Ridley Scott: A Critical Filmography

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Christopher Nolans Inception is a recent example. The lms poor print reviews show that, in this instance as well as others, the on-line reviewers are ahead of the print critics. Whatever goes wrong with Scotts lms, it is never the visuals. Sometimes, however, the visuals seem at odds with the soundtrack. Jane, Anne Bancrofts voice is so harsh and grating that it seems at odds not only with the visuals but with our own experience of what female Texas politicians are like. And Scotts characters do not have the rhythms of natural speech, the give and take of conversation so memorably and easily captured by David Mamet.

It would be fascinating to know the exact nature of the conict between Scott and Mamet about Hannibal, but it is easy enough to speculate about their differing views of lm art. In general, Mamet has more interest in the conict of character through dialogue than Scott was ever likely to allow. At the beginning of Fords The Searchers, we see a ranch home in the middle of the desert where none could have existed. Of course, Ford knows this, but he also knows that showing and depicting it as he does is part of the unity of the lm, and that the whole lm is of a piece.

Indeed, the only scenes which seem out of place in Fords masterpiece are the search scenes in winter in the snow which seem for indenable artistic reasons to belong to some other and lesser lm. Scott is almost completely visual, and all of his lms could be effectively shown without dialogue. They are, aesthetically, silent movies. Perhaps the best way to watch them would be on Blu-ray in a language you do not understand.

Put your mind on hold and go along for the ride. Scotts primary intellectual interest seems to be mediating history in the interests of fairness and of appealing to an international audience. Like Cecil B. DeMille, Scott has a scholars interest in attention to detail, and he has rightly stressed his accuracy of portrayal of the way the past looked. The viewer may be condent that both the Coliseum and the gladiators shown in Gladiator are authentically portrayed.

Scholars are, however, critical of the historical details, and the Harvard scholar chosen to edit the collection of essays entitled Gladiator: Film and History withdrew in despair. If Scott loses the historical test, he wins a more important one: that of ideological fairness.

Unlike directors of the past, Scott is very careful to present divergent points of view. In Gladiator, Maximus is not a pilgrim on the road to Christianity, but a faithful pagan. In Kingdom of Heaven, Scotts presentation of Saladin was not done at the expense of the story, or even as an appeal to Muslim viewers, but because the story required it in the interest of fairness. Oddly enough, in his modern lms, Scott pretty much abandons fairness for ideology. Thelmas husband and Louises boyfriend are fair game, but the cretins are trashed. There is no appeal to language, to changing times, or to the good old days.

Despite the explanation that they went an insult too far, they are pure evil without even the benet of the style or lack of it which Ford or Peckinpah would have given them. Jane was an anachronism almost before the lm was released, but the lm survives as a dream of Super Woman. The SEAL program survives, but women are not a part of it. As usual, Scott examines the political ramications of the situation, but Anne Bancrofts portrayal and ultimately her betrayal of Jane in the lm are so harsh as to ruin any sympathy which might have been bestowed on her.

Only the magnicent sequence at the end showing the rescue and the moving coda elevate the lm to a level of greatness which clearly indicate what it could have been. Alien exists in a different context, and Ripley is the woman Jane might have dreamed of being. Stripped to her underwear, her body is long, lanky and totally functional, equally at home in the bedroom or the machine room, a repository of authority that Thelma, Louise, and Jane can only dream of. At the turn of the twenty-rst century, Scott produced in succession a trio of lms that show him in full command of his art: Gladiator, Hannibal and Black Hawk Down.

The lms almost seem designed to show Scotts versatility in genre lms. Generically, Gladiator is a sword-and-sandal epic, Hannibal is a horror lm, and Black Hawk Down is a war lm, mission subdivision. Gladiator revived in bravura style the sword-and-sandal genre which had been moribund for more than a third of a century. Indeed, it compares favorably with the great epics of the past, the two versions of Ben-Hur and Stanley Kubricks Spartacus.

Although it omits the persecution of the Christians except in a sequence which was cut from the lm it depicts pagan religion favorably and presents new possibilities for the epic, an opportunity which, unfortunately, has not been realized, at least to the present, although Wolfgang Petersens Troy made an attempt.

