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Zwarte Ruiter

I never saw this one, but it can only have been a disaster.

Cameraman Eddy van der Enden (no relation to Joop!) looked at the first prints of my B/W stills and gently remarked (he was a great understater) That's not the best lab in the world either, huh? I shot them on the, then pretty new and revolutionary, Ilford XP-4 and the guys of the lab were actually complaining there was no grain. Then, later, the producer was raving about how that same lab had managed to squeeze a print out of an, admittedly but for a reason, rather dark, slide; they never seem to have noticed the dust, blotches and splotches the prints had been liberally endowed with.

We shot this in 1984 with cars out of the 50s and much older, which they had not even bothered to give a check-up before we started shooting. For the sake of a few bucks, a potential hit was turned into a sure flop, which became obvious in the first three days on location. We were having lots of real fun working in almost continuous Zeeland rain, pushing stalled cars through the mud to get them on camera like they were running... My beloved Zeiss Planar T-* 1.4/85 grew a fungus spot right in the optical center because of the extreme humidity.

Not that I think this is my best set of stills. Far from it. But then, how could it be?
Even discounting that stupid hat they topped it all off with.

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The sound-engineer, always a potential source of trouble for a shutter-clicker, gave some extra worries away free. It's the old, old, story: he had once had something going with one of the Female Stars, who at this point in her career happened to be more interested in my person, such as it is, and who shall blame her, but that's neither here nor there — there were more symptoms of a rivalry that, in the  normal  show biz way of running things, mostly work out to the good of the production — putting it in a nutshell, it was difficult to work with him. (It was not Kees Linthorst).
The reason this very minor opus was called Zwarte Ruiter (Black Rider) was because there once was a character calling himself the Black Rider, and they were afraid the public would get mixed up, not wishing to go to a movie about a small-time crook. A fat lot of good that was, too (and a lot they knew). Even the crew mostly used to call it De Zwarte Ruiter. The original Black Rider was a bit of a loony coot. One of my many aunts used to run a farm in Mariahout (Brabant) opposite which was a fir wood where we used to play. So did he: he dressed up in a black cowboy suit and walked around in there banging his six-shooters.

The last film I've done stills for and, in many ways, the most amateuristic one; also the one with the highest budget! They did not even know or seemed to care much what it was going to cost when we started. Small wonder it turned out rather expensive. Then, the first look you have at a movie in production is from the stills; so, when the producer is disappointed, who gets the blame? Right.

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