Month: January 2017

“The Only Way”: Exclusive interview with Norman Wanstall (2017)

Did you know that three years before starring as Solitaire in "Live and Let Die" (1973), Jane Seymour made her film debut playing a Jewish ballerina in a Danish WWII drama?

And that the film, "The Only Way" (1970), was edited by none other than Norman Wanstall, the Oscar winning sound editor of "Goldfinger"?

Introducing 19-year-old Jane Seymour as Lillian Stein - framegrab from "The Only Way" (1970)

In the following exclusive, Norman Wanstall talks about his little-known contribution to Danish film history as an editor on ”The Only Way” (aka Oktoberdage).

”The Only Way” depicts the historical events of the night between 1 and 2 October 1943 when the Danish people saved several thousand Jews from a raid by the German occupying forces.

In her first speaking part, 19-year-old Jane Seymour plays Lillian Stein, the ballerina daughter of violin dealer Leo (Ebbe Rode) and Ruth Stein (Helle Virkner). When the Nazi security police decide to round up all the Jews in Denmark, the Steins are forced to flee. Luckily, their resourceful downstairs neighbour Mr Petersen (Ove Sprogøe) is a member of the Danish resistance and manages to get the Steins out of Copenhagen and to the coastal town of Gilleleje, where fishing boats carry the evacuated Jews across the Oresund strait to neutral Sweden.

Director Bent Christensen also co-wrote the original script for “The Only Way” with well-regarded Danish author Leif Panduro. Their previous collaboration ”Harry and the butler” (Harry og kammertjeneren, 1961) was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Foreign Language Film.

Apart from Jane Seymour and Martin Potter as Lillian's boyfriend, the entire cast of “The Only Way” consisted of Danish actors performing in English. As the story of the Danish resistance operation in 1943 was fairly well-known outside of Denmark, the film's producer, Mogens Skot-Hansen, decided that shooting in Danish would hinder the film's chances internationally. The film was co-produced by Danish company Laterna Film and the American-owned Hemisphere Productions, making the film an official Danish-Panamanian collaboration. Unfortunately, “The Only Way” was not much of a success neither in Denmark (where it was called “Oktoberdage”, ie. October Days) nor abroad.

Norman Wanstall, now aged 81, was sound editor on four of EON Productions' James Bond 007 films from 1962 to 1967. He has long since left the film industry but was happy to share his memories of editing “The Only Way” in this exclusive e-mail interview with James Bond•O•Rama.

Bonus trivia: Since “The Only Way”, two other Danish films have told the story of the resistance operation in 1943: ”A Day in October” (En dag i oktober, Kenneth Madsen, 1991) and ”Across the Waters” (Fuglene over sundet, Nicolo Donato, 2016).

Norman Wanstall at his Moviola editing desk - photo courtesy of N. Wanstall

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