Bearing Witness To History: A Few Minutes with Lou Barlia and the Shooting of a ‘Love Story’

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Interviews, Movies by - March 23, 2021
Bearing Witness To History: A Few Minutes with Lou Barlia and the Shooting of a ‘Love Story’

It’s really not very often you get the pleasure of talking to someone who was actually there to witness one of the more iconic cities in movie history at the peak of its power.

With all of us in various stage of lockdown due to the COVID Pandemic (stay safe everyone, social distance and take all precautions) it’s been a time where we’ve been catching up on some older stuff and even celebrating some pretty iconic anniversaries.

It’s been 50 years since Arthur Hiller’s Love Story graced screens across the world and for those who don’t know; Love Story is the classic story of two young lovers; a boy (Ryan O’Neal) and a girl Ali McGraw who come from polar opposite upbringings and fall in love in the middle of New York City, succeeding where their families thought they would fail.  That is until tragedy strikes and their love is faced with a fatal test.

I’ll admit, Love Story has never been a personal favorite for this journalist but there’s no denying it’s place in cinema history winning 1 Oscar and nominated for 6 others while also picking up 5 Golden Globes along the way.  It cemented Arthur Hiller as a bankable Hollywood director as he’d go on to make films like Plaza Suite, The Hospital and the iconic comedy The In-Laws while Ryan O’Neal became a household name and Ali McGraw shot into super-stardom almost overnight.

For this very special anniversary we had the distinct pleasure to sit down the with Camera Operator on the film one Lou Barila.  He told us the story of how he got the job on Love Story, if he could predict in the moment what the movie was going to be and particularly about shooting in New York during an epic period in film history in the 1970’s and he had this to say about the unique character that the city plays in the history of cinema.

You know, shooting in New York was an experience in itself because I absolutely loved it!  The vibe and the look of New York at that time just felt so real.  I mean when California would try to recreate New York and have a scene with a bunch of bums, you could just tell that it was fake.  In New York it was all real, the real backgrounds, the real garbage cans, the real dirt of it all it made for a very unique experience, one that I’m sure still holds true to this day.

The people were just the best too and after awhile people got more and more used to seeing film crews around in the city, I must have worked on 20 episodes of Kojak with Telly Sevalas and we were ALL over that city, we shot everywhere.  It’s just such a great city to shoot in.

Part of me wishes we had hours to talk with Lou about filmmaking in New York in the 1970’s as we don’t doubt he could tell us some stories.  If you’d like to listen to our entire conversation with Lou, you can click the link below and really there’s no doubt in our minds that even if you’re not a fan of romance, there’s no denying that this Love Story is a piece of cinematic history for more reasons then one.

Love Story is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital from all major retailers and platforms now.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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