening with you? So I said, well, funny enough. I only had a call today to go and talk to Michael winner. He said, Michael winner. So I said, Yes. He said, You don't want to work with him. And I said, No, I don't think I do. I said but he's doing a picture and he's asked to see accident. He said what he can't. So I said, Good.

That was the end of that. So that's it. You've never worked Probably a very unfair but what can you say this is the way things happen and you just have to say less than that's the truth I mean to be accurate is I think, funnier really.

I you know, because I mentioned just now I mentioned is that just finishing to take more time, okay. I mentioned Cleopatra, because I began to Petra, when of course, we give us a huge picture of the director of Aruba mammalian river, marine mammalian actually was on overage. He was at the end of his contract the first day of shooting because he spent so much time doing tests of Elizabeth Taylor's wardrobe and sets and it was a long time there were delays on construction, everything else it was a pirate. And Ruben Craddock raconter quite awake. He had all these sort of visual images, which if you see some very early films gather and things like that, and it was very much into that kind of period. A lot of these things were quite good. And he one day were in the office and he said, you know, boys I want to I want you think about this scene I want to do with with Cleopatra when she meets Anthony, for the first time, said Antony arrives he's going to arrive on a white horse we did we got those his name the showjumpers the period entity Oliver I think it was the right a white horse down a barge it was approaching the jetty and he jumped to the last 16 feet across to the jetty, with all the dignitaries there and rode out the palace steps you know, it was it was great stuff. So now of course, meanwhile, Cleopatra is known as entities come to Alexandra Demeter is being prepared by her handmaidens in this luxurious Well, I suppose SS milk bath with all these handmaidens or beautifully scantily clad and everything else and she's having her arm, you know, caressed by these girls, and then they, they discreetly hold up a robe for her to step into and they put her on this glass. JOHN Tucker designed this glass. What it was crystal, it was about six inches thick, and it was hanging on for gold James crystal and relies on that so they can prepare her for her meeting with Anthony and he said this meeting boys. It's gotta be. It's gotta be all women. To all men. This is the woman of all time. He said, we've got to make this something really wonderful. We should start. He said, we'll start on, on this shoulder being caressed and rubbed with oil. He said, Well, he said we'll have to get an app to get a model because it does the best. She hasn't gotten great shoulders. So we really want to guess. Get all the models and all the girls we can and find out who's really got the most beautiful shoulder and we'll do that. So then we'll cut to a calf being massaged gently. And perfume being applied to this wonderful car. He said, Well, there's a bus, she's got fat legs, you know, so we can't use her without to get a girl's got the most beautiful leg. And we'll, we'll use her for that. But just take that path. And then he said then we want to come to this hand being caressed and anointed and dried and oiled and everything. So it's a bit you know, Elizabeth's got patchy fingers. So we don't want we got to get we've got to get the most grateful, graceful hand. The handout is somebody what's got this beautiful fingers, the finger allows to be polished, and somebody can be doing that. And that'll be a wonderful thing. I said then we got to come to this foot. And then that's got to be the most graceful foot you've ever seen as well, as you know, Elizabeth got Bunyan's. And so he said, and then he said, when we've done this, we'll follow this girl's hands, and we will come to this face. And he paused and he said, I guess we'll have to use the rest.

Alan Lawson  0:23  
 Gerry Fisher side four, oh yes. Now, what are we up to? 

Gerry Fisher  0:28  
I'm up to where I started work with Pelosi. And then of course, I started to go abroad novelist because he left I suppose out of a combination of just difficulty of getting productions already, you know, after accident became, although he'd made critical successes the servant accident. And then we went on to do romantic Englishwoman

that we did the Doll's House. And the go between, which of course, was critical success to secret ceremony, which was with Elizabeth and

may have Farrow. But nevertheless, around 1970, I suppose this would have been losee finished up, more or less moving out of England.

I guess it was a tax situation, basically. But we found ourselves. We did go with 1975 we did the romantic English woman.

And then from there, we went to France. And we did a picture called Mr. Klein, which was with their land alone. And there was a story about the French war time experience of a man who was being impersonated by a Jew trying to escape being rounded up by the police and sent and finally bad and along who hears his name being in restaurants and things where there's phone calls for him and it's not for him. It's for this other one. And he's obsessed with trying to find the real one. But it finishes up on the train going to Auckland boulder or somewhere.

So it was a sad story, but it was extremely well done. But then that following that, because of doing that with

with an underline, I went to do another picture with the land along which was actually pretty in different pictures called common Boomerang, or like a boomerang. And that was what the director will just say Giovanni was a very nice thing about it was the fact that we shot in the south of France. And that was lovely, of course, shoot around there. But I began then to find myself involved on more American inspired and shot pictures like coming up next was the Island of Dr. Moreau. And then Marty Feldman asked me to do. Last remake of Bo jest. I had already done a picture with Jim Wilder here in England, which was The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, a Smarter Brother, Marty was in there. And then when Marty got to do his film, last year, MakerBot, just we did that. And from there, I went to do Fedora with Billy Wilder, which was great fun, because he's such a wit, and responsible for some of the, you know, really what was refined as being the American humour in films. I mean, Some Like It Hot. It's a classic. And you know, when you think about really well, though, it was a central European, it's quite remarkable is the actually sponsible for establishing a standard. And so that was all wonderfully interesting. And of course, I started to go on to doing films like wolfen, which I shot in New York, against a lot of opposition. I did pictures I did wise blood with john who's, which is great, because I'd already worked with john Hewson, I had done earlier on I'd done a picture called man in the wilderness with Richard Harris in Spain, with a director called Richard Seraphin and john Houston was in that as an actor. And of course he was in Casino Royale as a director. Before that. Then wise blood he directed after being he'd been ill, but he came out of his sick period towards doing that and actually that kind of regenerated his his enthusiasm for Again, because he literally came to life on the film. And so and then, of course, I went once more with him on escape to victory. So it's been a case of very often. I mean, Tony register and I did two pictures where they did Ned Kelly in Australia, I did before that picture with, which was based on Nicole Williamson's Hamlet at the Roundhouse, that that was shot for American universities. I don't know where it is, Rob should I'd love to see that, again, hadn't ever seen any reference to it where it was, but it was a very fine version of an improvised Hamlet in a sort of abstract background. And so Houston figures largely but so does. Richardson as I said, in many cases, I've worked more than once for the same director. Talk to an unwritten son was your technicians director, not so much into a bit of both he will hit No, he wasn't. It wasn't conventional, he loved to use technique, but he would love to use technique looking at the broader scope. I mean, for instance, on Ned Kelly, we in order to achieve a sort of a period look, we actually went back and found some old cooks be panko lenses, you know to shoot it with because we want to look like they weren't bloomed at all, like all the things that modern lenses are, which make them all very often very ordinary. I mean, modern lenses. So by technical standpoints are so precise, but that it That isn't what it's about is it's rather like only looking at, you know, pictures in art gallery, which are painted with infinite detail where you could ever see every blade of grass, as opposed to an impressionist thing. Well, there's room for the Impressionism to a degree. There's room for Impressionism and moviemaking, too. So you don't always have to have the most wonderful sharpest lens like people's different times people come up with these notions that how can we make a camera where everything will be in focus? It's not even desirable. But they want they believe that there is a that needs inventing. There was even untold because it was when I first started Riverside, apparently, that was the period when companies were investing money in things like independent frame, the idea of having stereo optical pictures and not needing more than a piece of set. And then you'd have a photograph of St. Paul's Cathedral behind them. And that's he didn't need to build bead built a cathedral. You just send a stills photographer, whether or the 1212 by 10 camera, take a time exposure about eight hours. And there you'd have your set to see this was the theory. And of course, the result of that even isn't bad, because in time, but they have all those wonderful restaurant restaurants. Because restaurant built rara like the Lancaster bombers, you know, when you look at it, that's what they built like. And

so there's always an offshoot there of that kind of thing. Fairly rarely, because there's no end to that mixture of old and new, basically. But today it's going so fast. I mean, there's the the effects that one sees now that are done. Ordinarily, I mean, a quite remarkable way they're achieved. quite remarkable. And done with digital systems and readily available. No surprises anymore, really. Where I was now named Kelly and Tony and Richard. So yes, yes. Yes.

Well, you know, I guess all this time, I was really just glad to be going on working and being involved on more and more expanding as it were the horizon but

I did finish up of course, going to the states and I did more than one picture in the states and I've done recently a picture which was to me it's sort of I suppose a kind of what I thought would never would I never thought would happen would be to go and do a picture in Hollywood and an MGM but was MGM. Now Sony on stage Which is where Hitchcock's shot North by Northwest. And this year, I was actually the Director of Photography on a picture on that stage. So all those years when it was difficult for me to work in America at all, I was able to finally to work in New York because I was able to, to breach the problem of getting into the local union and 644. But that didn't help me as far as Los Angeles. at all, in fact, it was probably even worse. But this year, of course, I suddenly became acceptable to Los Angeles as well and

finished up actually doing a picture there. What was your reception on the floor? in the state? quite normal? Oh,

there's nothing there was no kind of. I didn't sense any kind of antagonism or any kind of anti foreign being be anti British, anti anything, you know? They, there is a certain amount of that in America, because no more mind you than there is here. As far as, you know, racial things. I mean, Americans Americans are Americans and anybody else's isn't muscling in on their present no worse than there is in Germany, you know, with the with the Turkish contingent.

