Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - 2

Mark Tully speaks to David Lean and his cast during the production of 'A Passage to India' in 1984.

This year, 2008, is Sir David Lean's centenary year. To commemorate the great director - born 25 March 1908 - the British Film Institute is running a David Lean season. Meanwhile, the BBC's Newsnight programme has re-issued Mark Tully's 1984 report from the set of Lean's film 'A Passage to India'. You can watch this 11 minute film online at the BBC website here. On the first page of this report, Mark Tully's Location Report - 1, you can read a transcript and some screen-shots of the documentary. On this page you can see more screen-shots from the documentary, with an emphasis on the locations used in the film.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
David Lean films in the Bangalore Club gardens

These two shots show David Lean by the camera, which is filming the brass band play 'Tea For Two' on the occasion of a 'Bridge Party', put on to bridge the gulf between the cultures of East and West. The location is the Chandrapore Club, in reality it is the grounds of the Bangalore Club, still in use today. The band's conductor, Mr Pereira was once the conductor for the Maharajah of Mysore.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Filming the band in the Bangalore Club gardens

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Preparing for a take on the Adderley Viaduct

This sequence of shots show the crew filming the 'Marabar Express', as it journeys from Chandrapore to the Marabar Caves. In reality it is a repainted locomotive on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, that runs from Coonoor to Ooty. This location, one of the most scenic of the journey, is the Adderley Viaduct. The Marabar Express is filmed crossing the viaduct at the moment when Dr Aziz makes his way along the running board on the outside of the train to inform Mrs Moore and Miss Quested that they are nearly at the station for the Marabar Caves. Miss Quested is understandably alarmed to see him on the outside of the train (there are no corridors on this narrow gauge railway) but Dr Aziz shrugs off her concerns, boasting 'Look, I am Douglas Fairbanks'. For younger readers, I should explain that Douglas Fairbanks was a popular American actor of the 1920's, famous for his swash-buckling roles in movies such as 'The Thief of Baghdad', 'The Three Musketeers', and 'The Mark of Zorro'. He later went on to found the film company 'United Artists'.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Waiting for the train on the Adderley Viaduct

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The train approaches the Adderley Viaduct

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Filming on the Adderley Viaduct

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
View from the Adderley Viaduct

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
A re-painted locomotive of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Filming as the train climbs over the Adderley Viaduct

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Filming Miss Quested on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Judy Davis leans out of the first Class carriage

More photos and a full description of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway can be found on my NMR page.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Filming Victor Bannerjee as he hangs from the train

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
'Look, I'm Douglas Fairbanks' cries Aziz

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
'Look, I'm Douglas Fairbanks' cries Aziz

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Interviewing Victor Bannerjee

This shot shows Victor Bannerjee, who plays 'Doctor Aziz' in the film, being interviewed by Mark Tully. Unfortunately, Victor is rather obscuring the building in the background, which I suspect to be the palace of the Maharajah of Mysore, located in Bangalore. It was the main base of the film company in India during the production, and its vast grounds were used to create a number of sets, including the Chandrapore Bazaar. See more details on my Chandrapore page.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
David Lean and Mark Tully

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
They walk across the Bazaar set in Bangalore

This series of shots are especially interesting, as they show Lean and Tully walking from what appears to a largely unused area of land to the set that Lean constructed for the Chandrapore Bazaar, which features quite prominently in the film. I assume that this land is all part of the grounds belonging to the palace of the Maharajah of Mysore, located in Bangalore.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
This set was specially constructed for the film

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The Chandrapore Bazaar set in Bangalore

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Lean and Tully walk through the Chandrapore Bazaar set

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Lean and Tully walk through the Chandrapore Bazaar set

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
David Lean talks about his movie 'A Passage To India'

Mark Tully interviews David Leans on the set that Lean constructed for the Chandrapore Bazaar.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Interviewing on the set for the Chandrapore Bazaar

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Interviewing on the set for the Chandrapore Bazaar

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Filming in the grounds of the Bangalore Club

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Filming in the grounds of the Bangalore Club

More shots filming the brass band play 'Tea For Two' on the occasion of the 'Bridge Party', in the grounds of the Chandrapore Club; in reality the grounds of the Bangalore Club, still in use today. The band's conductor, Mr Pereira was once the conductor for the Maharajah of Mysore.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Band-master Pereira conducts 'Tea For Two'