Scott has both inaugurated a franchise with Alien and successfully continued one with Hannibal. Following The Silence of the Lambs, one of the most critically acclaimed and popular lms ever made, Hannibal seemed to have all the cards stacked against it. Jodie Foster, the Academy Awardwinning star of the earlier lm, disapproved of the script, eventually pulled out and was replaced by Julianne Moore, and Hannibal had a problem with the ending, but the nished lm was a huge popular success.

Ridley Scott : A Critical Filmography - hyhixuquteze.ml

Scott emphasized the gothic elements of the story, and segments of Hannibal, including the magnicent Florence sequence, are worthy of Fritz Lang or F. Black Hawk Down is a war lm which depicts in harrowing detail how a raid in Mogadishu by the US Special Forces went terribly wrong when a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down minutes before the extraction for which the raid was designed was to take place. The lm covers some sixteen hours, but the events take place with such detail and rapidity that the images seem almost to pass by like a violent, terribly realistic dream.

Mark Bowdens book about the raid was subtitled A Story of Modern Warfare, and Scotts great lm fully deserves the accolades it received.

All of Scotts lms are interesting and present sometimes difcult problems of inter Indeed, the lms of Scott and Lang have much in common. Despite the enormous advances in technology over the decades, lmmaking remains the same: the telling of stories through a succession of moving pictures augmented by sound.

And the stories have not even changed much through the decades. Strangely enough, the lm Metropolis and the Blade Runner have, so to speak, grown up together. To date, Scott has produced ve versions of Blade Runner and will, no doubt, produce ve more if he can last another twenty-ve or thirty years. Meanwhile, Metropolis, like a revenant in some macabre competition, has kept pace with increasingly stunning restorations of the lm from the F. Murnau Foundation and most recently from the discovery of an admittedly cruddy 16mm print of the Holy Grail of Metropolis acionados the lm which was shown at its Berlin premiere before being hacked at over and over again.

The hitherto missing segments have been restored, so far as possible, and re-inserted. During the rst six months of , the result was released with considerable fanfare to theaters around the world and later on DVD and Blu-ray. Linked together by McFate to use Vladimir Nabokovs term , homage and criticism both serious and frivolous, the two lms seem destined, like the workers in the endless train in Moroders version of Metropolis, to be joined together as far as our limited eyes can see. Like partners in a bad twenty-ve-year marriage, they exaggerate the others presumed faults while trumpeting their own virtues.

And yet, they are much more alike than different, and the likenesses are probably at least as interesting as their differences. The similarities between the two directors are striking. Neither is much interested in actors, and both have often been criticized for neglecting them, sometimes by the actors themselves.

For a long time, I thought that the restraint of Gustav Frhlich in Metropolis belonged to the actor. After seeing him in Zoltan Kordas football lm Die Elf Teufel , I realized that the restraint belonged to Langs expressionistic direction, not to the actor.

From aliens to men in tights

And Henry Fondas famous jibe that Lang was more interested in where the actors stood than in their acting has the ring both of legend and of truth see McGilligan, Lang felt that it was the picture that furnished the emotions and told the story, not the actors. Fonda certainly had a point, but then the grumpy actor did not much like John Fords choice of actors for Mister Roberts either. And no matter how much Scott praises actors, he is never quite believable.

Whether or not he treats them as Hitchcock reportedly said that they should be treated, as cattle, he has doubtlessly become more adept in the handling of actors since his celebrated set-to with Harrison Ford more than a quarter of a century ago. However, like Hitchcock, he trusts the mise-en-scne and the editing to tell the story.

Nothing changes so rapidly as the future, or at least as our conception of the future. The date is now less than a decade away, and it is clear that L. And, if we need any further reminder of future uncertainty, there is always Stanley Kubricks A Space Odyssey, the release of which coincided with the rst manned landing on the moon, to remind us. Kubrick was one of lms great visionaries, but it is fair to say that, although he got many things right, he certainly also got many things wrong. During the silent and the early sound periods, the screen was haunted by the contrasting images of the huge empty places of the desert and the prairie and the teeming streets of the city.