Unknown Speaker  11:31  
What was the role of the gaffer in the States?

Gerry Fisher  11:34  
Is it very similar to not really no, it's a little rather different. To a degree, it can be the same it depends on the gaffer the certainly the better gaffers here, kind of work the way but in general, quite often in the States, the gaffer really expects to light the set. And I've never done that. I've never had a gaffer, I've always had a gaffer, listen to work in my preparation, and it's been prepared. In the case of something like where you might have a studio set with the backing and psych and something like that, well, having determined what kind of lighting we might need for that he probably had that already light when I walk on the set, and then it just be a matter of my fine tuning, tuning it to a degree, but you see, you're taught that you're talking about something flat, that's, that's not lighting, that's illumination, you see, but a gaffer on an American picture will in fact, feel slighted if he if he isn't allowed to light more than that, inside the set the right amount from the very first lamp, your light, there's some intention in your mind. And you find that that's been removed from you because although they're very good, they become very good because they've been privileged to work with good cameraman. So therefore, there's a shorthand there that said, well, they can draw an experience of having worked with a Laszlo Kovacs almost Sigmund or any of the kind of foreign end American DPS who of course over the years done very fine work I mean comes you know, those pre war dress of the day I mean, I'm embalming all of them because the what they did with what they were limited by then with the speed of the film is quite remarkable. It's so clean, manual, I guess they had longer to do it that way yet. I can remember the first day I spent on the one of the first days on the set, there was sort of like a days pre light allowed. Built in, you know that there was a day we didn't shoot which in which a pre lighting took place. I had never thought sound heard. I've never had a days pre light on us and anything I've ever done. And then I do a huge shot on in America once where I had to prepare a shot in Washington, and Georgetown where the camera starts inside a church. The Doors blow open in a wind and Gale of the camera goes out it's it's steady cam, goes down the steps goes round the street, down the street passes a wheelchair. There's somebody running there's a priest running across a crossroad ahead of you, you go across the crossroad there's a boy standing in the doorway, who you see is holding a red rose, you go on again, you come to another road and the boy is there again and you go on again and you fall down the exorcise steps which were the ones on the original exorcise the enormous thing and I had it as it were blocked in as far as where my life positions I'd been, you know, vandalised it asked for everything and now I had to wait for it to happen. And they got to it took seven hours before I got the lamps in there because there was three hours before I got One lamp or light. That's how long it took. All of which there began of like three and four in the afternoon. But I had to wait for Michael, which is like 6pm until, like 1am. Before I could get the first light, I mean, I've never known anything. That was the biggest, longest I've ever had. And of course, it was complex about three, three generators involved. But they just weren't reckoning on it doing any taking any less than that, you know, which you don't come up against very often. Usually it's does it work economise to the degree that you, you can produce a result much faster than that. And you can't afford to do that either. On a week schedule, if you took seven hours every night to light one shot, that wouldn't make much wouldn't get you very far. That's what used to happen. Oh, trying to look here like pause. Sorry, shall I pause? Yes. Well, first of all, you know, over the many years you've been in the business. From your point of view, what has made life easier for the lighting cameraman? You think?

Well, it's becoming easier in the sense of the improvement in the equipment. You know, certainly much easier. One of the, I guess one of the bad things or side effects has been that because it's become much easier to shoot in real locations. There's far less time in the studios, which is a pity because it's the studios that we learned their craft. And the difficulty about learning a craft in an industry based on love shooting on location is that you never meet another crew. I mean, I used to meet six crews every day, when I was at Shepperton, I would visit all the stages where there's something going on, if I wasn't on a picture, I'd be on outcasts of the islands in the morning and somewhere else in the afternoon. If they were shooting something I'd get, you know, one would stay behind watch some night shooting. And so another picture to come in to see you had it all there. And he would, you could see what was being done. And if you had a half an eye, you could begin to discern some sort of intention there. And today, you go out and you shoot, and you meet a crew you've never met before. And chances are you'll never meet again. And they never meet you again. So you have no time to develop any kind of ongoing comparisons about where you're working. It's just the way it is. And the big problem is simply getting through the day every day, basically. And there's not this overall thing of trying to make recognisably identifiable pictures like say, for instance, the Ealing comedies, they had a wonderful thing holding them together. And it was it was you couldn't do that if you said, let's go and make an eating comedy. Well, let's get a crew. were shooting there, we'll get that crew on, then we'll get next week, we'll get another crew that it wouldn't happen. It would all disappear. Would all it all become lost. And that's the trouble today. You know, when when we used to. We used to play jokes, of course, as well. I can remember there was a picture of shepherd and I was there for a while. Five years, I suppose. And there was always these rumours about because the great thing when you were an assistant earning what you did, then I think I was earning 12 pounds 10 a week. And I think it went up to 15. The last year I was there. Got in I got two pounds 10 a week, which I had to go and ask Lou Thorburn for. And he had a lovely Secretary called Sylvia nice. This used to be and she had an office in the old house right next to his office. And I would ring her up and I say go Can I can I get an appointment to see loose on that? So she said yes. What's it about? Because she was like, she had the nosy she had the filter. So I said, Well, I'm going to try and get some I want to try and get our eyes I've been here for over RT says, All right, well, come over. We'll see what we can work out. So I go over that. And I open the door and she said hello. And she looked at me and she said it's not a good time. I said I'll on out I go walk out tail between my legs. Anyway, I went back again Then she said yes. Yeah. Because he said Why do you want more money all this? You know we have a bit of a game with me. But actually, he did. Give me the increase, which was principally two pounds a week. And that was that was something then? And certainly right the the thing about it was that you'd have this meeting of other crews all the time. I mean, I used to, we used to play cards if he couldn't do anything else would always be there. And Dennis good john Wilcox Tex gave all sorts of people loss in depth all at their different times. And there was a picture which kept coming up as a rumour every summer that was gonna have this big location nobody knew about quite where but they all wanted wanted to be on it when it did happen. So they were just hoping that they wouldn't be on they would be free for it when it came up. So it came up again and and the picture was called the king's general subjects then kings general. So anyway, died away that particular year because I was obviously wasn't going to go in the winter anywhere because nobody got location. And the following spring I suddenly heard this slight rumour they said, they believe the king's generals coming up, but it's not going to go until the summer but it's going to go up and it's going to go on location.

And somebody said it's going to go in relation probably going to go to Spain. So I waited about a week or two to the rumour died down. And then I went over the bar one lunchtime, to have a sandwich and a glass of beer. And from home I brought a Spanish phrase book which I put in my pocket so the top stuck out you could read it and as I carry my drink over the region, my drink like that, it just showed it's Manish rates have not he rumour was back to me in the camera department that afternoon. It's going to Kingston was going to it's going to Spain.

Jerry's on it with no such thing. It never did get made that picture.

One thing I like to ask you about what's your image your attitude to life in cameramen operating rooms for themselves? Well, I think it's largely a matter of the kind of movie. I mean, I do, I've done plenty of operating still, even if I'm doing a commercial and it's really the only practical way to deal with all of the variants that are in front of you. But on the kind of complexities of of the average picture where you need to be. It's, it's, it's not efficient, because if you need to be, for example, maybe you're shooting in a street in Soho flat, second floor and you've got a shot, which looks out the window and there's a car drives out and people get out, you've got to light the street, if it's night, you've got to light the street outside, you're going to light the room you're in and you're going to operate as well Well, you can't do it. If you're if you get down to the street, there's nothing happening at the camera, there's no development of the shot the camera level, if you're in the room, you can't be down the street. So you know you've got to find compromises. And you'll notice actually especially in say German pictures that there is a decided compromise on the complexity of lighting and effectiveness in my view of lighting, because it's it's been designed around something that you can operate without worrying about the lighting because it's not that precise if you're just much more general general and or it's more sort of sketchy to the extent of not worrying about what isn't controlled and the different difficulty there is that the towel starts to wag the dog in my view because you need to watch the shot happening because sometimes even non rehearsal you can see little adjustments that need making and you can't see them if you're operating the rehearsal because you haven't been watching there you've been watching something else. You can't do door you can't watch it all at all. I think it all depends really on the levels of standards that you want to set. And I don't think any of the major works that you see normally but set perhaps I suppose you got to make an exception therefore run. Room with a View in I was operated and lit and more recently the how's the recent one won the Oscar for for light, not for lighting and won it for one a BAFTA award I bet one the

think what it was? Or blank for the moment? Trying to think too many too many directions at once. Well, nevermind, we'll