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Band-master Pereira conducts 'Tea For Two'

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Location Caterer's truck

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Cooking for the cast and crew

A series of shots that show a seldom-seen aspect of movie making: the location caterers preparing and serving food to the cast and crew. Mark Tully tells us that this 'army from England' imported much of their own food, including kippers for breakfast.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Serving food to the cast and crew

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
David Lean stops for a bite to eat

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The cast and crew take a break for luncheon

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Keeping up with the paperwork on Coonoor station

Keeping up with the paperwork. There were no computers in those days, so a travelling type-writer was an important part of any secretary's equipment. Here we see a temporary work area set up against one of the pillars in Coonoor railway station. The scenes that follow were also shot at Coonoor. You can see more photos and details of this location on my Coonoor page.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Indian police on Coonoor railway station

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Costume adjustments on Coonoor railway station

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Closeup of the Marabar Express

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Closeup of the Marabar Express

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Closeup of the Marabar Express

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
David Lean on set in Ooty

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
David Lean on set in Ooty

Filming at the Polo grounds in Ooty, short for Ootacamund. This hill station in the south of India is now called Udhagamandalam. You can see more photos and details of this location on my Civil Lines page. This scene shows a conversation between Adela Quested and her fiancÚ Ronny Heaslop, played by Nigel Havers. Miss Quested is unsettled with what she has seen here, and has decided to call their marriage off.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
View of the countryside at Ramanagaram

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
View of the countryside at Ramanagaram

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
View of the countryside at Ramanagaram

This series of shots show the location used for the upper series of Marabar Caves, situated near to the town of Ramanagaram. There were no caves here, so Lean needed to construct some. This controversial event is explained in greater detail on my Marabar Caves - 3 page. Of interest here is the fact that the camera sweeps across the surrounding countryside, showing that the location used for the 'upper caves' is not, in fact, on top of a mountain, but fairly near the base of the hills, and next to a convenient access road. If you compare the photos with ones on my Marabar Caves - 3 page you will also see that the cliffs shown in the film were magically heightened by use of camera-matte techniques.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
View of the countryside at Ramanagaram

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The camera pans to where the cave were filmed

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Here Lean created his own Marabar Caves

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Here Lean created his own Marabar Caves

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Natural rock, before the camera-matte was added

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Natural rock, before the camera-matte was added

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The site for the upper caves, 25km from Savandurga

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The site for the upper caves, 25km from Savandurga

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The false caves are created

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Looking out of the false cave entrance

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The false cave entrance, just 1m deep

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The camera pans along the line of cave entrances

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The camera pans along the line of cave entrances

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The camera pans along the line of cave entrances

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The camera pans along the line of cave entrances

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The camera pans along the line of cave entrances

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The camera pans along the line of cave entrances

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
The camera pans along the line of cave entrances

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Interviewing 'Mrs Moore' at the Club

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Extras waiting at Coonoor Station, on the NMR

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Extras waiting at Coonoor Station, on the NMR

Back at 'Chandrapore station', in reality Coonoor station on the NMR line, we see a group of extras waiting for the return of the Marabar Express, bringing Doctor Aziz's picnic party back from their adventure. Word has got out that an 'incident' has occurred, and all are present to see the arrest of Doctor Aziz.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Marabar Express returning to 'Chandrapore'

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Marabar Express returning to 'Chandrapore'

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Marabar Express returning to 'Chandrapore'

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Extras on Coonoor Station platform

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
They wait for the return of Aziz and the picnic party

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
David Lean filming at Coonoor railway station

Some shots of David Lean at the eyepiece of the camera as they shoot the scene of the picnic party's return from the Marabar Caves. The final shot is, I suspect, taken from the top of the coaling gantry at Coonoor, there being no foot-over bridge at this station.

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
David Lean filming at Coonoor railway station

Copyright - Newsnight Gold: Lean's Passage to India - BBC
Crowd scene filmed at 'Chandrapore'

 

Web design by MapAbility.com   ::   All rights reserved   ::   All images and pages on this site, unless otherwise mentioned, are © 2004 - 2017 by Tim Makins

spacer (1K)