Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tony Russel's first movie in Europe

From: Tony Russel Our Man On Gamma 1
The Wild Wild Interview
by Michael Barnum
Video Watchdog No. 128 Dec/Feb 2007
What was you first picture in Europe?
The first one was THE LAST CHANCE [LA LEGGENDA DI FRA DIAVOLO, 1962]. Giovanni Addessi was the producer and Leopoldo Savona directed. Savona had seen and loved WAR IS HELL so when I met him, I did not even have to read for the part! I worked on THE LAST CHANCE for about nine or ten weeks in Yugoslavia. In fact, they took the excess footage from this film and made another picture [L'ULTIMA CARICA, 1964] out of it. I understand that Haya Harareet, who was my co-star in THE LAST CHANCE, sued the filmmakers because they didn't call her in to film additional scenes, as they did with me, for this second film. I went back and shot for another couple of weeks and they were able to make this whole other movie out of the footage.
This would have been your first experience of acting with a big international cast, I imagine.
There were Yugoslavian actors, Spanish actors, Italian actors. There was also a Swiss actor in it named Mario Adorf, who I think is still working in films. When I worked with Mario, he was studying the script to A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE; he was going to be playing the Marlon Brando role on the stage in Germany. Mario spoke German, I was speaking my lines in English, the Italian actors were speaking in Italian, and there were Spanish speaking actor in it also. There were three or four languages going on all the time.
I would think that could get confusing!
Those who spoke Italian I could understand; at least I could get my cue from them easily enough. But if they could not understand English, then they would get their cue from the director, who would point to them as I finished my line. There was another actor in the film named Amedeo Nazzari, sort of an Errol Flynn type. I was doing a long scene with him and this happened to be my first scene in my first Italian film. As we were doing the scene, I saw a glaze come over his eyes. In the States, if you mess up or forget your line, the director yells "Cut!" and you start all over again. But over there, to economize, they don't stop. Amedeo was saying his lines in Italian and, when he forgot his next line, instead of stopping, he started reciting numbers! Uno, due, tre, quattro... I started laughing and the director, Leopoldo, asked me what was the matter. I told him that Amedeo had started counting. Well, Leopoldo explained to me that the actor knows how long the speech should be and it is all going to be dubbed over into Italian anyhow, so it doesn't matter. So, if trains go by or planes fly overhead, of if someone makes a noise during filming, nobody ever says "Cut!" They didn't care, because a new soundtrack would be dubbed in over it.It took me a while to get used to that, but then I realized that, when these people came to the set, they were really prepared. They looked at the script and they knew approximately what they needed to say and when. If it didn't come out right, they just started counting numbers, but keeping the emotions there. When they stopped counting, that was my cue to say my line. It was really strange at first.

1 comment:

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