leave that one. Now, Cutler presented a great problem to you, or has it ever? No. No, I don't think so. Hi, the, I guess. Funny enough. When I say to people, sometimes a day, my first picture was accident. And I said, Oh, that was back. And mine wasn't because it wasn't. But you could be, it could be understood that you'd you've thought it was because it didn't make use of colour in the usual way. I'd suppose I don't, I don't like colour for for colour sake, really. I'm not mad about it, I do. But I do think black and white is, is a more effective medium for concentrating on the essential elements of a story, rather than the same way as if you write a wonderful story, you write it in black and white, and you don't write it in colour. And you don't need to illustrate it in colour either, because what you're doing is really with a book, allowing the person reading it to conjure up his own image. And if it's powerful enough, it could be in colour or not, it doesn't change the effect it has on them. And it can be like that, but the move in is like that with a movie, you know, with. with older movies, where they only had black and white, they succeeded in dealing with that quite comfortably then having a problem. And then you got to the point the other extreme where colour came in, and it was so sort of universal, and so sort of bland, that it's really negative, not as good as black and white would have been. But the difficulty of the basic difficulty of gospel photography and black and black colour, is it in colour, you don't have to worry about similar tones timescales, because the colour is different. And in black and white, you do have to worry about different time scales, even though the colours are totally different. So that's the real difference. But I think it's really largely a matter of how you use light to sculpt the image in the way of the way in which you directly see, when you play when I place lights that I place them to do a specific purpose. And not as some people imagined to make it bright enough for the film. What I'm doing, and I think what most people do is putting the amount of light onto the texture of the surface that I'm mainly good at, knowing where the camera is or the direction is, which is essential. And therefore minute finishes up with something rather than incomprehensible anywhere else. Because if you walk off, or if you walk onto somebody else's set and approach the set from the wrong direction, ie not the camera direction, they won't seem to be any order. So the lighting, and there isn't on my sets, either. The only place the order exists is there in the camera. And that's a point in space, which is so precise, very often that it only is there and it isn't six inches to the left or right because that's where you get that glance off of that piece of wood or of that, you know of that pain surface. And the reverse is true when you might mistakenly think something needs a lot of light, because it's black. And the smallest lamp you've got on the set is the light that's bouncing out of that surface. And it's you switch that on and off, it's a big effect. I would just switch on some of the way one of your major units which is actually lighting more generally, some movement of people wouldn't notice half as much. That's complex. Now what about the use of metres? Well, if I if I have to give up a contrast glass or a metre I would give up the metres before I want to give up the contrast. I find that rather like in the same way as I used to judge distance or judge light and especially if I'm in a situation where I've started a sequence and whenever probably use a metre, but having established that I can readily go on from there without using the metre again.

And in fact, I've done it before where I've had a metre once go in the sea when I was shooting in France one evening and that the shoot that night, and I did I shot that night without a metre. What it is, is that what the metre will do, because it will donate, you'll only read what do you want it to read. I mean, the metre doesn't know what it's what's behind it, if you're reading the light coming from somewhere, it doesn't know whether what you've got in front of is white or black. So there's an anomaly there. And if you turn the metre the other way around, you won't get a reading of a black. And you'll get too much reading for White. So we got another anomaly there. So what I've trained myself to do is to reach the light without a metre, I thought I always like without a metre, always. And I got told off for months by a Belgian gaffer because he says you know, Mr. Fisher, you you don't even know when you're like you don't do your deal. You don't do it correct. Because you shed light your your key light first and measure this for the aperture and then light the rest of the set and measure this a bit you sometimes you begin at the back of the set and you liked and you don't like the front until last and said that not right. Well, it works for me. And, and he was right, never his way. But of course not knowing what motivates me what I will do and have done sometimes is that I need I obviously need an exposure guide of some sort. Especially if I've gone to lunch and not going out to a dark restaurant or I've gone out to sit and bright sunshine and come back inside there. You're never doubly there's got to be a failure. If that one sees that even with your own rushes when the timer goes in the middle of night to go and have go and have food and this canteen which is lit I never know why they do this in labs in those lit with fluorescent lighting. Well how can you Tom I go and eat in a place of Scott wrestler and then go and sit in front of Hazel team and do a great job on timing. He's got to be off. And his natural thing. And this he refers back to his master, you know, it's got to be off because your brain does that I had a set once which I photographed it deliberately as a motive in pitch for Sebastian, we had girls that had nervous breakdowns and they were put in a room which we decided would calm them down if it was done with pink light. So we had a pink ceiling, pink filter, translucent lit through we shot in there girls breaking furniture and all sorts of things, you know, to sort of relieve their their nervous breakdowns and they were decoding and they went into the scanner just drove them nuts, you know. And I was working in this set and looking around the set and I thought myself for these, this pink, it's really fading a bit that can't be a very permanent colour there's going to be a job to keep up this pink look. Because it just looked I think the door to the set was open. And the corridor, which I knew hadn't got pink lighting because it was lit ordinarily with normal lighting sources. The doorway doorway was green. So a lot of that's not green. It's got to be something happening. So I walked off the set and walked around the back and walked down the corridor, which is now has been walking along the corridor is white. I open the door and the set is pink. I go in the room, close the door, go over to the camera, wait for somebody else to come in the door and it's green. So your brain is compensates just the same way you don't need an 85 filter in the day and no filter at night. And there is that time at half light when your eye gives you that bluish look when windows look yellow and the lights looks blue. And then half an hour later it doesn't look yellow in the windows it looks quite normal looks white. But you know your your brain is doing that your brain is just arriving at a conclusion. And to avoid you being Miss directed, it compensates that will do that. So they didn't know that's quite quite an interesting departure when you start talking about colour and that's why different people see different colour in different ways. Now let's, yeah, let's start talking about directors.

Yes.

Unknown Speaker  35:10  
You must have you obviously have a favourite must have a favourite.

Gerry Fisher  35:13  
A favourite? Yeah. Oh, well, I mean, I have to say mostly because he gave me my opportunity to, to, to do my first picture and say he not only gave me the opportunity, the recognise the something in me which I wasn't aware of or nor was anybody else. So he must have been, you've got to give him some credit for that. And our method of shooting films rapidly became very well one could almost a telepathy, because we would talk about like I talked about accident. And he's when I talked about accident having read the script. And I told him in my own version of what I felt the atmosphere of scenes would be not knowing yet how I would do it. But that's what I would be wanting to do. He said, you're doing the picture. And he was able to understand from what I said what I meant, which was a lot of people can't do. Because people are always looking for what they think you mean, rather than what you're saying.

And we developed the shorthand, really, and that we could talk about a film. And then we wouldn't talk about the film anymore, that we're shooting it.

But we would arrive on a set to shoot a certain scene that involves certain essential pieces of action, somebody is in there, somebody comes in, somebody goes out well, that kind of stuff. Which is, which in a way is some sort of discipline because it means you know, if there's a doorway, that's where they're going to come in, and if there's a desk is where they're going to be sitting, and if, and so on. If it's a window, that's that they're going to go and look out if I need to, and maybe they can be make use of it, because it's a way of avoiding eye contact with somebody else. It's a device, of course objectives us. So that, out of all of that we would then have a rehearsal on the set. And we didn't, Losi wouldn't have said, Alright, this is what we're doing scene sounds like you're over here, you're over here. So Let's rehearse. I think he's choice in the act as if he got get meant that what he'd done was in choosing an actor was choosing actors who he felt he could trust to portray that person in that situation in that story. And very often, his discussions with actors about the film wouldn't be about the script at all be about things that weren't in the script. Like saying we're probably your father was a colonel in the Indian Army. And you know, this isn't in the script, no ways of any importance, but it's a sort of a foundation for the actor's creation of a person. In other words, you're not just saying, create from here. There's this underneath, and somebody just couldn't bear with couldn't deal with it. They'd say, Well, he didn't tell me what to do. When he had a V, we chose an actor who we needed to tell what to do. He actually felt he miscast the actor. So having done that, your actors would, because of their instincts, because they're doing their creativity to the kind of people he would choose. They would rehearse. And it's kind of a rough rehearsal. And during that rehearsal, I would be looking, can Joe be looking? And then we'd say let's try it again. And I would move I would move and stand and watch it from over there. Unless he could just look to see me over there. Nobody said anything. Nobody rushed out and make camera marks for people for actors. And then we'll see if our rehearsal now but perhaps at a certain point, when an actor had made a move from there to there. I moved from there to there. Or perhaps Losi would look at me and just move from here to there. And the entire crew was there watching this? And then you'd say to me, Well, okay, Jerry thing you got enough. I say Yeah. They say how long? I say 45 minutes and the crew would say, well, are we gonna have a lineup? I say you just did. I said, Well, we didn't we didn't we haven't got any marks. I said do you want But the camera starts here and it tracks to there. And then when he goes to there go to there. And then we close in at the end and he exits, they say, but we never saw it. So but that's what we get. And that's what we did, really. And they now knew that. But there's the minimum of glances and slight movements of hands, everything else quite amazing. And it was in front of everybody, but completely hidden, completely disguised, not deliberately. But just that he never got the point of making the actors feel that they had to start respecting some other concept, like, too often I see people do I see my own crew doing it sometimes, and I stopped them, they get the camera and they put it in the wrong place. And then they start adjusting the access to fit the camera and I say, your camera's not in the right place. They were correct where they were, it's you that's wrong. Now get in, get what you want, but with them in the positions that they have naturally adopted, because they will do them. Inevitably people orientate themselves to something. Unless there's nothing like a desert, then of course, you've got to some somewhat different, you can do it then on kind of distance. But in a in an in a room, I would see very often Yeah, kind of like a looming difficulty, because of the necessity for some data move around here to do that. And I know that I couldn't contain that in frame.

