In 1969 while in pursuit of the objectives of my Louisiana film development project (see previous posts) I spent some time with the production of LAST OF THE MOBILE HOTSHOTS being filmed in St. Francisville. I invited my friend, Sid Hanna, to accompany me on several trips to the set. Sid was an amateur photographer and was eager to exercise his newfound hobby. Sid’s photo equipment was top quality. This script was a Gore Vidal adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play. Directed by Sidney Lumet, his principal cast consisted of James Coburn, Robert Hooks and Lynn Redgrave. The cinematographer was the award winning James Wong Howe.
OK, back to the flood story. The count-down was beginning and again I asked Sid to be ready. ..4..3..2..1…. WHOOSH! The cistern was opened and the test went beautifully. The yard, which had been levied to contain the flood waters, suddenly filled and the test was declared a success. I looked over at Sid. Nothing. I said “Sid, you didn’t take a picture?” He said “I’m going to wait til tonight to get the ‘real’ thing. I don’t want to waste any film.” Over-hearing this, Howe said “Sid, film is cheap when you use it; it’s expensive when you don’t use it.” Wisdom from the master and, unfortunately so true. Neither Sid nor I got back out to the set that night. We never got that shot. Sid’s “unshot film” proved to be expensive indeed.