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Andrew Laszlo - "Rats, helicopters and snowfall"

Andrew Laszlo
The helicopter on a giant lazy Susan made out of 1,000 tennis balls
Filming at
"Othello Tunnels"
Andy Laszlo strapped on a plank of wood and dangling from the edge of the canyon
Don't try this at home!
Andrew Laszlo, Brian Dennehy and other members of the film crew
A relaxing break!
The 2 filming pros understood very well on the set
Andrew Laszlo and Sly!

Andrew Laszlo (1926 - 2011)

I want to use this occasion to introduce the man to you whose creativity and acquired experiences of more than 50 years of filming helped to make the movie what it finally became. "First Blood" Cinematographer Andrew Laszlo has filmed more than 30 movies (among others "Southern Comfort" which is one of my favorites). He's written many interesting books (eg. "Every Frame A Rembrandt" , "It's A Wrap" which give infos about First Blood) about film-making and gives exclusive insights in the creation of his projects.
After a sudden illness diagnosed mid-year, he died at his home on October 7, 2011 in Montana, age 85. I will miss him!

Here's an overview of his projects

  1. Newsies (1992)
    ... aka Newsboys
  2. Ghost Dad (1990)
  3. Star trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
  4. Innerspace (1987)
  5. Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) (director of photography)
  6. Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)
  7. That's Dancing! (1985)
  8. Streets of Fire (1984)
  9. Thief of Hearts (1984)
  10. Love Is Forever (1983) (TV) (director of photography)
  11. First Blood (1982)
    ... aka Rambo: First Blood
  12. I, the Jury (1982)
  13. The Funhouse (1981)
  14. Thin Ice (1981) (TV)
  15. Southern Comfort (1981)
  16. "Shogun" (1980/II) (mini) TV Series
  17. Shogun (1980/I) (TV)
  18. Top of the Hill (1980) (TV)
  19. The Warriors (1979)
  20. Somebody Killed Her Husband (1978)
  21. "The Dain Curse" (1978) (mini) TV Series
  22. Hunters of the Reef (1978) (TV)
  23. Thieves (1977)
  24. Countdown at Kusini (1976)
  25. Miracle on 34th Street (1973) (TV)
  26. Class of '44 (1973)
  27. The Man Without a Country (1973) (TV)
  28. To Find a Man (1972)
  29. Jennifer on My Mind (1971)
  30. The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)
  31. Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
  32. The Out-of-Towners (1970)
  33. Black Water Gold (1970) (TV)
  34. Popi (1969)
  35. Teacher, Teacher (1969) (TV)
  36. The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968)
  37. You're a Big Boy Now (1966)
  38. The Beatles at Shea Stadium (1966)
  39. One Potato, Two Potato (1964) exclusive: Photos from the filming set, taken by Andrew Laszlo himself

A exclusive Interview with Andrew Laszlo:


Dear Mr. Laszlo I've got some very special questions concerning some of the filming locations of "First Blood". My first one: How did you get up that cliff, where you were hanging in that "Goldberg contraption"? I've also been at that Othello Tunnels and I've no idea how to get up to that ledge
Andrew Laszlo:

Dear Oliver, I visited your Rambo website briefly and found it very extensive and interesting. Now to your questions: In the early stages of the filming, a path was created but it was extremely rough and difficult. In many sections one could only get up to the location by using ropes. Later, a much longer, round about way was found, but it was still difficult, particularly as every piece of equipment, photographic, grip, lighting, etc. had to be hand carried.

How did you make the 5 Othello Quintette Tunnels "invisible". When the stuntman is falling down, there must be a tunnel right next to the tree where he's landing. Did you darken the filming material in the studio later?
Andrew Laszlo:

There was a tunnel, though my recollection after all these years is somewhat hazy, near the 'Lazy Susan' shoot. We had to walk in over a fairly long distance, again carrying equipment. I believe the location where Rambo falls from the tree was also near this location, but further from the tunnel. I don't recall five tunnels, but I do recall this one. In the course of filming any movie, at times there are unwanted items in the frame that have to be dealt with. This is not particularly difficult to do in the woods. Unwanted objects, terrain can be relatively easily camouflaged on the site, at the time of the shoot. Many such things can also be corrected in post production, but nothing of this sort was done in Rambo.

Have there been any shots in North Vancouver or Vancouver Island? That's what some Hope locals told me.
Andrew Laszlo:

We did a lot of the work in the City of Vancouver. Most interior sets were built in an enormous warehouse we used as a studio. The cave and the abandoned mine and the interior of the first aid tent for example were shot here.
Where have you filmed that bar scene? In the Vancouver studio or in Hope BC?
Andrew Laszlo:

The bar scene was shot in a real bar. Frankly I don't remember the exact location. A car would pick me up at the hotel, drive me to the location and take me back to the hotel after work. The same thing applies to location scouting. I was driven to all locations, select one, at times a backup as well, and then be driven back to the hotel. Most of the time I wouldn't even know where the actual sites were located. In the early, preparation stages of the production, while I was still living in Vancouver, we would spend hours of going from location to location, and sleeping most of the time in between...

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer all my questions! Now my knowledge of "First Blood" got a boost!
( I did this interview on July 25, 2005 with Mr. Laszlo. Oliver Wegner )