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RIDLEY SCOTT - 30/9/2005 4:21:15 PM   
Dan Jolin

 

Posts: 20
Joined: 30/9/2005
Only this year you voted him the fifth best director in movie history, so it was about time we got to work on him in DVD Club. Think he’s all gloss and no substance? If so, why do you think that is? What do you make of his treatment of women in his movies – do they all need to be Ripleys or GI Janes to survive? How about his contribution to cinema as a career-maker; Russell Crowe arguably would never have made it so big without his bruising turn as Maximus. And, as ever, ask any questions – either to us via e-mail (dan@empireonline.co.uk), or to your fellow Clubbers on the forum.

Now watch these films…

The Duellists
Alien
Blade Runner
Thelma & Louise
Gladiator

All the best and most interesting comments will appear in the feature in the January issue, on sale November 24.


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Post #: 1
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 15/1/2006 2:01:51 AM   
mackopolis


Posts: 8
Joined: 12/1/2006
From: Gateshead
alreet?
Aye.....he's a canny director wor Ridley......He's from south Shields ye knaa??
Anyway, to cut the crap, when's the original cut of Blade Runner gonna be released on DVD? Don't get me wrong the director's cut has a very special atmosphere....but, when you just wanna settle down to some good ole 80's cheese....I reckon it makes it too serious and morbid removing the corny dialogue and the 'up-lifting' ending! Anybody with me???

(in reply to Dan Jolin)
Post #: 2
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 28/1/2006 11:48:59 AM   
DAD

 

Posts: 16
Joined: 28/1/2006
I dunno what the problem everyone has with Kingdom of heaven is. I thought it was bloody great.
Showed a new type of hero very much the opposite of gladiator. seemed to me Ridley was tring to get across a spiritual and moral message of personal responsability, honor and basic decency that doesn't require you to be a bloody minded egotist (maximus the savior of Rome). finaly a Scott film with a bit of depth to it. In fact I think it's my favourite scott film.

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Post #: 3
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 28/1/2006 1:13:24 PM   
MF DOOM


Posts: 557
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: London, Greater London
There was a time when Roman epics ruled Hollywood, whether you like him or hate him Ridley Scott brought a dead genre for years back to life and whether you hate it or like it, Gladiator was a perfect way to bring the genre back with a big bang. Lets not forget that he also brought us one of the most if not THE most famous aliens ever portrayed in Hollywood or the big screen.

He might not be one of the greatest directors that we have ever come across in our life time but he has created something that we can call influential and did bring a dead genre that is so long forgotten, back to life.

Alien
Blade Runner
Thelma & Louise
Gladiator
Black Hawk Dawn
Matchstick Men

Are all great movies and lets not forget he sort of kick started Brad Pitts career.

< Message edited by MF Doom -- 28/1/2006 1:14:14 PM >


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Post #: 4
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 14/2/2006 11:40:59 PM   
TrippyHippy

 

Posts: 8
Joined: 14/2/2006
Why is it whenever people talk about Gladiator 'bringing back an old genre from the dead' they conveniently forget that Braveheart was made some 4-5 years prior? Ok it may not have been exactly the same historical period, but it was Braveheart, not Gladiator, that reminded audiences about the glories of brutal, celluloid battle. The botty-slapping battle sequences in that movie are much more entertaining to boot! In any case, I feel that Gladiator is light on plot, poor on historical detail and boring in large stretches. It certainly looks impressive in short 5 minute bursts, but it is nowhere near as good as many people say it is.

I much prefer Ridley Scott's earlier sci-fi work (Bladerunner and Alien) for the sheer visual texture as much as anything else. I also think that Black Hawk Down is a technical marvel too. This is the key thing with Scott's films though - they are mostly technical marvels with rich visual grandeur that tends to mask some plot light elements and underdeveloped characters. Some times it works a treat, other times it leaves you feeling a bit emotionally detached.  

< Message edited by TrippyHippy -- 15/2/2006 12:57:48 AM >

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Post #: 5
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 27/2/2006 7:24:24 PM   
Aaron007

 

Posts: 27
Joined: 27/2/2006
what's your favourite ridley scott movie
Post #: 6
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 11/3/2006 9:40:02 AM   
sheepinator88

 

Posts: 18
Joined: 10/3/2006
I don't know why everyonr loves blade runner. it may be beautifully shot but it is just so slow moving and boring. It rightfully deserves the title of a sci-fi but can't be classed as a thriller. The character's are so boring to watch, this may be because they are replicants, but that just leads to the question- why make a movie about boring people. 
Post #: 7
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 11/3/2006 12:28:26 PM   
Livvie


Posts: 527
Joined: 10/1/2006
From: Ireland
Worst Ridley Scott movie is definately Kingdom of Heaven - what went wrong?? Orlando Bloom for starters..his performance was wooden and immature. His 'deep meaningful looks' into the distance usually made him seem a bit touched.

Some of the dialogue was laughable too - even the great Liam Neeson can't get away with a line like 'I once fought for 3 days with an arrow through my testicle'....AAgh!!