It was scarcely believable that the mountains and the plains of John Fords The Iron Horse could ever be overpopulated, indeed in some instances that they could ever be populated at all, at least not by any civilized man. The contrasting images, that of the city and that of the wilderness, haunt our imaginations still.

But the plains, the rivers and the mountains have receded into both the historical and imaginary past and exist as a dream in Shanes fanciful description of peace in the valley or in Akira Kurosawas fanciful depiction of peace free from machines at the conclusion of Dreams Metropolis continues to dominate the discussion of the relationship between Blade Runner and Metropolis, but the connection between the two lms is complex, involving as it does the often complicated differences between the two cultures, silent and sound lms, differences between the two directors and the different ways the lms were prepared and shot.

And as time passes, the emphasis will inevitably occasionally move from one lm to the other. Although Lang always insisted that his rst impression of the New York skyline inspired the lming of Metropolis, the truth is more complex. There is, of course, no doubt that the view of the city conrmed Langs concept of the evolving city and stimulated his imagination.

Traveling on the same boat with Lang, architect Erich Mendelson had been commissioned to report on the architecture of the New World for the Berliner Tageblatt McGilligan, The resulting book, Amerika, contains images interpreted as a dramatic lm by Russian artist El Lissitzky. Metropolis was based on a novel of the same name by Langs then wife, Thea von Harbou. The novel, a compendium of pulp motifs, occasioned most of the criticism Metropolis received not only when it opened, but in the years since.

Lang always regarded Still, although the novel furnished the justly abused ending, it also provided the robot woman, the dance of death and the seven deadly sins, the tower of Babel and a mlange of other motifs, including the underground workers, which were reworked into memorable images mixing the modern and the medieval. In an illuminating study entitled A Culture of Light: Cinema and Technolog y in s Germany, Frances Guerin discusses the aesthetics of light and darkness in Langs lms. It is no criticism of Guerins book to point out that such a study would hardly have been possible without the splendid restorations of Langs major lms, especially Die Nibelungen and Metropolis.

In the best Lang restorations, including for example the two parts of Die Nibelungen, Lang has a clear black and white aesthetic which carefully balances perspectives, often privileging dark foregrounded gures moving against a light background. And what about Scotts Blade Runner? What Scott did was to dirty up the images of the bright city and to bring them visually closer to an imagined possible future of today. Just as Langs lm was clearly a product of the advanced technology of the period, Blade Runner in every frame illustrates Scotts theory of lmmaking from planning to execution.

While Blade Runner is pre-digital that is, it belongs to a period which was beginning to recede into the past with slow but increasing speed even as the lm was being made Scotts careful preparation, vivid imagination, strong aesthetic sense, organizational ability, and above all strong visual sense combined with his artistic and technical ability to make his visions come alive.

Amazingly, Blade Runner was only Scotts third feature lm, but he was perfectly qualied for a large-scale, if not big-budgeted, science-ction lm. Scott had become rich making awardBlade Runner design: Harrison Ford as winning advertising lms. The televiDeckard. This means that he must capture the attention of the viewer before he decides to shift to another channel. Scott succeeded through outstanding visuals and creative writing that is, by making a little movie. Langs preferred form in Metropolis, as in all of his silent lms, is allegory. The Tower of Babel, the Seven Deadly Sins, the underground workers and the lords of Metropolis, the good woman versus her evil twin, and so on, are all allegorical constructs.

Scotts representations are less old-fashioned and more up-to-date, so to speak, but are allegorical nonetheless. Although Lang was the great master of lm noir in both silent and sound lms, the master of Metropolis is not the criminal mastermind Dr. Tyrell, however, is not much different from Dr. Mabuse or, for that matter, from the average mad doctor in this weeks horror lm. Tyrell is probably the only person in Blade Runner who has enough money to live wherever he wants. For whatever obscure reason perhaps because he wants to observe his creations or to play chess with Sebastian he chooses not to live in the comfort of the Off-World, wherever that is, but some or so oors up in the heart of the polluted city.

