Gilbert Taylor, the legendary British cinematographer best known for his work on such films as Star Wars; the 1976 film The Omen; and Dr Strangelove has died at the age of 99. Taylor’s wife Dee told the BBC that he had died on Friday.
I was slightly lost. What did a nightclub owner do? I decided that as we were in Holland and that this nightclub served beer, it would sort of be like a pub. If there was one thing I knew about it was pubs and publicans. So we got set up, cameras rolled and… Action! I started wiping down the imaginary bar and polishing imaginary glasses. The delivery man strolls in and I say “Hello mate, you all-right?” Very English old boy. Immediately every head in the room swivelled in my direction. Uh-oh, I thought, I’ve either done something very good or very wrong. Not sure of whether what I had done was either I continued being the English publican for the rest of the scene. When we had finished, the director asked if I would mind very much doing that for the rest of the actors auditioning for the delivery man. So I did…about twenty more times.
At the end of the day, the folks that had been cast were told what they would be doing. When they got to me the director said, “Sorry Michael we have nothing for you today.” Before I could say anything, he finished with,”But Peter liked what you did so much as the nightclub owner, he is writing you a part in the show.” I was flabbergasted. I looked dazedly at Peter and he was nodding his head in affirmation. The director then asked if there was any time when I would not be available for shooting. I said yes, we had a NATO tactical evaluation in the first week of June. My new boss had never gone through one before and I needed to show him how things worked. The director nodded and wrote something in his notebook. “Okay, Michael, thank you. We will call you when Peter is finished.”
I never heard from the director or Peter again. It turned out much later that the time period I was not available for was right when they would be shooting that episode.I did get to work on Van der Valk eventually but not on that episode and in a part not as big or exciting.
- Behind-the-Scenes: Alfred Hitchcock Directs ‘Frenzy’ in 1972 (dangerousminds.net)