If I could, I would move the furniture so that they added in depth to travel so far from there, or this would go back so it didn't project so far. And they wouldn't say anything to them. When they came back in, they did the same rehearsal, they would do exactly what you'd want, because the furniture was what they related to you move a chair, they're not going to sit on the floor, you know? So simplistically, one can try to blend together all those different elements, because obviously, they're going to do something that you know, a rehearsal where, which starts off as being positions, which is what they do too much in, in France, where I do what they call a meson sin where the actors are just brought in to take positions. And then only after that, do they rehearse a scene? I mean, that that makes sense to me. This the way that this was done and the way you Josie did it was a much more fluid. Oh, yeah. Yes, it was. It did, of course, revolve around the fact that he was one of the only two operators that he respected. That when I was working as an operator, I was working as an operator, not just as, not as a caring man, I was working as an operator first. And then I would find very often I'll give myself quite difficult lighting problems. I get I'd say, yeah, that's fine. Okay. Oh, wait a minute. I've got to light it. Now. How do I do that? Because I hadn't thought of that. At that time. I was more interested in storage, doing what I thought thought was the best atmospherical move, incorporating all the things that were there, and then when it came to coverage, it'd be the same because Joe would just look at me and you'd say, and I say, yeah, and I've just not and that meant they would be a cut there. There will be a close up there and a close up there. And that would be the only coverage on the scene. And just a shorthand. There is that many directors you do that with Sidney Lumet completely different. I worked with him three times. And he is a little Dynamo, he kind of like he's like a state. He's like a theatre director and he sort of gets his viewfinder and he says the actors because the actors love him, the actors feel very the concentration of everything on them because he sort of says Let me see you there now and oh, they'll come over this way a bit there and he sort of like working on different things. And that works, too. It works in a different way. But he's very, he wants marks for them marks for the camera. He wants this lane he wants the viewfinder he wants to do all like that. And then the preparation of the shot is the point when the technique steps in, but it has to respect his lineup.

Alan Lawson  0:23  
 Gerry Fisher side four, oh yes. Now, what are we up to? 

Gerry Fisher  0:28  
I'm up to where I started work with Pelosi. And then of course, I started to go abroad novelist because he left I suppose out of a combination of just difficulty of getting productions already, you know, after accident became, although he'd made critical successes the servant accident. And then we went on to do romantic Englishwoman

that we did the Doll's House. And the go between, which of course, was critical success to secret ceremony, which was with Elizabeth and

may have Farrow. But nevertheless, around 1970, I suppose this would have been losee finished up, more or less moving out of England.

I guess it was a tax situation, basically. But we found ourselves. We did go with 1975 we did the romantic English woman.

And then from there, we went to France. And we did a picture called Mr. Klein, which was with their land alone. And there was a story about the French war time experience of a man who was being impersonated by a Jew trying to escape being rounded up by the police and sent and finally bad and along who hears his name being in restaurants and things where there's phone calls for him and it's not for him. It's for this other one. And he's obsessed with trying to find the real one. But it finishes up on the train going to Auckland boulder or somewhere.

So it was a sad story, but it was extremely well done. But then that following that, because of doing that with

with an underline, I went to do another picture with the land along which was actually pretty in different pictures called common Boomerang, or like a boomerang. And that was what the director will just say Giovanni was a very nice thing about it was the fact that we shot in the south of France. And that was lovely, of course, shoot around there. But I began then to find myself involved on more American inspired and shot pictures like coming up next was the Island of Dr. Moreau. And then Marty Feldman asked me to do. Last remake of Bo jest. I had already done a picture with Jim Wilder here in England, which was The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, a Smarter Brother, Marty was in there. And then when Marty got to do his film, last year, MakerBot, just we did that. And from there, I went to do Fedora with Billy Wilder, which was great fun, because he's such a wit, and responsible for some of the, you know, really what was refined as being the American humour in films. I mean, Some Like It Hot. It's a classic. And you know, when you think about really well, though, it was a central European, it's quite remarkable is the actually sponsible for establishing a standard. And so that was all wonderfully interesting. And of course, I started to go on to doing films like wolfen, which I shot in New York, against a lot of opposition. I did pictures I did wise blood with john who's, which is great, because I'd already worked with john Hewson, I had done earlier on I'd done a picture called man in the wilderness with Richard Harris in Spain, with a director called Richard Seraphin and john Houston was in that as an actor. And of course he was in Casino Royale as a director. Before that. Then wise blood he directed after being he'd been ill, but he came out of his sick period towards doing that and actually that kind of regenerated his his enthusiasm for Again, because he literally came to life on the film. And so and then, of course, I went once more with him on escape to victory. So it's been a case of very often. I mean, Tony register and I did two pictures where they did Ned Kelly in Australia, I did before that picture with, which was based on Nicole Williamson's Hamlet at the Roundhouse, that that was shot for American universities. I don't know where it is, Rob should I'd love to see that, again, hadn't ever seen any reference to it where it was, but it was a very fine version of an improvised Hamlet in a sort of abstract background. And so Houston figures largely but so does. Richardson as I said, in many cases, I've worked more than once for the same director. Talk to an unwritten son was your technicians director, not so much into a bit of both he will hit No, he wasn't. It wasn't conventional, he loved to use technique, but he would love to use technique looking at the broader scope. I mean, for instance, on Ned Kelly, we in order to achieve a sort of a period look, we actually went back and found some old cooks be panko lenses, you know to shoot it with because we want to look like they weren't bloomed at all, like all the things that modern lenses are, which make them all very often very ordinary. I mean, modern lenses. So by technical standpoints are so precise, but that it That isn't what it's about is it's rather like only looking at, you know, pictures in art gallery, which are painted with infinite detail where you could ever see every blade of grass, as opposed to an impressionist thing. Well, there's room for the Impressionism to a degree. There's room for Impressionism and moviemaking, too. So you don't always have to have the most wonderful sharpest lens like people's different times people come up with these notions that how can we make a camera where everything will be in focus? It's not even desirable. But they want they believe that there is a that needs inventing. There was even untold because it was when I first started Riverside, apparently, that was the period when companies were investing money in things like independent frame, the idea of having stereo optical pictures and not needing more than a piece of set. And then you'd have a photograph of St. Paul's Cathedral behind them. And that's he didn't need to build bead built a cathedral. You just send a stills photographer, whether or the 1212 by 10 camera, take a time exposure about eight hours. And there you'd have your set to see this was the theory. And of course, the result of that even isn't bad, because in time, but they have all those wonderful restaurant restaurants. Because restaurant built rara like the Lancaster bombers, you know, when you look at it, that's what they built like. And

so there's always an offshoot there of that kind of thing. Fairly rarely, because there's no end to that mixture of old and new, basically. But today it's going so fast. I mean, there's the the effects that one sees now that are done. Ordinarily, I mean, a quite remarkable way they're achieved. quite remarkable. And done with digital systems and readily available. No surprises anymore, really. Where I was now named Kelly and Tony and Richard. So yes, yes. Yes.

Well, you know, I guess all this time, I was really just glad to be going on working and being involved on more and more expanding as it were the horizon but

I did finish up of course, going to the states and I did more than one picture in the states and I've done recently a picture which was to me it's sort of I suppose a kind of what I thought would never would I never thought would happen would be to go and do a picture in Hollywood and an MGM but was MGM. Now Sony on stage Which is where Hitchcock's shot North by Northwest. And this year, I was actually the Director of Photography on a picture on that stage. So all those years when it was difficult for me to work in America at all, I was able to finally to work in New York because I was able to, to breach the problem of getting into the local union and 644. But that didn't help me as far as Los Angeles. at all, in fact, it was probably even worse. But this year, of course, I suddenly became acceptable to Los Angeles as well and

finished up actually doing a picture there. What was your reception on the floor? in the state? quite normal? Oh,

there's nothing there was no kind of. I didn't sense any kind of antagonism or any kind of anti foreign being be anti British, anti anything, you know? They, there is a certain amount of that in America, because no more mind you than there is here. As far as, you know, racial things. I mean, Americans Americans are Americans and anybody else's isn't muscling in on their present no worse than there is in Germany, you know, with the with the Turkish contingent.

Unknown Speaker  11:31  
What was the role of the gaffer in the States?

Gerry Fisher  11:34  
Is it very similar to not really no, it's a little rather different. To a degree, it can be the same it depends on the gaffer the certainly the better gaffers here, kind of work the way but in general, quite often in the States, the gaffer really expects to light the set. And I've never done that. I've never had a gaffer, I've always had a gaffer, listen to work in my preparation, and it's been prepared. In the case of something like where you might have a studio set with the backing and psych and something like that, well, having determined what kind of lighting we might need for that he probably had that already light when I walk on the set, and then it just be a matter of my fine tuning, tuning it to a degree, but you see, you're taught that you're talking about something flat, that's, that's not lighting, that's illumination, you see, but a gaffer on an American picture will in fact, feel slighted if he if he isn't allowed to light more than that, inside the set the right amount from the very first lamp, your light, there's some intention in your mind. And you find that that's been removed from you because although they're very good, they become very good because they've been privileged to work with good cameraman. So therefore, there's a shorthand there that said, well, they can draw an experience of having worked with a Laszlo Kovacs almost Sigmund or any of the kind of foreign end American DPS who of course over the years done very fine work I mean comes you know, those pre war dress of the day I mean, I'm embalming all of them because the what they did with what they were limited by then with the speed of the film is quite remarkable. It's so clean, manual, I guess they had longer to do it that way yet. I can remember the first day I spent on the one of the first days on the set, there was sort of like a days pre light allowed. Built in, you know that there was a day we didn't shoot which in which a pre lighting took place. I had never thought sound heard. I've never had a days pre light on us and anything I've ever done. And then I do a huge shot on in America once where I had to prepare a shot in Washington, and Georgetown where the camera starts inside a church. The Doors blow open in a wind and Gale of the camera goes out it's it's steady cam, goes down the steps goes round the street, down the street passes a wheelchair. There's somebody running there's a priest running across a crossroad ahead of you, you go across the crossroad there's a boy standing in the doorway, who you see is holding a red rose, you go on again, you come to another road and the boy is there again and you go on again and you fall down the exorcise steps which were the ones on the original exorcise the enormous thing and I had it as it were blocked in as far as where my life positions I'd been, you know, vandalised it asked for everything and now I had to wait for it to happen. And they got to it took seven hours before I got the lamps in there because there was three hours before I got One lamp or light. That's how long it took. All of which there began of like three and four in the afternoon. But I had to wait for Michael, which is like 6pm until, like 1am. Before I could get the first light, I mean, I've never known anything. That was the biggest, longest I've ever had. And of course, it was complex about three, three generators involved. But they just weren't reckoning on it doing any taking any less than that, you know, which you don't come up against very often. Usually it's does it work economise to the degree that you, you can produce a result much faster than that. And you can't afford to do that either. On a week schedule, if you took seven hours every night to light one shot, that wouldn't make much wouldn't get you very far. That's what used to happen. Oh, trying to look here like pause. Sorry, shall I pause? Yes. Well, first of all, you know, over the many years you've been in the business. From your point of view, what has made life easier for the lighting cameraman? You think?