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Post #: 8
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 11/3/2006 6:28:15 PM   
stuartbannerman


Posts: 1088
Joined: 30/9/2005
Unless of course the character that Liam played did in fact fight for 3 days with an arrow through his testicle.


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Post #: 9
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 11/3/2006 6:29:16 PM   
doctorolorinbats1975


Posts: 6787
Joined: 30/10/2005
From: Harrow
quote:

ORIGINAL: stuartbannerman

Unless of course the character that Liam played did in fact fight for 3 days with an arrow through his testicle.



Fact is, it was a great line. I look forward to seeing more of Neeson in the DC.

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Post #: 10
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 11/3/2006 6:55:28 PM   
Axel Foley


Posts: 731
Joined: 15/10/2005
It is a great line. Although a lot of that is down to Neeson, as he delivers it in such a matter of fact manner as to make it humourous. A number of sources describe the DC as an excellent film, whcih (though I liked the theatrical cut) should finish of any notion that Kingdom of Heaven was a poor Gladiator re-tread.

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Post #: 11
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 30/3/2006 6:27:28 PM   
aragorns mum

 

Posts: 66
Joined: 4/11/2005
From: France.

quote:

ORIGINAL: doctorolorinbats1975

quote:

ORIGINAL: stuartbannerman

Unless of course the character that Liam played did in fact fight for 3 days with an arrow through his testicle.





Fact is, it was a great line. I look forward to seeing more of Neeson in the DC.




I was a great line made greater by David Thewlis's facial expression that just says "oh dear here we go again." It's called humour.

I loved Kingdom of Heaven, I can watch it over and over. Orlandos' performance ok not great but far superior to Colin Farrell in Alexander for example. David Thewlis as superb as ever, Jeremy Irons made for his role, Saladin was wonderful, Eva Green was beautiful. There's a couple of cheesy lines, it's not perfect, but no film's perfect after all.

As for Ridley's other films,
Thelma and Louise: fabulous, funny, touching, beautiful.
Gladiator: I can add nothing to what the critics said, a great movie.
Alien: Tense, scary with interesting characters.
Bladerunner: Nice looking movie, I found it a bit boring but...
Hannibal: Much better than it deserves to be, after reading the book.
The Duellists: A fine debut.

Sorry haven't seen GI jane (can't stand Demi), or Black Hawk Down (don't much like war movies either.) But as far as it goes Ridley's tussling with Peter Jackson for number 1 spot on my "favourite directors" list.

(in reply to doctorolorinbats1975)
Post #: 12
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 30/3/2006 9:58:40 PM   
Benjamin Dover


Posts: 1798
Joined: 1/2/2006
Soooo, is it true that Ridley sold his house to partially fund Alien?

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Post #: 13
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 7/5/2006 2:13:41 PM   
nybras


Posts: 344
Joined: 27/12/2005
From: In The Zone
Ridley Scott is one of the finest directors we have today, he has broken many barriers in directing and film making and considering that I have most of his films on DVD. That says a lot. He doesn’t need to be called Sir by the way just to make him a great director either. As long as we go see his films and all can appreciate them then that should speak for it self no doubt.

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RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 4/6/2006 2:44:19 PM   
doctorolorinbats1975


Posts: 6787
Joined: 30/10/2005
From: Harrow
I also want to say Scott is one of the best utilisers of the DVD format.

I can't wait to get Kingdom of Heaven DC and Blade Runner!

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Post #: 15
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 24/8/2006 10:15:54 PM   
houndoflove


Posts: 39
Joined: 6/6/2006
I watched the region 1 Kingdom of Heaven DC last weekend and, wow.  What a difference an extra five seconds makes.  A flicker of the eyes, a hint of a smile, and bam!  What was a two-dimensional character is now a fully-rounded, sympathetic hero.

Not to mention that whole little business of Sybilla having a SON.  Jeez, who was the genius who thought that didn't matter?

This DC is amazing.  One of the best films of 2005 and we never got to see it in the cinema.  No DVD projector's going to make up for that, but at least we get to see it.

Empire's review of the DC seems to damning the movie with faint praise, but never mind.


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Post #: 16
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 25/8/2006 9:37:10 AM   
Peter A. Quinn


Posts: 7320
Joined: 11/2/2006
From: Deep, deep, DEEP undercover!
Never mind  bloody Bloom-the special edition of Black Rain will be out in October! That film rocks!

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Post #: 17
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 17/9/2006 3:01:22 PM   
Roxanne


Posts: 176
Joined: 30/9/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Benjamin Dover

Soooo, is it true that Ridley sold his house to partially fund Alien?

No. The film was to have a very small budget (something like $4 Million), a budget which was subsequently increased significantly by the studio execs when they saw Ridley Scott's brilliant and extensive storyboards.


I'll be back.



Not a lame Terminator reference, by the way.