Unlike the master of Metropolis, Tyrrell plays chess, the game of intellect, and controls replicants, but it is not clear exactly how much, if any, design work he still does, or indeed ever did. He is, nevertheless, the master of all he surveys. Quite unbelievably, many artists work on the design of hi-tech spare parts and sell them on the street. Sebastians mechanical creatures, whatever they are, seriously resemble the automatons in Raymond Bernards Le jouer dchecs The Chess Player, The sports and pleasure model, designed apparently to entertain Off-World workers, is comparable to the evil robot who drives the rich men wild in Yoshiwara, the pleasure district of Metropolis.

In Langs lm, the two robots, one good, the other evil, are mirror images of Hel, the lost love of the mad scientist Rotwang who had abandoned him for the master of Metropolis. Apparently the two women are exactly the same, except for the evil models strident sexuality and destructive tendencies. This is, admittedly, a serious difference. Blade Runner, however, is silent on the question of the differences, if any, between individual members of the same sports and pleasure model type. Perhaps Deckard could simply have ordered another Rachael either with or without the same implanted memories.

Besotted as he was with the present Rachael, the idea seems never to have occurred to him. Visually, the chief difference between Metropolis and Blade Runner is not one of ideology, but Scotts use of the widescreen 2. According to Scott, his lmmaking includes careful preparation, a script cast in iron, rehearsal before shooting whenever possible, and what he calls layering: an augmentation of the visual eld during shooting. Scott hates an uninteresting visual frame as intensely as Shakespeare hated a poor fth act or Falstaff an empty can.

Visually, he is baroque, and as critics have pointed out, the story and occasionally the actors as well can get lost in the widescreen visuals. His visuals have every virtue except simplicity. His more complex lms, such as Kingdom of Heaven and Blade Runner, gain from being watched over and While Lang and Scott both emphasize the visual, technology has, at least to some extent, limited their similarities.

All of Langs silent lms were in black and white as were the best of his American lm noir. When he nally began to make color lms in Hollywood, his use of color was decorative rather than realistic, particularly in Rancho Notorious , which may fairly be described as the only great indoor, expressionistic western. Except for his apprentice lm Boy and Bicycle, all of Scotts lms are in color, and he has continued to rene the color of Blade Runner after more than a quarter of a century.

His eye is unrivalled among present lm directors. When Peter Fleming, an excellent tennis player who won many doubles tournaments with John McEnroe, was asked who the best doubles team in the world was, he is said to have replied, John McEnroe and whoever he is playing with. The same might be said of Scott and his director of photography, whoever that might happen to be on a particular lm. Particularly to someone who has admired what Thomas Wolfe called the dry, caked colors of America, Scotts eye occasionally fails him.

The failure is not to show something that is not American, but to show in succession landscapes and buildings which are not in proximity with each other. At some point, great works of art enter into world culture and take on lives of their own. In the case of Metropolis, the process was aided by Giorgio Moroders reimaging of Metropolis. He collected the best materials he could locate from around the world, re-edited them, colorized them, put them on steroids, and added a rock score. The result was both denounced as desecration and revered as homage.

With the help of a famous passage in Thomas Pynchons Gravitys Rainbow and visual references in music videos, Moroder made Metropolis an open text cf. Parrill, for details , and Langs lm entered the world of free-fall criticism occupied by Wagners The Ring, Shakespeares The Tempest and a few other works central to postmodernism.

What Thomas Elsaesser calls the horizontality of meaning and the linearity of sense of traditional criticism yielded to the verticality of montage and the diagonal symphonies of abstraction Metropolis, With Moroders lm, Metropolis became and will remain a visual symphony blending lm, opera, set design, music video and Heaven only knows what else in the future into a dramatic phantasmagoria where the meaning is subservient to the event.

Metropolis, unlike any other lm, is free. The game continues. A certain Gilchrist, thousands of miles away in the wilds of New Zealand, has digitally restored Moroders Metropolis and removed all the dirt and debris from the pre-digital lm. The result is stunning and is currently available for purchase, under what authority I know not, from his website. Metropolis and Blade Runner will move down the years, duking it out in one form In this corner, we have Metropolis, in various versions more or less complete, and now complete if imperfect.