Well, it's becoming easier in the sense of the improvement in the equipment. You know, certainly much easier. One of the, I guess one of the bad things or side effects has been that because it's become much easier to shoot in real locations. There's far less time in the studios, which is a pity because it's the studios that we learned their craft. And the difficulty about learning a craft in an industry based on love shooting on location is that you never meet another crew. I mean, I used to meet six crews every day, when I was at Shepperton, I would visit all the stages where there's something going on, if I wasn't on a picture, I'd be on outcasts of the islands in the morning and somewhere else in the afternoon. If they were shooting something I'd get, you know, one would stay behind watch some night shooting. And so another picture to come in to see you had it all there. And he would, you could see what was being done. And if you had a half an eye, you could begin to discern some sort of intention there. And today, you go out and you shoot, and you meet a crew you've never met before. And chances are you'll never meet again. And they never meet you again. So you have no time to develop any kind of ongoing comparisons about where you're working. It's just the way it is. And the big problem is simply getting through the day every day, basically. And there's not this overall thing of trying to make recognisably identifiable pictures like say, for instance, the Ealing comedies, they had a wonderful thing holding them together. And it was it was you couldn't do that if you said, let's go and make an eating comedy. Well, let's get a crew. were shooting there, we'll get that crew on, then we'll get next week, we'll get another crew that it wouldn't happen. It would all disappear. Would all it all become lost. And that's the trouble today. You know, when when we used to. We used to play jokes, of course, as well. I can remember there was a picture of shepherd and I was there for a while. Five years, I suppose. And there was always these rumours about because the great thing when you were an assistant earning what you did, then I think I was earning 12 pounds 10 a week. And I think it went up to 15. The last year I was there. Got in I got two pounds 10 a week, which I had to go and ask Lou Thorburn for. And he had a lovely Secretary called Sylvia nice. This used to be and she had an office in the old house right next to his office. And I would ring her up and I say go Can I can I get an appointment to see loose on that? So she said yes. What's it about? Because she was like, she had the nosy she had the filter. So I said, Well, I'm going to try and get some I want to try and get our eyes I've been here for over RT says, All right, well, come over. We'll see what we can work out. So I go over that. And I open the door and she said hello. And she looked at me and she said it's not a good time. I said I'll on out I go walk out tail between my legs. Anyway, I went back again Then she said yes. Yeah. Because he said Why do you want more money all this? You know we have a bit of a game with me. But actually, he did. Give me the increase, which was principally two pounds a week. And that was that was something then? And certainly right the the thing about it was that you'd have this meeting of other crews all the time. I mean, I used to, we used to play cards if he couldn't do anything else would always be there. And Dennis good john Wilcox Tex gave all sorts of people loss in depth all at their different times. And there was a picture which kept coming up as a rumour every summer that was gonna have this big location nobody knew about quite where but they all wanted wanted to be on it when it did happen. So they were just hoping that they wouldn't be on they would be free for it when it came up. So it came up again and and the picture was called the king's general subjects then kings general. So anyway, died away that particular year because I was obviously wasn't going to go in the winter anywhere because nobody got location. And the following spring I suddenly heard this slight rumour they said, they believe the king's generals coming up, but it's not going to go until the summer but it's going to go up and it's going to go on location.

And somebody said it's going to go in relation probably going to go to Spain. So I waited about a week or two to the rumour died down. And then I went over the bar one lunchtime, to have a sandwich and a glass of beer. And from home I brought a Spanish phrase book which I put in my pocket so the top stuck out you could read it and as I carry my drink over the region, my drink like that, it just showed it's Manish rates have not he rumour was back to me in the camera department that afternoon. It's going to Kingston was going to it's going to Spain.

Jerry's on it with no such thing. It never did get made that picture.

One thing I like to ask you about what's your image your attitude to life in cameramen operating rooms for themselves? Well, I think it's largely a matter of the kind of movie. I mean, I do, I've done plenty of operating still, even if I'm doing a commercial and it's really the only practical way to deal with all of the variants that are in front of you. But on the kind of complexities of of the average picture where you need to be. It's, it's, it's not efficient, because if you need to be, for example, maybe you're shooting in a street in Soho flat, second floor and you've got a shot, which looks out the window and there's a car drives out and people get out, you've got to light the street, if it's night, you've got to light the street outside, you're going to light the room you're in and you're going to operate as well Well, you can't do it. If you're if you get down to the street, there's nothing happening at the camera, there's no development of the shot the camera level, if you're in the room, you can't be down the street. So you know you've got to find compromises. And you'll notice actually especially in say German pictures that there is a decided compromise on the complexity of lighting and effectiveness in my view of lighting, because it's it's been designed around something that you can operate without worrying about the lighting because it's not that precise if you're just much more general general and or it's more sort of sketchy to the extent of not worrying about what isn't controlled and the different difficulty there is that the towel starts to wag the dog in my view because you need to watch the shot happening because sometimes even non rehearsal you can see little adjustments that need making and you can't see them if you're operating the rehearsal because you haven't been watching there you've been watching something else. You can't do door you can't watch it all at all. I think it all depends really on the levels of standards that you want to set. And I don't think any of the major works that you see normally but set perhaps I suppose you got to make an exception therefore run. Room with a View in I was operated and lit and more recently the how's the recent one won the Oscar for for light, not for lighting and won it for one a BAFTA award I bet one the

think what it was? Or blank for the moment? Trying to think too many too many directions at once. Well, nevermind, we'll

leave that one. Now, Cutler presented a great problem to you, or has it ever? No. No, I don't think so. Hi, the, I guess. Funny enough. When I say to people, sometimes a day, my first picture was accident. And I said, Oh, that was back. And mine wasn't because it wasn't. But you could be, it could be understood that you'd you've thought it was because it didn't make use of colour in the usual way. I'd suppose I don't, I don't like colour for for colour sake, really. I'm not mad about it, I do. But I do think black and white is, is a more effective medium for concentrating on the essential elements of a story, rather than the same way as if you write a wonderful story, you write it in black and white, and you don't write it in colour. And you don't need to illustrate it in colour either, because what you're doing is really with a book, allowing the person reading it to conjure up his own image. And if it's powerful enough, it could be in colour or not, it doesn't change the effect it has on them. And it can be like that, but the move in is like that with a movie, you know, with. with older movies, where they only had black and white, they succeeded in dealing with that quite comfortably then having a problem. And then you got to the point the other extreme where colour came in, and it was so sort of universal, and so sort of bland, that it's really negative, not as good as black and white would have been. But the difficulty of the basic difficulty of gospel photography and black and black colour, is it in colour, you don't have to worry about similar tones timescales, because the colour is different. And in black and white, you do have to worry about different time scales, even though the colours are totally different. So that's the real difference. But I think it's really largely a matter of how you use light to sculpt the image in the way of the way in which you directly see, when you play when I place lights that I place them to do a specific purpose. And not as some people imagined to make it bright enough for the film. What I'm doing, and I think what most people do is putting the amount of light onto the texture of the surface that I'm mainly good at, knowing where the camera is or the direction is, which is essential. And therefore minute finishes up with something rather than incomprehensible anywhere else. Because if you walk off, or if you walk onto somebody else's set and approach the set from the wrong direction, ie not the camera direction, they won't seem to be any order. So the lighting, and there isn't on my sets, either. The only place the order exists is there in the camera. And that's a point in space, which is so precise, very often that it only is there and it isn't six inches to the left or right because that's where you get that glance off of that piece of wood or of that, you know of that pain surface. And the reverse is true when you might mistakenly think something needs a lot of light, because it's black. And the smallest lamp you've got on the set is the light that's bouncing out of that surface. And it's you switch that on and off, it's a big effect. I would just switch on some of the way one of your major units which is actually lighting more generally, some movement of people wouldn't notice half as much. That's complex. Now what about the use of metres? Well, if I if I have to give up a contrast glass or a metre I would give up the metres before I want to give up the contrast. I find that rather like in the same way as I used to judge distance or judge light and especially if I'm in a situation where I've started a sequence and whenever probably use a metre, but having established that I can readily go on from there without using the metre again.