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Post #: 18
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 17/9/2006 4:21:17 PM   
doncopey1


Posts: 4998
Joined: 29/11/2005
From: Liverpool: Age 25
quote:

ORIGINAL: doctorolorinbats1975

I also want to say Scott is one of the best utilisers of the DVD format.

I can't wait to get Kingdom of Heaven DC and Blade Runner!


People are saying that Kingdom of Heaven is a pile of shite etc. i'll agree when i saw the theatrical cut i sat there and was left disappointed by it and felt cheated. However having watched the DC of Scott's film its now fair to say that its one of Scott's best films, i mean i watched and thought it was a masterpiece. Brilliant charcaters, well acted, great score etc. Okay Bloom isn't the ideal lead but his performance is good, not oscar worthy just good. We know he isn't going to be a Russell Crowe but not many people are, i mean Farrell failed in Alexander as did the extremely talented Pitt in Troy so i was infact pleasantly suprised by Bloom. However the films collossal supporting cast is utterly brilliant and certainly imo equals the excellent supporting cast of Gladiator. Sensational performances from the brilliant Neeson, Gleeson, Irons, Csoskas and Green, but its Ed Norton's turn as the king that should of branded him a best supporting actor nod for the oscar a genius performance. The battle scenes are truly exhilirating and a feast fpr the eyes, and what Scott does so brilliantly is stray away from making scenes too similar to Gladiator.
The film is definitley no were near as good as Gladiator, Gladiator has the by far better music, leading man and the more excitement to make that the all round cinematic experience that you could want. KoH dc is the more complicated story, which is better written and has the better plot,  its certainly an epic for grown ups in were you have to not only sit back and enjoy but listen. my advice don't truly knock Koh until you buy the directors cut!

My star ratings of Scott's films:
The Duellists: * * * *
G.I. Jane: * *
Hannibal: * *
Legend: * * * *
Black Rain: * * *
Blade Runner: * * * * *
Alien: * * * * *
Kingdom of Heaven: * * *
Kingdom of Heaven DC: * * * *
Gladiator: * * * * *
Black Hawk Down: * * * *
Matchstick Men: * * * * *
White Squall: * * *
Thelma and Louise: * * * * *

< Message edited by doncopey1 -- 17/9/2006 4:22:20 PM >


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Post #: 19
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 19/9/2006 3:45:49 PM   
Roxanne


Posts: 176
Joined: 30/9/2005
Thank you for the advice on Kingdom Of Heaven, doncopey. Although I'm not entirely trusting of some of the assertions made, I am certainly saving my final judgement on the aforementioned film until I have viewed the DC. However I have qualms as to how much a little extra screen time will better Bloom's performance. I do believe the film could have been improved tenfold had Scott cast an actor of far more presence and conviction, not to mention natural talent. Then perhaps the lead would not have been effortlessly out-acted by his supporters; watching bloom's fellow thespians is like viewing a summary of masterclass acting. Irons, Thewlis and Neeson barely need to try to deliver outstanding performances, while the ever-astounding Gleeson very nearly steals the show were it not for the authority and efficacy of a man I believe to be one of the most brilliant actors of the generation, Martin Csokas. Norton blew me away as well, and Eva Green was suitably impressive – though the impression of her skill was probably somewhat undermined by the hasty theatrical cut. I sincerely hope her character's purpose is more than that of mere eye-candy in the DC. Note also to the shockingly overlooked Alexander Siddig, one of Britain's finest, and Ghassan Massoud, who truly shines as Saladin.

I don't know what Bloom thought he was doing amongst one of the most impressive ensemble casts of recent years. He is so inferior in comparison it doesn't bear thinking about. I had high hopes, and did not judge until I saw the film, but he failed miserably in altering the almost unanimous critical pre-conceptions of his abilities, or lack thereof. Scott's choice of bloom really surprises me, as he has always been one of the most consistent and effectual directors when it comes to the casting of films – he really knows a brilliant actor when he sees one, and as a result his casts have nearly always been top notch (let's just ignore Sara and Cruise in Legend, okay?).

Still, concerning the rest of KOH, i.e. the miserably unfocused narrative and convoluted/non-existent motives etc, I'm hoping for some measure of improvement in the Director's Cut, though I see not what it could possibly do about expelling the horrendously corny, flag-waving moments. One cannot deny, however, the beauty of the picture. The scene in which the King's Jerusalem army appears to confront Saladin's army takes my breath away even on the small screen, even with the profusion of CGI. Gregson-Williams excelled with the score, even if it is rather Gladiator-esque, and the costume/set-pieces are befitting of Scott's realist high standards. Despite its flaws I'm inclined to believe KOH to be slightly better than Gladiator, which I feel to be fiendishly overrated in most areas of its execution.

Anyway, onwards…

When I discuss something that interests me, I usually go on and on, so I fully expect most people to skip past what will probably be an extensive and long-winded text. Sorry in advance.


