Memory Lane: My Five Seconds of Fame

Lately I found a DVD of the film I once acted in: In de Schaduw van de Overwinning/ Shadow of Victory (1986) by Ate de Jong. Acted is a bit exaggerated, as I only was an extra. In the mid-1980s I was doing my MA and lived in the heart of Amsterdam, when my eye caught an insert in the newspaper, asking for extras in a World War Two film. In the old Cinetone studios we were dressed and, alas, our hair cut – I had just taken a short Summer cut at a hairdresser. Still too long, the film’s hair dresser judged, so good money down the drain. Moreover, I had to wear a dark cap, so nobody saw my hair. And what’s even more, it is hard to notice me in the film anyway; that’s why I took two captures here.
I played in three shots, all taken at the Jozef Israëlskade, out of which one was killed in the cutting room: me crossing a street and running. I wore heavy, plump shoes, so doing the take various times was quite fatiguing. The other two shots stayed in. In the first shot I stood next to a bridge, throwing stones in the water, while a fake ambulance took a turn and was followed by police in a motor and side-car. Just like the real young boy next to me in the shot, I supposedly had to look like a juvenile, while I was in my twenties; oh well, from a distance you don’t notice, they must have thought, and I never was a tall guy.
In the other shot we were a little bit later in the same scene. The police has stopped the ambulance for a routine check, then discovers the car is freshly painted… I had to ride by on a bike. Apparently there had been no time to transform the bike historically, as I had to cover the bell with my hand and the makers hoped that nobody would notice the rubber tire – gone in Amsterdam by then. A problem though was that offscreen just right of the camera a plastic tape ran, behind which a big audience was watching the spectacle. I had very few meters to stamp on my breaks and stop the bike, or else crush the tape and the spectators. With a quite 1943-like squeek I put my feet on the breaks, probably ruining the live sound recording of the shot…

~ by Ivo Blom on September 10, 2011.

2 Responses to “Memory Lane: My Five Seconds of Fame”

  1. never knew that you had your own film career back in the 1980s: the only time I myself was in front of a camera in those days was when Kees Hin made his film about the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer and that scene never made it into the final cut. I have only one reel of 35-mm of IN DE SAHDUW VAN DE OVERWINNINBG but I suspect it can well be the one containing your 15 minutes of film fame. I will screen it some time in the futiure and let you know if and when you are in my film collection…

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