And we also have Moroders homage, now perfected digitally by a third hand, and even more magnicent than before. And there has been at least one new musical score for Moroders lm. And in this corner, we have ve versions of Blade Runner, all with some degree of authority. All of them attempt in various ways to decide what man can tolerate in the decaying city and what, if anything, separates mankind from the lower orders. Of course, Darwin will decide scientically, but artistically, at least, it will be decided at the Thanhauser Gate, where to quote an old Firestone advertisement, the rubber meets the road.

Advertisements Advertising is an imperfectly understood art. While it might be argued that all arts are imperfectly understood, advertising has received little serious attention either from its audience or its makers. The attitude generally has been: If it works, its great. What sells works and what dont sell dont work. And since working has been dened in terms of sales and prot, the analysis has largely been considered moot.

Before the coming of radio around , advertising was largely conned to inn signs, barber poles, newspapers, magazines and Sears Roebuck catalogues, and in a hit-or-miss fashion to items popularized by movies. After World War II, however, advertising reached new levels of both success and sophistication. Movie posters and previews of coming attractions continued to urge theatrical attendance.

Athletes and movie stars peddled cigarettes with slogans and color pictures. New, streamlined automobiles graced the pages of Life, The Saturday Evening Post and other magazines. Movie magazines, which had been around almost since the beginning of motion pictures, continued turning out uff, lies and glamour for an adoring public. Comic books urged young boys to hassle their parents for Red Ryder air ries. During the early years of television, live presentations of one sort or another lled local TV air time. The present writer remembers a jeweler who said that he would stand on his head to please his customers, and demonstrated the feat.

The extant kinescopes of live drama often include advertisements which seem nave today, but apparently were effective enough at the time. John Cameron Swayzes commercials for Timex watches, which debuted in , retain their appeal today: It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. And the Gillette Blue Blade ads during sporting events, particularly boxing, are fondly remembered.

Come away with me, Lucille, in my merry Oldsmobile, which dates back to , was revived. Clearly, advertising was on the move. By , advertising was big enough business to catch the attention of Hollywood, via the now forgotten popular novel by Frederic Wakeman, The Hucksters. Apparently, Hollywood did not believe that satirizing advertising was a case of the pot calling the kettle black, at least as long as the satire was not too severe and Clark Gable was the lead.

Ad man Gable, returned from the war, nds a whole new world of scummy ad The hard-as-nails novel was toned down to suit Gable, but even so, Gable walks out on the ad men at the end of the lm. The Hucksters is the product of a simpler time, sort of a Mad Men without the sex, humor, alcohol and irony.

The lm still holds the interest today for its ideological content and its star power, which included Deborah Kerr whose name the studio helpfully told the public Rhymes with New Star. Apparently, the only notable lm about advertising to appear in the following decades was The Sweet Smell of Success [], a highly praised lm produced by Burt Lancaster whose detonation at the box ofce seems to have deterred even the most ambitious of producers.

Television increased both the penetration and opportunities of advertising rapidly and exponentially. Don Draper in televisions Mad Men represents advertisings new man, a pitch man for a consumer society at a time when it seemed possible to sell anything, if only you could gure out how to do it. Although the ultimate purpose of advertising is to sell something, the something, whatever it is, may be approached from a variety of directions. For automobiles, the purpose is to get the would-be purchaser into the dealership where a salesman will do the actual selling.

Often, prestige is the lure for selling top-of-the-line products such as luxury automobiles. A man in a doctors outt advertising a painkiller may be a reminder to buy the product the next time the person seeing the ad has a headache or sees the product in the drugstore or supermarket. Scott began his career in advertising during its golden age, and his skill in directing ads pleased the corporations buying them and sold their products.

After more than ten years directing advertisements, Scott began making feature lms comparatively late. In the memorable words of David Thomson, he achieved an eminence and nancial success in his career in advertising as a director of commercials, many of them prizewinners, and all of them forged at that electric place where high art is now channeled into pop idioms New, His nancial success enabled him to put up the completion bond for his rst lm, The Duellists When he made The Duellists, he was already the best-known maker of advertisements in England.