Ridley Scott: Style Over Substance; a greatly prostituted expression in the examination of Scott's work. I believe it to be an unfounded accusation, but an understandably popular theory. Despite his fidelity to great writing and meaningful story, it is difficult for us to comprehend a director who delivers in both the technical and aesthetic areas of film, at least in modern cinema, and so we come to deny it possible. In the work of notable great directors, the art works in unison with the technical, a good example being Hitchcock. It could be argued that during the golden age of cinema an equilibrium of these two broad facets of filmmaking was more important, whereas now a film often will adhere either to sound storytelling or blazing, awe-inspiring visuals. It's almost not acceptable to fashion overt visuals, and we often assume such beauty must have been crafted at the expense of a credible script. I do it too, and it's often a justified stance to take, especially given current obsession with computer-generated imagery.

However, I believe Scott has constantly delivered films that, while they apply much attention to the imagery and visual beauty, rarely fail to convey evocative, interesting plots of relevance and fascination, with multi-faceted characters of depth, workable arcs and many an implicated theme and/or underlying meaning. Scott hails from an advertising background, something I think works against him and his peers within the critical sphere, but he has always expressed a desire and a need to apply the brilliance of his artistic mind to a script and story worthy of note. Worthy, indeed, of his superior visuals. It's true that not all of his films excel in story, but it cannot be said that his intention is to neglect it. Scott spends weeks and weeks of pre-production developing his scripts with the writer(s), and works with screenwriters of incredible talent – some of the best in the business. If he can be accused of anything it is that sometimes his productions become tortuous as he struggles to align integrity of story with fervent visuals while dealing with studio limitation, interference or artistic misunderstanding (often the cause of production downfalls), but much of his work is superior in plot and script to many other films of little or no artistic aspiration. He is a perfectionist, a disposition that probably creates more nuisance than any other.

His most visually exquisite films usually offer similar satisfaction in script and/or direction. Alien, whilst lacking in dialogue, features directorial sequences of the highest standard within the horror genre, with so much to be said of the twisting of audience expectations and the unexpected shocks. The narrative and characters of Blade Runner may leave some people cold, but this could be seen as largely a desired response – a frosty detachment from the subject matter reflects the explored issues of humanity, what it means to be or not to be, and the characters' own disconnection with life in an utterly despondent distopia lacking in many things that we might consider makes us human. Thelma And Louise is bursting at the seams to contain its meticulous character arcs and truly moving insights into elements of societal attitude and behaviour. Gladiator, while lacking plot direction, is very explicit in its exploration of themes and issues and features fascinating character interactions.

All of Scott's films explore differing stories of completely contrasting individuals, incorporating a huge array of sub-plots and themes. Most of the time the visuals balance with the story, and the elements compliment each other. Scott doesn't choose a script with ease or indifference, and his rigorous reformation of even the best of them implies the import he lays on the writing of his films. To me, it's strange to consider Ridley a director of no substance, even if he's notched up rotters like Hannibal and Black Rain. He doesn't always deliver a good film, but to assert that a suspect storyline and script is attributed to his own deliberate ignorance and pompous focus upon the visual is entirely untrue in my opinion. That accusation might, I think, be more accurately applied to Speilberg upon examination of his own body of work. Certainly to Lucas and his unnatural allegiance to the MacGuffin, to Burton, perhaps even to Mendes and to Bruckheimer – an auteur in his own right. And let's not forget the style-over-substance maestro, Shyamalan.

In the words of Ridley himself:

"What you put on screen has to be fundamentally important, even if only for the moment. It has to say something that moves the audience; it must entertain, enchant and, perhaps above all, involve them. So the most important element of my films is always the screenplay. I must be able to hang my hopes and fears on what's inside the writer's head. Yet the toughest part is always the screenplay every time. Movie-making is really all story, story, story. Everything else follows that.”

Need we more explanation? It sounds like he has a perfect formula if you ask me. But you know what they say about perfect intentions…


quote:

ORIGINAL: JediBobster
Let's go back to Alien. A film that I grew up on. I LOVE that film. The sheer atmosphere throughout, the look of it, the sound of it, especially the sound if it, the performances and verisimilitude throughout. I know that film better than I know most of my relatives. Form the slow pans around the ship at the beginning, to the flashes, exhalations and finally sad peace at the climax.

I would agree entirely with your thoughts on Alien, a film I have debated exhaustively on these forums and so I shall refrain from a long-winded response here. I also share your reverence for it. Alien is largely overlooked as an important science fiction film, despite the accomplishment of the design and elements of futuristic life touched upon. This is because it is foremost a horror film, and one of such virtuosity as to make me dissatisfied by any that has followed it - bar a few. Alien is often underrated for its horror by modern day audiences, as the youth of today has become so jaded by contemporary demand for blood and gore, principally of the computer-generated kind, that the conventional thrills of a well-executed, methodical horror with clear direction are lost on them. It may seem sedate by modern standards, but truly it is the most affecting horror ever committed to the big screen. Scott's ingenious fusion of atmospheric set pieces, excruciatingly slow pacing and perfidious contortion of the viewer's anticipation is truly masterful and makes for the most unexpected frights you could ever witness. Blend this with the horrifying, organic eroticism of the unique set and alien design, the claustrophobic, labyrinthine setting and more twists and turns than Hugh Hefner could shake his stick at, and you have one incredible horror film. Almost every frame is executed to perfection, the cast is truly flawless and the script, for want of a better word, perfect. I could discuss every minute of this film; every shot and scene is relevant to the advancement of the narrative, and there is so much detail and complexity hidden beneath the apparent simplistic surface. I truly believe Alien is a masterpiece, and that is not a title I often bestow, especially given my distaste for and distrust of the erratic horror genre. I don't believe Scott has ever surpassed the triumph his second feature film in terms of direction and conclusive effect. I love it, I love it, I love it!