And in fact, I've done it before where I've had a metre once go in the sea when I was shooting in France one evening and that the shoot that night, and I did I shot that night without a metre. What it is, is that what the metre will do, because it will donate, you'll only read what do you want it to read. I mean, the metre doesn't know what it's what's behind it, if you're reading the light coming from somewhere, it doesn't know whether what you've got in front of is white or black. So there's an anomaly there. And if you turn the metre the other way around, you won't get a reading of a black. And you'll get too much reading for White. So we got another anomaly there. So what I've trained myself to do is to reach the light without a metre, I thought I always like without a metre, always. And I got told off for months by a Belgian gaffer because he says you know, Mr. Fisher, you you don't even know when you're like you don't do your deal. You don't do it correct. Because you shed light your your key light first and measure this for the aperture and then light the rest of the set and measure this a bit you sometimes you begin at the back of the set and you liked and you don't like the front until last and said that not right. Well, it works for me. And, and he was right, never his way. But of course not knowing what motivates me what I will do and have done sometimes is that I need I obviously need an exposure guide of some sort. Especially if I've gone to lunch and not going out to a dark restaurant or I've gone out to sit and bright sunshine and come back inside there. You're never doubly there's got to be a failure. If that one sees that even with your own rushes when the timer goes in the middle of night to go and have go and have food and this canteen which is lit I never know why they do this in labs in those lit with fluorescent lighting. Well how can you Tom I go and eat in a place of Scott wrestler and then go and sit in front of Hazel team and do a great job on timing. He's got to be off. And his natural thing. And this he refers back to his master, you know, it's got to be off because your brain does that I had a set once which I photographed it deliberately as a motive in pitch for Sebastian, we had girls that had nervous breakdowns and they were put in a room which we decided would calm them down if it was done with pink light. So we had a pink ceiling, pink filter, translucent lit through we shot in there girls breaking furniture and all sorts of things, you know, to sort of relieve their their nervous breakdowns and they were decoding and they went into the scanner just drove them nuts, you know. And I was working in this set and looking around the set and I thought myself for these, this pink, it's really fading a bit that can't be a very permanent colour there's going to be a job to keep up this pink look. Because it just looked I think the door to the set was open. And the corridor, which I knew hadn't got pink lighting because it was lit ordinarily with normal lighting sources. The doorway doorway was green. So a lot of that's not green. It's got to be something happening. So I walked off the set and walked around the back and walked down the corridor, which is now has been walking along the corridor is white. I open the door and the set is pink. I go in the room, close the door, go over to the camera, wait for somebody else to come in the door and it's green. So your brain is compensates just the same way you don't need an 85 filter in the day and no filter at night. And there is that time at half light when your eye gives you that bluish look when windows look yellow and the lights looks blue. And then half an hour later it doesn't look yellow in the windows it looks quite normal looks white. But you know your your brain is doing that your brain is just arriving at a conclusion. And to avoid you being Miss directed, it compensates that will do that. So they didn't know that's quite quite an interesting departure when you start talking about colour and that's why different people see different colour in different ways. Now let's, yeah, let's start talking about directors.

Yes.

Unknown Speaker  35:10  
You must have you obviously have a favourite must have a favourite.

Gerry Fisher  35:13  
A favourite? Yeah. Oh, well, I mean, I have to say mostly because he gave me my opportunity to, to, to do my first picture and say he not only gave me the opportunity, the recognise the something in me which I wasn't aware of or nor was anybody else. So he must have been, you've got to give him some credit for that. And our method of shooting films rapidly became very well one could almost a telepathy, because we would talk about like I talked about accident. And he's when I talked about accident having read the script. And I told him in my own version of what I felt the atmosphere of scenes would be not knowing yet how I would do it. But that's what I would be wanting to do. He said, you're doing the picture. And he was able to understand from what I said what I meant, which was a lot of people can't do. Because people are always looking for what they think you mean, rather than what you're saying.

And we developed the shorthand, really, and that we could talk about a film. And then we wouldn't talk about the film anymore, that we're shooting it.

But we would arrive on a set to shoot a certain scene that involves certain essential pieces of action, somebody is in there, somebody comes in, somebody goes out well, that kind of stuff. Which is, which in a way is some sort of discipline because it means you know, if there's a doorway, that's where they're going to come in, and if there's a desk is where they're going to be sitting, and if, and so on. If it's a window, that's that they're going to go and look out if I need to, and maybe they can be make use of it, because it's a way of avoiding eye contact with somebody else. It's a device, of course objectives us. So that, out of all of that we would then have a rehearsal on the set. And we didn't, Losi wouldn't have said, Alright, this is what we're doing scene sounds like you're over here, you're over here. So Let's rehearse. I think he's choice in the act as if he got get meant that what he'd done was in choosing an actor was choosing actors who he felt he could trust to portray that person in that situation in that story. And very often, his discussions with actors about the film wouldn't be about the script at all be about things that weren't in the script. Like saying we're probably your father was a colonel in the Indian Army. And you know, this isn't in the script, no ways of any importance, but it's a sort of a foundation for the actor's creation of a person. In other words, you're not just saying, create from here. There's this underneath, and somebody just couldn't bear with couldn't deal with it. They'd say, Well, he didn't tell me what to do. When he had a V, we chose an actor who we needed to tell what to do. He actually felt he miscast the actor. So having done that, your actors would, because of their instincts, because they're doing their creativity to the kind of people he would choose. They would rehearse. And it's kind of a rough rehearsal. And during that rehearsal, I would be looking, can Joe be looking? And then we'd say let's try it again. And I would move I would move and stand and watch it from over there. Unless he could just look to see me over there. Nobody said anything. Nobody rushed out and make camera marks for people for actors. And then we'll see if our rehearsal now but perhaps at a certain point, when an actor had made a move from there to there. I moved from there to there. Or perhaps Losi would look at me and just move from here to there. And the entire crew was there watching this? And then you'd say to me, Well, okay, Jerry thing you got enough. I say Yeah. They say how long? I say 45 minutes and the crew would say, well, are we gonna have a lineup? I say you just did. I said, Well, we didn't we didn't we haven't got any marks. I said do you want But the camera starts here and it tracks to there. And then when he goes to there go to there. And then we close in at the end and he exits, they say, but we never saw it. So but that's what we get. And that's what we did, really. And they now knew that. But there's the minimum of glances and slight movements of hands, everything else quite amazing. And it was in front of everybody, but completely hidden, completely disguised, not deliberately. But just that he never got the point of making the actors feel that they had to start respecting some other concept, like, too often I see people do I see my own crew doing it sometimes, and I stopped them, they get the camera and they put it in the wrong place. And then they start adjusting the access to fit the camera and I say, your camera's not in the right place. They were correct where they were, it's you that's wrong. Now get in, get what you want, but with them in the positions that they have naturally adopted, because they will do them. Inevitably people orientate themselves to something. Unless there's nothing like a desert, then of course, you've got to some somewhat different, you can do it then on kind of distance. But in a in an in a room, I would see very often Yeah, kind of like a looming difficulty, because of the necessity for some data move around here to do that. And I know that I couldn't contain that in frame.

If I could, I would move the furniture so that they added in depth to travel so far from there, or this would go back so it didn't project so far. And they wouldn't say anything to them. When they came back in, they did the same rehearsal, they would do exactly what you'd want, because the furniture was what they related to you move a chair, they're not going to sit on the floor, you know? So simplistically, one can try to blend together all those different elements, because obviously, they're going to do something that you know, a rehearsal where, which starts off as being positions, which is what they do too much in, in France, where I do what they call a meson sin where the actors are just brought in to take positions. And then only after that, do they rehearse a scene? I mean, that that makes sense to me. This the way that this was done and the way you Josie did it was a much more fluid. Oh, yeah. Yes, it was. It did, of course, revolve around the fact that he was one of the only two operators that he respected. That when I was working as an operator, I was working as an operator, not just as, not as a caring man, I was working as an operator first. And then I would find very often I'll give myself quite difficult lighting problems. I get I'd say, yeah, that's fine. Okay. Oh, wait a minute. I've got to light it. Now. How do I do that? Because I hadn't thought of that. At that time. I was more interested in storage, doing what I thought thought was the best atmospherical move, incorporating all the things that were there, and then when it came to coverage, it'd be the same because Joe would just look at me and you'd say, and I say, yeah, and I've just not and that meant they would be a cut there. There will be a close up there and a close up there. And that would be the only coverage on the scene. And just a shorthand. There is that many directors you do that with Sidney Lumet completely different. I worked with him three times. And he is a little Dynamo, he kind of like he's like a state. He's like a theatre director and he sort of gets his viewfinder and he says the actors because the actors love him, the actors feel very the concentration of everything on them because he sort of says Let me see you there now and oh, they'll come over this way a bit there and he sort of like working on different things. And that works, too. It works in a different way. But he's very, he wants marks for them marks for the camera. He wants this lane he wants the viewfinder he wants to do all like that. And then the preparation of the shot is the point when the technique steps in, but it has to respect his lineup.

Alan Lawson  0:03  
 Side two, right while we in that break viewer suddenly remember the name of Jeremy, Ken's leading lady.

Gerry Fisher  0:10  
 Oh, yes,it was ElsieRandolph. Yes. Just remember that.

Alan Lawson  0:14  
Now let's go. Let's go back to modelmaking. Now in the film, can you remember, you know what the first one you were called on to do?

