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the most money for the least work I ever earned.
Berlin, the divided city, was kept artificially alive by inputs of money and projects to attract attention. One undistinguished effort was the decision to make one segment of the six-segment film, "The Oldest Profession" in Berlin, in an effort to jump-start the Berlin film industry, which was dying because no one wanted to come to work permanently in that hard-to-reach city, when it was easier and more central to make films in Europe proper.
Since Raquel Welch was an American star in an American film, the company wanted a star American photographer to do the stills. I had had numerous exhibits by then and was approached to do the photos. When I heard the subject and that it was really a vehicle for a big-busted sex symbol of the most ludicrous, to me, kind, I first refused. Then, when they couldn't find anyone else in the neighborhood, the producer invited me out personally and made a huge pitch, offering a lot of money. I insisted that the only way I would do the photos would be if I had a lot of leeway to do them as I wanted, and that I could photograph the whole production of the film for my own use.
He agreed, we signed an iron-clad contract, and I went to work.
Never was I so bored. Making films turuned out to be standing around all day while every little detail was worked out and then filming for maybe a few minutes. The photo of death in the Messraster Photos section is a photo I made of a stored prop while trying to amuse myself in between filming.
But I did take my work seriously and considered Welch a fellow American, for whom I wanted to do the best. So when she appeared in her first costume, with a big bu-bu (a red irritation) on her bosom, I felt I should alert her to have it covered. So when she was brought to me to portraits and I started to shoot, I gently pointed to the abrasion and thought I was doing her a favor . She became very difficult and then distant. I shot some more scenes that morning and then, at lunch, he producer came over to me, very upset, and said
Miss Welch refused to work with me anymore and insisted they fire me. He gave me a check for my whole contract and that was that. And I kept all my film....what few rolls there were.
Out of professional morals, I never did anything with the photos. But now, after 40 years, why not? I have no idea who the other actors are. But the woman with her in this scene really had greater acting experience and 'stage presence'.
More photos will be posted as time permits.
©2009 Mark B. Anstendig. All rights reserved.
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