quote:

Alien
is one of my favourites of all time and likely to stay there. But how much of that was down to Ridley and how much was down to the script. I wonder this about many movies actually, feeling that the writers always get largely ignored when it comes to film discussion. People tend to forget that good scripts contain more than just dialogue but also detailed action description too. This being the case, and again we can think this for many a film, how would Alien have ended up in the hands of a different director, a late 70s Spielberg or Carpenter?

Perhaps that?s a debate for another time, and slightly digressive here.

Not at all, I think that's a highly relevant and interesting debate, especially pertinent in the discussion of the lack of substance in terms of plot and script of which Ridley is continually accused.

I agree that screenwriters are largely ignored in the industry, at least by the general cinema-going public, despite that their role is the most important of the entire filmmaking process. After all, 'you can make a bad film out of a good script but you can't make a good film out of a bad script'. As you have said, scripts contain directorial information as well as dialogue, so they must be considered when discussing the role of director (what with the writer, editor and cinematographer it is increasingly exasperating to define what exactly the role of the director is, but that's a whole other story).

It is true that the script for Alien is sparse and so much of it must contain visual instructions, but the argument for Scott's own contribution is the utilization of the storyboard. Script directions could never be comprehensive enough to specify all individual frames, and Scott drew on his artistic background to fully storyboard Alien; all by himself, frame by frame. So extensive was his depiction that the studio vastly increased his overall budget off the back of these drawings alone. It seems therefore defensible to accredit the non-scripted scenes of Alien to Scott's own artistic vision, and affirm that ingenious directorial sequences like Brett's death scene are down to his own ability to interpret the objective of the screenplay.


quote:

ORIGINAL: …Marcus…
If Blade Runner was released today it would stand up to most criticism. As a detective film, it will never get past  comparisons to others in the ouevre, however, as a fully realised sci-fi drama, it will forever be the benchmark for Tech Noir. The fact that it's 21 years old and still inviting -arguably- more debate amongst fans than Star Wars should be testament to it's enduring legacy.

I must clarify that actually Blade Runner (1982) is 25 years old, next year. The film undoubtedly invites much debate, even today, and certainly more than Star Wars (what's there to debate about Star Wars?). Blade Runner has long been one of my favourite films, though one about which it seems fruitless to write as so much discourse already surrounds it.

Blade Runner is fascinating to me; an unequalled and unsurpassed exploration into the meaning and the classification of humanity and all its encumbering components; the impediments not only of being human in an impersonal, technological world but of attempting to classify what makes us so, outside of veritable biology. The irony of the relevance of a futuristic society to modern-day life is a blow to the head and heart, and while this film boasts some of Scott's most celebrated imagery, it is the story of Roy Batty and his desire to be part of the human race, while he ultimately betters it, that coerces me to love, and slightly fear, this film.

Following the iconic scene of Alien, which needs no introduction nor explanation, up in the rafters with the likes of the Psycho shower scene and the choice picks from Casablanca, Scott had to deliver something to rival it. What resulted was my very favourite scene in all of cinema (at least of that I have seen), one of incomparable magnificence and sorrow, and breathtaking imagery. How clichéd it now is to revere Roy Batty's death scene, but I am but a slave to its allure. That the film's villain, a seemingly ruthless murderer with, perhaps in his mind, impunity, should in his last breaths before death choose to allow life, is a moment of such sombre poignancy and moral gravity that I never fail to be moved. In these last moments it is the manmade being, in spite of his bitterness, which now illustrates more of the typically conceived 'humanity' than the human himself. This is why I refuse to believe that Deckard, the main character, is also a replicant, as is a popular theory. I refuse to believe it because it undermines many, if not all, of the messages that make Blade Runner an iconic science fiction film and an affecting experience.

BR's character's are cold, with protagonist Deckard a dislikeable and largely uninteresting individual. This is reflected in the perpetually cold, dark, wet environment of the future distopia, where animals and friends alike must be…created. Here the darker recesses of people still survive, and it is a dismal existence.

Blade Runner is not flawless but it is, in my opinion, very close. Regardless of how loyal he was, Scott brought Philip K. Dick's story to the screen with extraordinary style and sophistication, that nobody can deny, but also with a real deference for the subject matter and an understanding of the intrinsic themes and feelings. Dick was able, just before his death, to view a preliminary cut of the film and was blown away by it. That, perhaps, is the ultimate endorsement.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Vadersville
The problem with Ridley is that whilst he has undeniable talent, for every great film he makes he makes a dreadful one which just sours the taste of his achievements. Whilst I enjoy a lot of his films he can't always be counted on to deliver the goods. Delving from one extreme to the other he's just far too hit and miss!