His Hovis wheat bread advertisement has often been chosen as the favorite English ad of all time. It has a powerful nostalgic pull, not only for the English, but for the American public as well. Unless Raw saw a different version of the advertisement from the one available on the internet, the 29 seconds he lists as the running time is incorrect The internet version runs 47 seconds and may be truncated. The ad uses the second movement of Dvoks New World Symphony and a voiceover to show a young boy pushing a bicycle loaded with bread up the cobblestoned street of an English town.


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In a voiceover an older man opines that the climb was like taking bread to the top of the world. After unloading the bread, the boy takes a grand ride, if a somewhat dangerous one, down the hill. In the interior of the bakers shop, the baker puts out the bread and pours the tea.

The advice which the heavily accented voice of the older man gives the boy is to The bread, we are told in a voiceover, is as good as it has always been. And so for that matter is the ad. According to Raw, the lm was shot in Shaftesbury, Dorset, southwest England, and the man speaks with a Yorkshire accent. The second mans voice at the end of the lm is that of British actor Ian Holm, who was later to play Ash in Scotts Alien.

As usual in Scotts ads, the visuals are more important than what is said. The ads power comes from its nostalgia and what might be called its prestige. The nostalgic pull is so great that even an American who has never actually seen a cobblestoned street can feel its pull. If we combine this with the image of childhood freedom, represented by the boys wild ride back down the street, and paradoxically with the fact that the boy is working, the representation of Hovis bread as a quality wheat bread need hardly be stated.

The lm is so powerful that it makes the viewer who has seen Scotts lms wonder why the director has never made a personal movie, a lm that grows from his personality, his experience and his deepest artistic beliefs about himself and his country. Only his apprentice lm Boy and Bicycle seems to ll the bill, and that is obviously a minor work. The ad, produced by Ridley Scott Associates, attempted to place the soft drink in the context of the lifestyles of the two main characters of the series. On the rain-slick nighttime streets of the city, the two detectives see a dancer reected in a nightclub window.

As the two men briey question each other, a Pepsi Cola image is reected on the car window and the ad cuts to the two actors sharing a can of Pepsi. The ad concludes, like the Hovis ad and, in all probability, most of Scotts other ads, with a voiceover, in this case notifying the viewer, Hey, Im everywhere, pal, and a shot of a can of Pepsi with the slogan, Pepsi, the Choice of a New Generation.

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Ironically, the producer of the television series Crime Story and Miami Vice is the lm director most often compared to Scott. But unlike Scott, who gained entrance into lm directing through advertising, Michael Mann took a more traditional route. Mann began his career as a writer and producer and at the time of the Pepsi ad had not yet moved into directing.

He was, however, intensely interested in the look of his series. He wound up his visual style in Crime Story and put it into overdrive in Miami Vice. If a wise movie buff of the future were to see the Pepsi ad without any name connected to it, he would be as likely to attribute it to Mann as to Scott. Unlike Scott, Mann has generally conned himself to criminal behavior, but his The Last of the Mohicans is a recasting of a classical American historical novel and one of the great romantic lms. Even after what Paul Sammon calls the travails of Blade Runner, Scotts services were in demand both for advertising and lmmaking.

His famous Apple Macintosh prime time television commercial broadcast during the Superbowl game has The ad, which is examined in some detail by Sammon and which is widely available on the internet, echoes George Orwells Big Brother in , identied by Sammon as IBM, and the Leni Riefenstahl lms Triumph of the Will and Olympia, and who knows what else.

Still, as ads go, it was strictly top-of-the-line both in terms of cost and creativity. Although it would be expensive to produce, an illustrated study, either in the form of a book or Blu-ray, remains a desideratum. However much such a study might or might not tell us about Scotts lm art is speculative, but it would certainly be a beautiful project. It might even tell us more than we know now about the native origins of Scotts imagery.

Boy and Bicycle : Playing Hooky Version. Black and white. Approximately aspect ratio. The lm, although shot in , was not released until after John Barry Thunderball, From Russia with Love had agreed to do the music. Scott was a student at the Royal College of Art in London when he wrote, photographed, and directed his rst lm, Boy and Bicycle. He happened to nd an old Bolex 16mm spring-wound camera, a light meter and an instruction book in a wardrobe closet, and was one of six students who made a lm that year.