Unknown Speaker  0:28  
Or I think,

Alan Lawson  0:29  
Jerry Fisher science sex. You got to film you'd rather forget? Oh,

Gerry Fisher  0:41  
I don't know, have I found my other forget who I got a film which I don't readily agree to? I think really, that jumps into my mind as being a totally disturbing experience. I wish I hadn't felt lived up to their promise. For various reasons. And no, I wouldn't really write them very highly, because of that. But no, by and large, I haven't really done the thing, which I've absolutely say, as not one I want to talk about any more. God, that doesn't really ring a bell with me. And I feel however, out of all those phones on my credits, there's nothing there, which I'd say, Well, that was the worst experience of my life. I mean, I don't I don't suppose I So, since I bought in a funny way, I suppose. I can always remember my score report, you know, what was? various subjects? Not all the same, of course. But a lot of them would be

quite good, but could do better? Oh, yes. I can only sum up my career as in films as being, to me an amazing series of achievements, which I didn't expect to make

an awareness that I could have done more. And Annapolis a few things too. So I mean, I that's the way it is. I suppose one of the reasons for that is that I don't basically have some people wouldn't agree with this. They'd say, Oh, you know, you're not like that. But I don't really have ambition to be something or do something I've got to me at the moment, I'm just like, I'm on this today. And I want to give it all like, that's my ambition is to is to do today, as well as I'm able and hope that it's going to be rewarding. Would you like to direct it? Well, that that did come up. I mean, I came up to me in a sense that I would be superficially, people would say, well, you're directing this picture. But of course, I say No, I'm not. I was in fact, doing the camera work. Very often, I was able to see the the lack of direction to the actor, director relationship, and I would be able to intervene with some sort of solution proposal, which was followed grasped and so on. And people who would see that would say, well, you're directing the picture, but because I wasn't because the reality is that if you if you do a picture with if I did a picture with Losi, I would work one way. And if I did a picture of somebody else, I'd work another. Which meant it wasn't me. I was only doing what the director wanted. And it hadn't, but lo see that by doing doing it the way I felt was what he wanted. Another director wouldn't be because he didn't want what I felt the body felt. And what he felt like they sometimes try to impose on an actor, a completely different performance or the actor gives and yet the actor has worked hard to get to create his performance. And he'll he'll do that. And all of a sudden he finds his directors trying to push him towards giving a performance that he wouldn't give. And you see it getting worse and worse after takeoff. And finally the dress settled. Yeah, that's much better, because it's getting closer to what he would do if we were an actor, but he's not an actor. And yet, he insists on that right to, to, to force the actor to do what he says it's a different that's a different concept to it's like the directors that must take the camera and look through the camera and have the camera and design every shot and everything like that. And I know from experience that Most of the really good directors I've ever worked with, didn't do that. They were on the set, they knew we were doing. But they didn't take the camera and become cameraman. Because, after all, if the cameraman and that's what they should do, and they want you to do sometimes what they feel is a very impressive exotic shot, which somehow rather they believe is for the director to decide which, when you going back into old movies, you won't see that quite the same way. But there's no rule about it. I mean, it's just a series of, of strange, amalgams of ideas, some of which inevitably go in one direction, either by force of argument or personality or, or lack of it, or both of them are one or the other. But it came up to me that there I did get involved with a subject quite obliquely where somebody said, they'd read a book, and they wouldn't know if I thought it would make a good. Was it worth making a film? So I read it, and I said, Yeah, it's got possibilities, it would make a charming kind of film. And I said, well, we're getting a writer to write a first draft. And would you mind if, you know, we gave it, you know, you read it when it's done? So I said, Sure. Okay. And they said, Well, anyway, so would you if we are able to get the game? Would you photograph it? So I say, Oh, yeah, I'll be glad to have this kind of subject, I could see a lot of visual element to it in telling the story and establish that thing. So, time went on, and they they asked me to read this, this script writers version of the story, and I thought it missed out on some valuable things. And I wrote it down what I thought. And I also added some things, which I thought could be an extension of the idea that was already began in the book or that they began, but hadn't taken to their fullest conclusion for this possibility because of the because of the ability of film to go off into

uncharted territory. So having done that, they then said, All right, well, we're going to get another draft. And we'd like to read that. And then they said, Well, we've got some interest in doing this picture. And would you come and do a reki, with us safe locations to Italy? So I find myself doing about 2000 mah record. But then they say, look, you know, you've you've been involved with this all this time, why don't you direct it? As I said, Well, I would only do that, if I photograph it as well. Because I'm not looking to become a director. I'll be quite happy to be at to be known as a care man who has directed the film. But I'm not looking at the end of this film to say that's it for those I'm now no longer director of photography, I'm a director, you know, where's my chair? Because that's what most people become directors for just to get that name on that chair, and to be in the same way that when kids play. It's always the same kind of kid that wants to be the king of the castle. There are directors of the future. And I said, Look, I yeah, I'll do it. I'll do both anyway, went through a long, laborious sort of time, which time during which time I had to turn down, among other things, a film where Blake Edwards wasn't very pleased about OLED in order that I was free to do this. Having got to that point, though, the company had expanded all its money on a on a last picture that was way over budget somewhere and they decided they wouldn't make this this year. So that was it from nothing, no have no compensation, nothing. And they've got the script and which I've practically rewrote, right? below me a year later, they come and they say, well, this time, we've got a much better chance because we're going to set it up around two boy actors who were sort of both no one was from Oliver.

Both of them Oliver. And in the same way as they sometimes do this,

this kind of like merchandising, actors and actresses, they say this X Factor, Julie Christie, Alan Bates, you can make the go between an unknown and unknown. You can't make the gap between that was what it was. And so here we were, again, they said, Well, we got a good chance we can set up this time. So I give a bit more time. But they said well, this time you've got to shoot in order to get the ad money. You've got to shoot it in Wales instead of in Italy. And can you find locations or outside? Oh that's gummed up. So I went I'm the guy. And I found these magical locations. Wonderful. Then we had to adjust the story to suit it because they want the same way that situation but it didn't wasn't harmful to it. And finally, we were already there. Again, we were within two weeks of beginning I interviewed actors. I did all let's start with an office in London every day. And Blimey, they didn't do the same thing again. I stopped it just before. And I said, right. That's it. I mean, forget it. I'll just concentrate on doing what I know how to do and to do that. And then it happened to me that commercials I went to France. And they all saying to me, you know, we'd like you to direct it to direct. But what they're really looking for all the time is some. I mean, everybody has a go at it, basically, in France. And here, you get advertising agents that become directors, because they feel they know they've been on the set twice. Well, they know how to direct you know, everybody does. First day most people but some some cases, it's too.

And you find that what they're looking for is some some sort of miracle to happen that you will suddenly exhibit a sort of a quirky, strange advertising, sellable quality to your films, which will identify which they will want. And yet they'll give you to shoot, but they'll give you is a cat food or something like that, you know, where cheese? And it's true, you gotta you got to construct a set and construct a sort of a story plan a board and all that kind of stuff, which I did, and shot them and are they awesome, they were accepted, they were sold, and all that kind of thing, they were fine. But in the end, you haven't got up in the category that they were really wanting you to get to because you haven't gotten the right subject matter to start with. And then I was then I got asked, having already agreed to do some one commercial with one company I've worked with frequently, I suddenly get asked to do a big commercial, really big one. For cetera, in Australia, to direct and photographic. Both. And I said what office? Sorry, but I can't because I have a group. And they said no, but this is directing. And I guess but back to start the people I'll do this, I'm not gonna, you know, my loyalty is that I will do that I can't back out. Because I know they want me to do that. Oh, well, I think you already said he should do he or she can't Yeah, this is really worthwhile said, Yeah, I see that it's a good. It was a good storyboard. It was a good idea was good Mary point of view. I said, but I just can't be in both places at once. So they said, well, when do you have to do this commercial. So I told them, and they said, We can't get it going by them. But anyway, this I called me back. And they said, Look, the the creative the director, the wolves at the client, particularly wants you and wants us to get you. Even if you only go and start the first two days, he wants you to be there to do it. In Australia, not as a director, but as the cameraman that we're gonna get the director is going to be an advertising agent who had ideas to being a director. But the client says we we can't go ahead unless we get you to do the first two days. So I fly to Australia to do two days as the cameraman on the first day shooting and from there went on to got bigger because they refute the there was a animal rights organisation that involved horses and involved horses loose in the city streets. And some couple of shots, which we did, I did. And then the animal rights got into it and said, you know, we can't have you can't do that. And then in Sydney, you can't shoot horses on the streets. So they kind of then shifted the location to Jacksonville in America where they didn't care about. I mean, you could shoot losses in history. So as I get them, you know, where they went and did a couple of more days in Jacksonville and then finally they finished off somewhere else. A couple more days. an exterior thing is horses jumping by camera, and that Are you right? The The upshot of that was that I didn't do on the film one the, it was the best commercial in that year. Of course, it's in France. Not with Martin not but me getting a credit there because the guy that took over for me credit. And I mean, it wasn't a photographic award. Although that was very much part of it. It was the visual. But I don't regret that. And, you know, I just feel I still have arrived the better point because what I did find was that when I started to get into doing two or three, having done two or three commercials to direct, I would then get invited to sort of talk about directing family commercial. Well, now you're in another ballgame. You see, first of all, they want you to go on Monday to a production pre production meeting in Paris. Fine, okay, I get in the plane, I go to Paris.

