it can get dark in
AKA My Nights with Everybody But You
Willeke van Ammelrooij
Pim de la Parra, 1975
The seventh feature film I worked on, and the last one for Pim de la Parra, for reasons that will become clear soon enough.
You may notice that the stills somehow look different; maybe, shall I say, even better? This is not only because I used Kodacolor-X made in Rochester, the real stuff (see Alicia), but also because we had more-power-to-him Fred Petri as light engineer. He also did the work we shot in Holland for Dakota and Mens-Erger-Je-Niet!. He always came up with more light than the cameraman asked for, much to my delight. Often, he was asked to take it away again, but still I also had less reason than usual to complain about the Quality of the light.
The last film I did for Pim, right. Except I printed the stills for Wan Pipel, for which he still owes me. He did not like at all what I was doing. After the shooting was over, he made an appointment with me in a bar where he was waiting (unknown to me) with two photographer friends of his, who were to take a look at my work and criticize. One of them was Philip Mechanicus, the other one wasn't bad at all, either. To his obvious disappointment (and my carefully less obvious gloating) they very obviously thought the stills were just great.This movie turned out a really terrible bore and the stills make it look much better than it really is, if it's only me saying so.
Didn't help me one bit, of course. I had already run into other problems when, on the set of Mens-Erger-Je-Niet! where he acted in, I showed Pim the first lab results. There's a photographic darkroom in the film, and these always have red light in movies, just like they always show moonlight as blue. (Technicolor complained the red bulb did not look lit - they were right and I, having noticed long before, cropped it out). Anyway, labs always try to filter this red out, and I told Pim this would be taken care of in the final prints. Pim said the prints were fine, why do that? I just couldn't make that out, until Wim took me aside and explained the guy was color-blind. Small wonder he went on making B/W films long after even Kurosawa and Billy Wilder had stopped doing so: he just couldn't see the difference. But, somehow, it's not macho to be color-blind. Anyway, it does explain Pim loved what later was introduced as so-called colorization: he just couldn't see the difference.
Ironical enough, people tell me it's among my best sets. But that, again, didn't help at the box office.
Nor did it exactly help my relationship with Pim.
the make-up dept
used buckets of green paint
for those corpses
Director - Pim de la Parra Jr.
screenplay - Hans van Dongen
Charles Gormley/David Kaufman
Harry Kümel/Carel Donck/Pim de la Parra Jr.
camera - Marc Felperlaan
camera assistant - Anne Taverne
sound - Kees Linthorst
light - Fred Petri
make-up - Ulli Ullrich
stills - Harrie Verstappen
art direction - Inge van Santen Kolff
location manager - Oscar de Waard
catering - Kathy Page
props - Cedric Vonk
editor - Jutta Brandstaedter/assistant Hans van Dongen
mixing - Peter Vink, Cinetone
production secretary - Guusje Prent
assitant director - Olga Madsen
assistant producer - Jan Musch
executive producer - Frans Rasker
composer - Elisabeth Luytens
conductor - Philip Martell
producer - Wim Verstappen
Technicolor/Techniscope, 85 min
$corpio Films 1975
Willeke van Ammelrooy
Hans van der Gragt
Marja de Heer
Serge Henri Valcke
Marieke van LeeuwenWhat do I care, I'll never write one of those reminiscing books so I might as well tell you some more outright lies here, apart from those concerning Pim inviting my colleagues to criticize my work and his denial of his color blindness.
At one point, Pim asked me to go to Suriname with actress Loesje Hamel to stay there in an injun village for a year. The idea was that the character finally played by Willeke van Ammelrooij was a photographer, and that her farm interior would be plastered all over with her injun pictures, which I was supposed to make. Naturally, we never went there. In the first place because Loesje Hamel, as I was told much later, just made appointments to discuss the project with Pim, with the firm intention not to keep them. He never could take the hint. I, on the other hand, still don't know Loesje Hamel; so was kept wondering what was holding things up. Finally Wim told me I was out of my mind to expect this ever to go through; didn't I realize I was much too handsome a guy to be taken to Suriname by Pim for a year with Loesje Hamel? When Pim heard this opinion expressed, he got mad—what else did you expect?. What a bloody show-biz nonsense tale.
Another one: you may have noticed these two nude chicks fighting a guy in a shack. That shack was built on purpose (it had to be burned later), and freshly painted - not with dark brown water paint, but with creosote, or, in European lingo, Carbol[in]eum; this stuff has long since been banned. Then the crew had to go in there and shoot, with hot lights boiling that stuff away to vapor. We all complained about burning skin later; small wonder. If one of you fellow crew members develops skin cancer, I strongly advise you to sue. The awful conditions of circus work.
The Great Director
& his not-so-great career
Pim had this habit of often choosing homosexuals for his stars. For some reason; maybe the Loesje Hamel story is a cue. Anyway, now this guy really couldn't act. At all. Ask sound engineer Kees Linthorst how he pronounced the Dutch word "voortdurend". Caterer Kathy Page one day whispered in my ear (yes, we were pretty close): "Look at lover boy walking around, catching his every reflection."
Marja de Heer
and a really nice chick she was
AKA The Old Has-Been
Photo by Pim de la Parra
(credit where credit's due)
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