He says that the lm cost 50, virtually shooting , or certainly no more than Knapp, 3. Paul M. Sammon gives the cost as 65, and writes that the BFI gave Scott another to rene the project Future, Whatever the precise cost, the lm was clearly inexpensive even by the standards of half a century ago. By this time, Scott, who was already in his mid-twenties, had developed an intense interest in lms. Sponsored by the British Film Institute, Boy and Bicycle did exactly what sponsored lms should do: It enabled a young artist to show what he could do and gave him hope for the future.

The minute black-and-white lm was shot in Billingham, an industrial town in Northeast England, and on the nearby coast. The town, which has a population of 35, people today, was presumably somewhat smaller when Boy and Bicycle was shot there.

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The lm masterfully depicts the working-class world of a male adolescent who decides to skip school and explore the industrial seaside world of the town on his bicycle. The boy, who is basically the only character in the lm, is played by Scotts younger brother, Tony. The lm opens with a shot of a one-eyed Teddy bear and a voiceover of a boy, the speaker, waking up. An argument is going on downstairs. We see a closeup of the boy watching himself in a mirror. Shut up. So began a collaborative relationship that was still going half a century later, a close alliance between brothers that now, sadly, is no more.

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Brand Publishing. Times News Platforms. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options. Kenneth Turan. Never, ever, would I have thought that this would happen. Considers The Counsellor to be one of his best films. He was approached to replace Bryan Singer as the director of Bohemian Rhapsody He was Joel Silver 's first choice to direct Lethal Weapon Due to Scott's still recent tensions with Warner Brothers during the making of Blade Runner the studio refused to offer him the job. He was reportedly set to direct The Hunger , but decided to pass when he heard that David Bowie was in on the deal.

It became his brother Tony Scott 's directorial debut. He was considered to direct Jacob's Ladder In January , he was in early negotiations to direct the screen version of The Prisoner He was attached to direct Perfume: The Story of a Murderer years before production finally began. He was originally set to direct Dune , but left the production after his older brother suddenly passed away.

Scott wanted to start working as soon as possible, but Dune would take far too long to reach production. Scott decided to leave the project in favor of Blade Runner , which was ready to start production immediately. He was said to be helming Blade Runner himself back in , but his work on Prometheus , The Counsellor , Exodus: Gods and Kings , The Martian and Alien: Covenant resulted in him taking a step back into an executive producer capacity only.

On 3 July , he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal College of Art in a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London at which he described how he still keeps on his office wall his school report placing him 31st out of 31 in his class, and how his teacher encouraged him to pursue what became his passion at art school. He was considered to direct Doctor Who He was asked to direct Conan the Barbarian , but declined.

He disowned the theatrical cut of Kingdom of Heaven and named the Director's Cut as the definitive version. During the TIFF press conference for The Martian , he said that re-editing the film was the only regret he's made in his career. I'm a moviemaker, not a documentarian. I try to hit the truth. A friend of mine says, "Art's like a shark. You've got to keep swimming, or else you drown. People always ask me, "What's the plan? I go to what fascinates me next. When I first said I wanted to make a film about Rome and cast Russell Crowe , everyone had a good old snigger. I thought, "You wait.

I now say, "Take a look at this. Balian [ Orlando Bloom 's character in Kingdom of Heaven ] is an agnostic, just like me. I am not fighting another holy war here, I am trying to get across the fact that not everyone in the West is a good guy, and not all Muslims are bad. The tragedy is that we still have a lack of understanding between us, and it is years since the Crusades.

We have never truly resolved our differences. Audiences are less intrigued, honestly, by battle. They're more intrigued by human relations. If you're making a film about the trappings of the period, and you're forgetting that human relationships are the most engaging part of the storytelling process, then you're in trouble. The marketplace is flooded by demand, and there are too many films, so everything gets watered down. Demand is the boss and everything bends to that will.

Bigger and not necessarily better shows seem to be the order of the day. I can't watch most of them.