This is entirely true. While Scott's skills are apparent in those films he does well, he does not apply these skills to everything he does. Who knows why? Scott is an articulate man of great intention, a dream on a DVD commentary, and so explicates well what his aims with his films are and were, what he thinks work well and what doesn't in his films. He certainly doesn't have the consistency of Kubrick or Lean, which is why I don't believe he is worthy of fifth place in the 'greatest directors' poll, but he deserves attention for those films of his that are great.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Vader100
Thelma & Louise for me is the worst thing in his record (apart from gi jane).The whole empowering women thing taken too far and given a cheesy "that'll get all the girly's crying" ending just turned me off completely.

This is utterly the wrong perception of the film. I don't mean to sound condescending, but Thelma And Louise has so much more to it than some people realise, and wonderfully complex character studies. The ending you speak of was actually a revised version after previews of the film with its original end sequence, showing the car descending into the canyon and crashing at the bottom, was panned by the audience as too depressing. That which replaced it is supposed to be uplifting, and certainly isn't meant to 'make the girlies cry'. I personally don't find the 'empowering women thing' is taken too far – some of the scenes are intentionally comical and bordering on implausibility, such as the scene in which they lock the policeman in the trunk of his car, and the blowing up of the vulgar lorry driver's truck, but the main theme is credible to me. These are two women who have suffered at the hands of men and tolerated, until something tips them over the edge. To me the film is, essentially, heartbreakingly realistic, which is what makes it effective. It is not anti-men as many people say; it is anti the horrible men that Thelma and Louise encounter. In no way is the film saying that all men are shit. That is such a simplistic view of the film it make's me a little irritated when people make that allegation. And believe me, there really are men like that lorry driver. It's not hyperbolic.

Thelma And Louise is not only wonderfully written but excellently directed by Scott. He manipulates scenes against one another for particular effect and, as he so often does, mimics the themes through the visual. In no way can the imagery and visuals of this film be accused of being superfluous; the set pieces, costumes, lighting and above all the landscapes compliment the themes, tone, direction and pace of the film to perfection (not to mention the faultless soundtrack and score by the ingenious Hans Zimmer). I may even go so far as to say it is his most accomplished film, in that it works very well indeed and was unhindered by the sorts of difficulties a Scott production often experiences. It benefits greatly from first-rate performances from every single cast member, not least the utterly astounding Susan Sarandon. The look in her eyes when confronting the would-be rapist Harlan is without comparison, indicative of a consummate artist. It makes me well up every time.

I have a great love for Thelma And Louise. Again, I wouldn't say it is absolutely flawless but it is affecting, moving, stunning and quite unique. It is fair to say that for a male director to tackle issues complex and consequential to the female mind, and with such delicacy, is quite unheard of. Scott has gained a reputation as a director who champions the inclusion of 'strong women' in film, of female empowerment and emancipation from the oppression of our patriarchal society. I personally don't think this was deliberate. I think Scott quite simply chooses scripts with strong, well-written characters. I don't think he ever intended to make a point about women in film, or in general, just that he respects women and their capabilities instinctively and doesn't think twice about making them the hero, or not. But he inadvertently started a new craze, one that survives and continues to evolve today, 27 years after Ellen Ripley. Good on yer Ridley.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Moth
This gets to the heart of my original argument. A director must do much more than produce visually stunning pictures. In fact it could be argued that the 'look' of a film is as much to do with the cinematographer as the director - John Mathieson did Kingdom of Heaven, Matchstick Men, Gladiator and Hannibal with Scott. Maybe he should be praised for the visually stunning pictures?

That's a justified query, but not one that can be applied only to Scott. If you are to deliberate the division of roles between director and cinematographer, the same thing goes for all directors. It is difficult to define who does what, but ultimately the director dictates what they want and the cinematographer delivers on a technical level. Of course they will provide artistic input, but the director has the first and last say. Concerning his earlier work at least, there is some significance in the fact that Scott rarely used the same cinematographer. Unlike many directors, he rarely forges allegiances with fellow film technicians of any area, which, given the consistency of the visuals of his films, is testament to a signature style applicable to him. I suspect Mathieson provided great creative contribution in working with Scott over four films, but I believe Scott has a distinct idea of what he wants, elements of which have become signatory – low-key lighting, blue lighting, lighting through props and parts of the sets, gritty realism etc. These elements are apparent in most of, if not all of his films and cannot, I think, be attributed to his director(s) of photography. Other directors of a distinct visual style do not come under such scrutiny – Tim Burton, despite the repeated input of cinematographers Stefan Czapsky and Philippe Rousselot, or Fritz Lang, who partnered may times with Fritz Arno Wagner and Carl Hoffman. It's a shame that Scott bears the brunt of many accusations concerning his visual filmmaking style that could pertain to many other filmmakers, but aren't.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Sharkboy
The few times he has got outstanding performances in his movies have been as much due to the cast as they have the director. 

