One days extra work....

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harryfielder
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One days extra work....

Post by harryfielder »

In 1966 I did one days extra work as a passerby on Roger Moores ''The Saint''
I stayed in the biz for the next 32 years as a Supporting Artist//Bit Player.
I got to learn all aspects of film and tv making and retired in 1998 from the biz.
After surviving Colon Cancer in 2004 I decided to write about my life in the biz so I could leave my memories to my grandkids... Well five years later and now cancer free I'm still writing.
There is now talk of turning my web story into a book :roll:

If you have any questions I will gladly anwer them on here among film makers.

People call me....

Aitch..(H)
harryfielder
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Re: One days extra work....

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1972

FRENZY…Director…Alfred Hitchcock…
I am now working with the Master of filming.
Where I was born in Islington London, there was a huge warehouse type building on the corner of the Grand Union Canal in New North Road. (Very near the North Pole Pub)
It was in fact a film studio. As a kid in the forties I used to swim in the canal as it cost nothing entrance fee. (You had to watch out for the large Mocking birds floating on top of the water)
I think the studio was called Gainsborough and as a kid I remember strangely dressed people popping into the pub on the corner of New North Road and Elizabeth Avenue. (Supporting Artists of the past)
Anyway, that’s where Alfred Hitchcock made many of his films.
(I could have bumped into him while I was going swimming and he was popping in for a swift half. It’s a small world)
ONTO THE FILM…
I was now the not so proud owner of an old Bedford van and was booked by the 2nd A.D. on Frenzy to report to Covent Garden fruit market for the start of a weeks work...
There must have been fifty supporting artists working that week as market porters.
It was thirty years ago but some people still come to mind, like Big Mo Dunster who was stand/in on films for Donald Sutherland. Jimmy (the crow) Hammilton, Eddie Dillon And Bill (the body) Hemmings.
I remember the day that Donald Sutherland came down to speak to Mo about a private matter and got into one of the shots.(Everyone wants to be in a Hitchcock movie)
Mo has done well for himself and now lives in the U.S.A. looking after the Sutherland clan. Best wishes Mo, love Boysie.
Mr. Hitchcock was not very well while he was directing this film and would line up all the shots he wanted and leave the running around to his 1st A.D. (Colin Brewer, I think)
We filmed all around the market for the next week or so loading vans and unloading vans (Including my old Bedford) but I was more interested in watching the Master at work. Then near the end of the shoot in the market it happened.
The Master looked at me then at the 1st A.D. and said…
‘’Tell that man to climb up on that lorry and start unloading it’’
(‘’That man’’) he said my name, I was being directed by the great man himself.
We shot a lot of the inside of the film at Pinewood. Then some stuff with the Bedford Following a potato lorry up and down major roads and that was it.
I was sorry to see the end of the filming but it’s one film I will never forget.
If you’re looking down from that great studio in the sky Mr. Hitchcock ‘’That Man’’ will say hello when he gets there.
Aitch,
harryfielder
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Re: One days extra work....

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RAGTIME…Director Milos Forman…
Cast Inc… JAMES CAGNEY…Pat O’Brien…Donald O’Connor…
This cast is a blast from the past…
We film for a few days at Oxford and for me it doesn’t get any better than this.
The scenes are interior of a big office and I’m dressed as a US cop.
Pat O’Brien came onto the set first and shook hands with many of the Supporting Artists (Including me) ‘’How are you son, you look good’’ he said..
Well that’s the best way for me to start the day because now I felt good that this man had taken time to welcome all of us.
Pat moved around the room chatting to cast and crew alike and we were all waiting for the main man to arrive on set..
The noise was quite deafening until someone said ‘’He’s here’’.
You could have heard a pin drop as the main man entered the set.
Everyone stood and applauded and waited for James Cagney to take his position on the set before silence resumed.
There they were in front of me my two heroes of the black and white days of cinema.
I think I’ve seen every film that James has made (Some of them many times)
I feel sorry for the kids of today that never got to see he’s early films and think a good film today has to be bombarded with special effects to make it work.
Let me list some of films of James Cagney to let the kids of today and tomorrow know what they have missed.
The Public Enemy (1931), Scarface (1932), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), White Heat (1949). Then in the 50s Love Me Or Leave Me (With Doris Day), Mr Roberts. (With a young Jack Lemmon).
I could watch all these films again and never tire.
This was to be James Cagney’s last film and I would like to say, thank you Mr Cagney for entertaining me for so many years.

Aitch,
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billyfromConsett
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Re: One days extra work....

Post by billyfromConsett »

Hi Aitch
Good to have you with us. It's nice when people who have been on the big screen, working with the famous and talented, still find time to even talk to us hobbyists and non-commercial movie makers.
You sound like just the kind of bloke who would be a superb subject in documentaries about British film-making.

My questions are - have you made some of your own movies, and put them on Vimeo or Youtube? And are there any celebs taking part in your own work?
harryfielder
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Re: One days extra work....

Post by harryfielder »

billyfromConsett wrote:Hi Aitch
Good to have you with us. It's nice when people who have been on the big screen, working with the famous and talented, still find time to even talk to us hobbyists and non-commercial movie makers.
You sound like just the kind of bloke who would be a superb subject in documentaries about British film-making.

My questions are - have you made some of your own movies, and put them on Vimeo or Youtube? And are there any celebs taking part in your own work?
Hello Billy,
I used to be a stand/in on many shows in my early days in the biz which means you're on the show for weeks/months and you work with the Artist and the director. The artist would go through the scene with the director and I would watch the every move. When Artist and director are happy with the moves they step down and I would then do all the moves so the scene can be lit and cameras placed in the right position..It could take an hour or more...Today it is much quicker to light.