The digital and theatrical markets are two different marketplaces. I think the digital marketplace--thank God for it! It is a fascinating period. The fundamental of anything as a director is material, material, material--script, script, script--once you have the script everything else is straightforward. The person that probably stopped me in my tracks as a child--because I used to love to go to the cinema--was David Lean with Great Expectations I thought everything was somehow better than most of the other movies in terms of the way it looked--the way it was dramatized and the way it was photographed.

In fact, he was detailed from corner to corner and that is what I picked up with John Ford and then Kurosawa [ Akira Kurosawa ], then Carol Reed , Michael Powell --those were all the fundamental characters at that time--and Orson Welles , of course. There are Frenchmen, too, of course, who will be remembered as well, but I wasn't open to the French cinema at that point, so it was American and English film directors. So those were the influences. I think movies are getting dumber, actually.

I'm not criticizing Hollywood because I work there, I partly live there. But I'm saying this is the way it is, commerce is taking over art. Commerce has become the most important thing in the film industry. Hollywood is an industry, it's not an art form, therefore they have to address the bottom line. But in a way it's sad when you get a remake, isn't it? I think I have less patience, mainly because I'm so experienced. Because I'm so experienced I need the very best people around me. Because people say, "Well you don't need a terribly good camera" or, "You can go and do this," and I say, "No, no, no, no, you don't understand.

I want the Earth. And I want the Earth in 10 minutes. He and I loved that film and Fox loved it and then they didn't know what to do and we got beaten up. Russell got beaten up mercilessly, which I thought was disgraceful because I genuinely thought we had done a good movie about a man in transition which is also quite funny. And what's really irritating and annoying is that I kept getting told later by actors, journalists, people outside of the industry, how much they enjoyed it.

So anyway, fuck 'em. It was a good film. I used to agonize over what to do next, but now I make a movie a year. Of course it was never aired, [ Stanley Kubrick ] would sue me, but I've always had tremendous respect for him. Avatar , when you think about it, is almost a completely animated movie. I thought that in the near future the world would be owned by large companies. They sent the Nostromo spaceship. That's the connection between the two films, and nothing more. I met with Philip and he was angry, because I told him I couldn't get through the book. I thought I'd better repair this, so I invited him to see rushes and he was absolutely stunned by them.

There's something in the android that lived. That was the real evolution of the story. I'm a yarnteller. My job is to engage you as much as I can and as often as I can. I love the process and still continue to adore the process, actually. I don't get attached to anything. I'm like a good antique dealer. I'm prepared to sell my most valuable table.

People say a good score is when you don't notice it. I say bullshit. I'm very conscious of a good score and I'm very conscious of a bad score. And anyone who says that simply doesn't know music. I'm just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn't even come up. Whatever I do, I'm on. But it's life, isn't it? We're not here for that long. I don't feel vulnerable in any way. I'm lucky in that I'm in good health and the brain's still going. No, seriously! A lot of it is how you look after yourself, but a lot of it is also luck.

Flat out luck. So working, in a funny kind of way, is a health factor. I think it's healthier. My dad retired five years younger than me.

Retirees are retiring at 50, What the hell are you going to do? I don't know. It's unthinkable for me to retire. That's why I love [ Clint Eastwood ], who's in his 80s and has already finished his next movie. God, he's faster than I am! It didn't play. People didn't get it. I was way ahead, is what I think it was. I knew it was really good. I just thought, "What the hell?

They just don't get it. Don't read press. You can't read press--it'll destroy you. You create a competition with yourself. I'm very competitive. I look around and think, "I've got to raise the bar". That's what we do. If we can all raise the bar in everything we do, isn't that better?

Ridley Scott

I try and raise the bar every time I do a movie, and a part of that is not to repeat yourself. It's an internal ego, not an external ego. I've got an inner eye, definitely. At first I wasn't aware of it, and then after 2, commercials, there was a reason I was so busy. I was the most visual of all directors. That's why I was so flat-out successful, frankly. That's why I never did a film until I was I didn't start filming until I was I certainly appreciated what I had, and I started to acknowledge it, embrace it, and use it.

I think visually. But I'm good with words, and I'm helpful with writers because I'll talk to them visually when I'm working. It's one of my favorite movies. I'm not like that. I can do it, and Cormac McCarthy is a little like that.

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