I'm not sure I get your meaning. Aren't the performances usually down to the cast? It seems a strange thing to throw at Scott. If anything he should be praised for the casting of actors that are able to deliver outstanding performances, as testament to his proficiency as a director.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Axel Foley
I have also noticed a number of comments saying Scott doesn't bother with characters and emotions. I think the truth couldn't be more different. In fact one thing that has come to light in his recent output is his desire to follow the path of a man searching for identity in an alien environment, for fulfillment and a sense of humanity or to reconcile ills that he has suffered. It can be seen in the story arcs of Rick Deckard, Nick Conklin, Maximus Decimus Meridius, Matt Eversman, Balian and even Jack the forest dweller.

Excellent post Axel, and I couldn't agree more. To the strange person who said earlier in the thread that Scott has no style, take note of what Axel details above – one element of Scott's auteur signature (if you go for the auteur theory).

quote:

Having recently watched his director's cut of Legend, I also felt it worth saying that his genius was betrayed by the theatrical release. With key scenes restored and the magnificent Jerry Goldsmith score now present, there's a genuine sense of wonder throughout. Cruise's Jack and Mia Sara's Lily ooze warmth and there's an affecting romance.

The best is saved for the scene in which Darkness attempts to seduce Lily in a dance of balletic beauty. Goldsmith's score brings an operatic feel and Scott's style creates an atmosphere which is partly trippy and partly nightmarish fantasy.

As a fan of Scott and a huge fan of Legend, despite its mountainous flaws, I think I'm out on my own when I say I prefer the US theatrical cut of the film. Yes, I really do. To this day I've never found anyone who agrees with me. The reasons for my opinion are these: 1) The look of the film in the US cut is, surprisingly, far more dark and sinister, far more befitting of the story and tone. I once compared the two cuts, one on DVD and one on VHS, with the use of the ingenious AV button on my TV (yes, I'm that sad) and upon inspection the theatrical cut has an eerie, beautiful blue filter over such scenes as those involving the goblins. It looks amazing. However, on the DC the filter is gone and the look is very ordinary, with pretty green grass and sunny weather when it isn't appropriate. This, for me, spoils many of the scenes and a great portion of the foreboding, terrifying tone is ruined; 2) I do not like Goldsmith's score. Like all of his scores, it's lovely as an individual composition, but with the dark quality of Scott's film it just doesn't work. I think the Tangerine Dream score is a big improvement in regards to the overall effect of the film. Film is collaborative, so a score can't just be pretty. It has to fit, and in my opinion Goldsmith was the wrong man for the job. It happened on Alien too, so there you go.
 
Now for Gladiator. Scott's Roman epic is probably his most popular and most accessible film, and while it is indeed a good watch, I find it to be overrated. One has to try and tolerate historical inconsistencies in film, but the crimes of this particular movie are far too great for me to accept. Visually it is superb, of course, but the narrative is lacking in focus and relevance, and I find Russell Crowe to be quite nondescript in his performance – I could never understand why he is so respected for it. The CGI gets a bit much, although I suppose it is justified. It's an okay movie in general, and a very good action movie, but I've never been a big fan and lament it's fame and success on a broader stage. It's a bit like Pacino getting his Oscar for Scent Of A Woman instead of The Godfather.
 
I'm a big Ridley Scott fan; I respect him and admire him as a filmmaker and as an individual (from what little I've seen) but I can still accept the flaws within his general body of work. He is by no means one of the greatest directors of all time in the conventional sense, but I believe him to be the crafter of a couple of the greatest films ever made. It is wrong for his critics to label him an overrated director in terms of talent, as he has clearly demonstrated inherent directorial skills through the great films he has produced, if limited in quantity. If anything is to be faulted it is individual films he has made, and the director's lack of consistency in quality. But his natural aptitude cannot be denied.
 


< Message edited by Roxanne -- 21/9/2006 10:50:48 PM >


_____________________________

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.

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Post #: 20
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 19/9/2006 7:06:54 PM   
doncopey1


Posts: 4998
Joined: 29/11/2005
From: Liverpool: Age 25
An excellent post Roxanne i throughly enjoyed reading that.

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Post #: 21
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 20/9/2006 11:29:09 AM   
Roxanne


Posts: 176
Joined: 30/9/2005
Thank you

_____________________________

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.