But on Saturday, they ring and they say, Oh, the agency can't make it can't make it Monday, the clients busy. He's in Switzerland, we have to make it Tuesday. So now you've already allocated Monday, and now it's Tuesday. So you go on Tuesday, the meeting is supposed to be at 10am. The first one arrives, 1130 you missed your flight back, you spend four hours talking about things that they've talked about for six months, I mean, these things have been talked about heading for night, and then they're so fixed and locked into certain conceptual ideas that don't want anything new. They don't even want to listen, you know, they they kind of like want you to somehow confirm what they've said fulfil all of yours, you know. That's the first time you so you come back. Now, suddenly, they say, Well, we've had to change this up, but we want it we have to go and look at locations we've got to go to wherever you know, the dine to see locations. Okay, so you go on Monday, he got to the door door and they drive by road, you come back on Wednesday, we get back here that's now three days gone. And that is fine. Okay, we're gonna shoot, we're not gonna shoot there. Now we're gonna shoot in the studio. So you've got to come over and you've got to talk about the set you y'all need. So he said, Get another plane to go back in have to have a meeting with the art director in French about how you want to set construct that will suit this new concept you then have to be there for the preparation of the set because they don't know what to do or they won't move until you instruct them or accept responsibility for what they do. So you have to be there for that then you start shooting the day after that, you have to have a pre light for which you have to be there early for and so on, and you shoot it and you maybe take a day and a half to shoot it then you have to stay for the editing because you have to wait now a day for the staff to get to the lab and come back and then the agency wants to see it and so on. And then they immediately express opinions about what they think should go in to the thing and you finally do your 32nd edit which they will never automatically approve they will always say well wasn't there didn't you have a shot where where we saw the pack a slightly different and all that kind of stuff comes into it you see and they want to dish the emphasis shifted to the product rather than the by the by the background story and so now you got another day do you have to postponed flight back and all this other the NFL Wait a minute, our director now I'm getting involved in all this stuff is true. They paid me more overall than for shooting that commercial fest the two days I shot it. But divided into the what they paid. By the days, I'd done that I wasn't getting paid more at all I was dollar was doing was shifting out of one mode into another. And as I say it's not that important to me. You know, I didn't get more satisfaction out of having done that. Then doing what I usually do. So who's getting here?

Alan Lawson  19:15  
If you could start again when you want to change course do you think?

Gerry Fisher  19:20  
No, I've enjoyed it all. I don't think I mean, I have to say I think I've had remarkable luck. I mean, I think I've been much more fortunate than I deserve to be possibly maybe not exactly that but certainly more fortunate than others have been and I've seen and enjoyed a lot of the great moments in cinema with some of the great directors and and people and actors. They're all nobody can take that away from me now You know, even though that's not there in in existence, any All, you know, still here as far as I'm concerned, and I still got it. Thank you. Okay.

And as they're quite frightened about their part or where they go, where they're going to forget their lines, or if they're going to get the job and things like that, you know, they tell you all that travels and that sort of thing. You know, sometimes they like to rehearse their lines with you, and, you know, you become friends and I've got all their signed photographs and all that, you know, they're very nice.

Alan Lawson  20:34  
How did you? How did you? How do you go about making somebody?

Gerry Fisher  20:39  
How did you go about it? Why you sat them down and cover them up? So not to be frightened. of them a cup of coffee?

Unknown Speaker  20:57  
Do you do

Alan Lawson  20:59  
is the is the director ever involved? was a director ever involved with you? Or the camera man?

Gerry Fisher  21:05  
Oh, camera man is sometimes involved in a panchromatic film when someone thinks that that you know, but they're very much they might just leave it to you. Because together you get a script. Yes. You know, what the character is supposed to look like and that sort of thing. You know, continuity, of course, you get the same makeup on each day. Over there's an ageing thing, you know, we can start Yeah, and gradually, gradually get older and older and older and that sort of thing, you know, as all that to consider, you know,

Unknown Speaker  21:42  
for

Gerry Fisher  21:44  
very difficult really,

Alan Lawson  21:47  
what has been what was the most difficult kind of makeup for you to achieve?

Ray Morse  21:54  
No, no, don't have a difficult one.

Alan Lawson  22:00  
All right, man. Well, then put it another way, the most complicated if you're like, I don't mean, I don't mean difficult as far as the person is concerned is the concentration they get what the ultimate result. In fact that me obviously you want to change somebody completely. Perhaps.

Gerry Fisher  22:23  
I've never really had a difficult one in

a funny one we did on the Mauritania, as the main cartels killed us and he played two parts. He played a gentleman and Andy's battler played both part and just had to wake him up as the gentleman had to make him up as the Butler and the makeup room was in the stern of the ship and where we assume is in the bowels of the ship. Sometimes we get him up in the bowels of the ship made up of the gentlemen then they suddenly say oh, we want him as the butler. We go all the way back to the gentleman that you know things

most difficult ones really when you get someone that's really go gone off a bit you know some a middle aged you know the eyes have gone on it sort of really gotta try and make them you know a bit young again, you're now

Alan Lawson  23:44  
making yourself

Gerry Fisher  23:47  
I mean, Genevieve Tobin. I mean she was a see eyes are gone a bit baggy and that sort of thing. You know, you gotta make it look. Again natural thing you know. They will fall through eyelashes and stuff. are the most difficult ones really. First Person, first person I ever made was somebody called iPad freshmen. She's the first star ever made.

Unknown Speaker  24:22  
He can't remember the

Gerry Fisher  24:28  
standard map and see the world what it was. She was a star at the time whatever it was in musical something or other was the airmen that is the veteran the made up geogrid roster and you can

Alan Lawson  24:49  
buy while I was doing the walk presumably with

Gerry Fisher  24:57  
Darby and people like that, you know? Do you cook last is stupid Oh

Alan Lawson  25:06  
for years he was Yeah, I met him during the war

Gerry Fisher  25:10  
and I couldn't eat most his own and had to wash the hands to dry a

Ray Morse  25:19  
little hate very small head awesome beside that

Alan Lawson  25:29  
kind of going back over it all which which is the bit that satisfied you perhaps the most

Gerry Fisher  25:43  
satisfied

Do you really every part didn't like was getting out early in the morning and hated their old workman's trying to earn enough to get out to Elstree high mode or something like that and because they all the studios were out in the country in those days was the city of go see I mean, you didn't have time for breakfast or coffee and you had to get a cold studio before they put the lights on you know the studios were freezing cold and now they put the arcs on you know, warm them out you know, he really felt sick and had to do all this artistic work you felt sick you know? shivering we can always now dressing rooms were cold

Alan Lawson  26:45  
which would the worst studio for that was it was it Sound City man it was it was a bit of

Gerry Fisher  26:49  
sound said it was rather nasty and that sounds when

Alan Lawson  26:51  
it had that

Gerry Fisher  26:52  
kernel blood there Yeah, mate kernel blood real kernel all about the stealing of the crown jewels you know, Alan J's he was the second and he was he was a nice man. ip lipscombe was the script reducer script reimagined. He wrote it I think it is Clive of India to the needed that one I like Sound City

Alan Lawson  27:24  
in the old days it was a lovely place because it and then there was a good savatree lovely conservatory that's

Gerry Fisher  27:30  
right if we've ever landed in the restaurant man what was the motto was the restaurant at a waterfall back where the bar was the rest of it real trees net grown and it could serve you with birds and things flitting about their gravel path and stuff slightly

Alan Lawson  27:52  
cut in on that you know one of those press cuttings you showed me It said you know Ray moss of all trades you know you are a master at a lot of them which would you think you were the master of in the best sense of the word of which particular trade

Gerry Fisher  28:14  
model buildings respect sound a lot of patients you know because they had good eyesight nowadays I can do the most meticulous work you know I can do it now of course

Alan Lawson  28:26  
it's still I mean I'm still amazed that happened not to have a heavy me trade proper training. Still yet they were doing these fantastic models I've

Gerry Fisher  28:38  
never had a lesson or anything as I said I left school at 19 I left school at 14 I never learned anything in school either as I say be on the other side as late painter we didn't have come pewter ready retinas and cow calculators and that sort of thing that they do now. I mean if they kept the power off now they cut their blinds or meditate and we had to learn to read and write and add up and all that our brain we didn't press buttons and things to do it.

Alan Lawson  29:16  
Would you like if you could start again? Would you like to change it or change it?

Gerry Fisher  29:20  
Yes. Dirt again I'd like to be a song. I'd love to go into music.

I like being so business generally you know designing, writing music. That sort of thing you know. designing for the story of circuit is what has been on the stage as the sets and things because this word for Lando and Ruby's latest. Did they produce

Alan Lawson  29:56  
did they pay reasonably

Ray Morse  30:00  
No not two ways so steady

Alan Lawson  30:05  
I suppose that was one of the important news days was

Gerry Fisher  30:10  
I was never I was never bothered about money I'll never money personally I live on nothing now.

Alan Lawson  30:19  
I know it doesn't grow on trees

Gerry Fisher  30:22  
well never never did anything for the money and never went for the job that paid the most or went for the jobs that are doing you know, doing job satisfaction, satisfaction turned down all kinds of jobs you know, that pays better, but I didn't want to do it. I've never bothered about money ever. And never wanted to win money or anything. I think a lot of money, man next door is a millionaire. Now I'm a full but I'm happier than he is. is miserable devil. I'm quite happy. Or you know I can make music but he can't. Thanks very much right?

Biographical

Father of Cary Fisher (camera operator)