This was Randall and Hopkirk...1968...1969.....

Directors…Roy Ward Baker…Ray Austin…
Jeremy Summers…Les Norman………………..
Cast Inc…Mike Pratt…Kenneth Cope…Annette Andre…
Central Casting sent me to A.B.P.C. Studios to do some tests on a series they were about to make. It was tests for special affects to be tried out such as walking through walls etc.
I was to be Randall and a chap called Doug Lockyer was to be Hopkirk.
We did the tests over a period of a week and the following Monday the series got going for real..
I was asked ‘’Would you be a stand/in for Mike Pratt if he gets on with you..’’
Now I’m going to say no to a years work. (Not)
We got on like a house on fire from the first day. Mike told me that he and Lionel Bart wrote all of Tommy Steel’s early songs, (Handful Of Songs, Rock With The Caveman and many more)
With all the years I spent with the bands we had something in common.
We used to have a sing a long in the dressing rooms or where ever we could.
Douglas stood/in for Ken…
We did twenty six episodes over the next year and Mike, Ken and I became good friends.
I would read the other actors lines in the script so Mike could learn his.
Every two weeks we would get a new guest cast and I really wish I had saved all the call sheets with all the cast names on. I wonder how many went on to greater things.
One I do remember was a wild looking man called Dudley Sutton.
He went on to play Tinker in Lovejoy and we still send cards at Christmas time.
(Merry Christmas Dudley, it saves a card.)
Every episode I would have to double for Mike for his driving shots or walking in and out of London buildings. We used a second unit camera team (small crew) for this as it was better for Mike to be in the studio saying the words.
Although I appeared in a few crowd scenes during the series my claim to fame are those immortal words I say to the onlookers as Hopkirk is run down by the bad guys car.. I compose myself and utter ‘’He’s dead’’
I had a few fan letters in after that scene was shown on TV suggesting I go back in the timber game.. (It wasn’t even my voice, it was dubbed..)
When Mike had days off I had to find other film jobs to do.
We was only paid £5 a day and you only got paid if you worked
Lucky for me they were making other series in the studio and I would go in the bar and find an A.D. from Department S. or the Avengers and see if they could use me for a couple of days till Mike was back. So look out for me in other series playing a French/German/Spanish/American cop/waiter/soldier/sailor/crook etc…
I’ve been all around the world but I’ve never left English shores.
We finished shooting the series in 1969 and had a huge party to celebrate.
(It took me a week to get over it)
I’d like to say hello to the three main Stuntmen on the show, Rocky Taylor, Les Crawford and Frank ( Elstree Cowboy ) Maher.
Also my best regards to all the crew for making it a wonderful year.
Image

MIKE…AITCH…KEN…1969.
MIKE PRATT DIED IN 1976…LONG LIVE MIKE PRATT…

Aitch,
I still love to talk about the biz and have many happy memories....If you film it someone will watch it.
harryfielder
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Re: One days extra work....

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AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON…Director John Landis…
Central Casting must have sent 200-300 people down to Piccadilly for a night shoot on this production.
None of us knew anything about the scenes we were going to be involved in so we just hung around coffee bars (Or other bars) chatting and having a night out in The West End.
About 1 o'clock in the morning the production team gathered us all together and told us the scenes they were about to do. (You ain’t gonna believe this).
A WEREWOLF is going to be running out of a cinema in Piccadilly Circus straight across Eros causing cars to crash and have people falling out of bus windows.
(I’m thinking this will do the tourist trade the world of good)
On a cue from the 1st A.D. the real police clear the roads of all late night Joe Public.
The Central Casting crowd are all given places to stand and out of the woodwork comes our buses and cars and stunt people. We’ve got permission to hold up traffic for half an hour and John Landis had multi camera crews covering every angle.
It was over as quickly as it began and as soon as the camera’s stopped rolling the wrecking crews were in there clearing the wrecked cars and sweeping the streets clean again. An hour later it was like we’d never been.
(See the film just to see this sequence)
Well done, John Landis…

Aitch,
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billyfromConsett
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Re: One days extra work....

Post by billyfromConsett »

Can you see yourself in the finished movie?
harryfielder
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Re: One days extra work....

Post by harryfielder »

billyfromConsett wrote:Can you see yourself in the finished movie?
Billy It was such a made scramble to get the shots in the can in the half hour that the real police held the traffic and punters away that you just got fed into shot by the A.Ds.
Don't forget it was a night shoot with 300 extras and the cameras were focust on the Werewolfe..
I don't think I was seen...But we all still got paid.....Another day, another dollar... :roll:

Aitch,
harryfielder
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Re: One days extra work....

Post by harryfielder »

We filmed some of this in St Albans town hall....

1997

WILDE…Director…Brian Gilbert…
Cast Inc…Stephen Fry…Jude Law…Jennifer Ehle…
We filmed at St Albans Town Hall Herts. over the weekend and when I was queuing up for breakfast about 7 on the Saturday morning Stephen Fry was drinking tea and chatting to some production staff..
I have never seen an actor look so alike to the character he was playing.
Stephen Fry was Oscar Wilde.
I sat in a courtroom for the two days and listened to the long speeches the actors were spouting and again thought how do they do that?
Thinking back to the films I watched as a young man Stephen’s work reminded me of Henry Fonda’s Abe Lincoln, Rod Steiger’s Scarface.

Aitch,
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