Along with the likes of Alan Parker, Adrian Lyne and his own younger brother Tony, Bidley Scott personifies that school 0170s British advertising talent who turned their visual ilair to the service oi the big screen. Born in South Shields, Northumberland, he was among the lirst to graduate lrom the Royal College oi Art’s iilm department belore joining the BBC as a production designer. Promoted to directing, most notably on the early years oi Z-Cars, Scott leit alter a mere three years to inaugurate his own subsequently highly successful
commercials production company, Bidley Scott Associates.
For more than two decades now, BSA has been involved in turning out myriad award-winning adverts, directed by Scott and others. His prolilic work in the medium includes the celebrated Hovis campaign at the late 70s, the mega-expensive Apple Computers epic shown only once during the climax oi the 1984 Olympic games, and the recent Guinness ad with Rutger Hauer supping the dark stuit in a number 01 re-created classic paintings.
I The Duellists (1977) David Puttnam (who else?) produced Scott‘s feature debut, a handsome historical item drawn from a Joseph Conrad short story. In the wake of the Napoleonic campaigns, French officers Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel commence a series of obsessive duels that is to span several decades. Carefully manicured backgrounds in the expected manner, but as yet Scott‘s command ofcharactcrisation and narrative over the long stretch is at a rather early stage ofdevelopment.
I Alien (1979) The blockbuster that put the Ridley Scott name on the Hollywood map. Although crazed artist H.R. Giger‘s stunning design work contributed much to the look of the final product; Scott orchestrates the tension with some aplomb as the eponymous extraterrestrial enters the good spaceship Nostromo via John Iiurt‘s stomach and chomps through most of the cast list. leaving only underwear-clad Sigourney Weaver to battle it out to the end credits. Staple horror plotting gets dragged into the future by Scott's intelligently realised technology, and the adman‘s gift for atmospheries. even if the most convincing character is Ian llolm‘s ill-fated android.
I Blade Runner (1982) While Alien's extraordinary visuals served the material. here the material is the mind-bogglineg expensive evocation of Los Angeles, circa 2019. The care and attention lavished on the neon cityscape make the film a genuine sci-fi milestone, but somewhere along the way the plotting goes wrong. An anxious studio had Scott cut and recut the tale of tough cop Harison Ford‘s efforts to track down defective killer replicant Rutger Hauer. but the final 117 min version, which adds a Chandleresque voiceover to make sense of the narrative.
I Legend (1985) At which point. it allgoes sadly awry. Again the high artifice ofthe settings for this mythical adventure show much money spent on time and talent, but the central conceit of the battle between Good, ie Tom Cruise as a pixie, and Evil, ie a behorned Tim Curry, makes it all add up to very little more than a big-budget Timotei advert. Lo, the backers chopped it down to a compact but mangled 94 mins and banged on a score by Tangerine Dream. Not the kind oftreatment you‘d wish on your worst enemy.
I Someone To Watch Over Me (1987) Back to chic. beautifully shot reality in contemporary New York as Tom Berenger‘s slobbish, common or garden cop is called in to protect endangered socialite (and ex-Missus of Tom Cruise) Mimi Rogers from the usual mad killer. Needless to say an attachment develops. so the fish-out-of-water angle meets the eternal triangle routine. The result is Scott‘s most mainstream effort thus far. but make sure not to miss the fabulous opening helicopter shot of Manhattan by l night.
I Black Rain (1989) Next York cops Michael Douglas and Andy (iareia find themselves in beyy ildering Tokyo on the trail of some y ery bad Japanese gangster types. Yes. it's that old fish-out-of-waier thang again. though anything the picture has to say on cultural difference seems really a lot less important than a seriesot' fairly standard motorbike stunts and any numberofeoyetabledesignerleather I overeoais. Funny how Tokyo lookspretty much like Blade Runner. but it's more formula stuff as Seott looks increasingly
is reputed tobcsignificantlyless likea master decoratorhiredtospruee up 9 substantialthanScott'soriginalintention. saggingproperties.('I'reyorJohnsion)
The List [3 ~ 35July WW 9