(in reply to doncopey1)
Post #: 22
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 20/9/2006 5:38:50 PM   
Axel Foley


Posts: 731
Joined: 15/10/2005
Great points Roxanne (I especially agree on the fact that Scott is respobsible for the look of his films, it's misguided to believe that the cinematographer designs the composition of each shot). I don't have time to reply properly, but I would highly recommend the Kingdom of Heaven director's cut. There's a thread on it in DVD discussion if you have a moment:

http://www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=294575

The forum reviews and comments on the director's cut itself start on the 4th page. If nothing else it proves that Sir Ridley has done more than any other director to deliver DVDs with additional content of a quality high enough to justify the purchase in itself.
quote:

As a fan of Scott and a huge fan of Legend, despite its mountainous flaws, I think I'm out on my own when I say I prefer the US theatrical cut of the film. Yes, I really do. To this day I've never found anyone who agrees with me. The reasons for my opinion are these: 1) The look of the film in the US cut is, surprisingly, far more dark and sinister, far more befitting of the story and tone. I once compared the two cuts, one on DVD and one on VHS, with the use of the ingenious AV button on my TV (yes, I'm that sad) and upon inspection the theatrical cut has an eerie, beautiful blue filter over such scenes as those involving the goblins. It looks amazing. However, on the DC the filter is gone and the look is very ordinary, with pretty green grass and sunny weather when it isn't appropriate. This, for me, spoils many of the scenes and a great portion of the foreboding, terrifying tone is ruined; 2) I do not like Goldsmith's score. Like all of his scores, it's lovely as an individual composition, but with the dark quality of Scott's film it just doesn't work. I think the Tangerine Dream score is a big improvement in regards to the overall effect of the film. Film is collaborative, so a score can't just be pretty. It has to fit, and in my opinion Goldsmith was the wrong man for the job. It happened on Alien too, so there you go.



Having not seen the theatrical cut for quite some time, I can't really comment on the look of the film. It still looks pretty amazing and atmospherically scary in the right places. I'd have to disagree about Tangerine Dream's score though. It dates the film terribly, and by itself sounds fine, but doesn't have the classical quality Goldsmith provides.

Interesting that you mention Alien, because Goldsmith's original score was more esoteric, but Scott himself asked Goldsmith to redesign it to sound more like a conventional horror film. Goldsmith himself was still pissed off when he was interviewed for the Quadrilogy boxset extras.

I look forward to seeing A Good Year. If it had been by any other director the idea would not at all have gripped me, but Scott can add an artistic sensibility to any material. Matchstick Men would've been just another caper film without his unique eye for details and shot composition (I loved how he made Cage's house seem so otherworldly). In fact Cage's character arc would seem to fit in with the auteur theory that we have coined for Scott.

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Post #: 23
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 20/9/2006 6:20:50 PM   
Roxanne


Posts: 176
Joined: 30/9/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Axel Foley

Great points Roxanne (I especially agree on the fact that Scott is respobsible for the look of his films, it's misguided to believe that the cinematographer designs the composition of each shot). I don't have time to reply properly, but I would highly recommend the Kingdom of Heaven director's cut. There's a thread on it in DVD discussion if you have a moment:

http://www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=294575

The forum reviews and comments on the director's cut itself start on the 4th page. If nothing else it proves that Sir Ridley has done more than any other director to deliver DVDs with additional content of a quality high enough to justify the purchase in itself.

Thank you for the info, I will definitely check it out. Your comments about Scott DVDs are completely true - I await with anticipation the re-releases of Scott's films, especially those plagued with production difficulties, as the extras are always fantastic. Scott's commentaries and the documentaries are always informative and interesting. In fact I was considering getting the KOH DC for the extras even though I'm not a fan of the film in its current form (probably also a good reason to get it really).

Incidentally (sort of relevant); I saw Bloom in Extras the other night and was actually suitably impressed. It seems that when he chills out a bit, and lets the acting flow a bit more naturally instead of making it so nauseatingly deliberate, he has a lot more going for him. Still, it was only a little part. I do have hope yet, however.


quote:

quote:

As a fan of Scott and a huge fan of Legend, despite its mountainous flaws, I think I'm out on my own when I say I prefer the US theatrical cut of the film. Yes, I really do. To this day I've never found anyone who agrees with me. The reasons for my opinion are these: 1) The look of the film in the US cut is, surprisingly, far more dark and sinister, far more befitting of the story and tone. I once compared the two cuts, one on DVD and one on VHS, with the use of the ingenious AV button on my TV (yes, I'm that sad) and upon inspection the theatrical cut has an eerie, beautiful blue filter over such scenes as those involving the goblins. It looks amazing. However, on the DC the filter is gone and the look is very ordinary, with pretty green grass and sunny weather when it isn't appropriate. This, for me, spoils many of the scenes and a great portion of the foreboding, terrifying tone is ruined; 2) I do not like Goldsmith's score. Like all of his scores, it's lovely as an individual composition, but with the dark quality of Scott's film it just doesn't work. I think the Tangerine Dream score is a big improvement in regards to the overall effect of the film. Film is collaborative, so a score can't just be pretty. It has to fit, and in my opinion Goldsmith was the wrong man for the job. It happened on Alien too, so there you go.



Having not seen the theatrical cut for quite some time, I can't really comment on the look of the film. It still looks pretty amazing and atmospherically scary in the right places. I'd have to disagree about Tangerine Dream's score though. It dates the film terribly, and by itself sounds fine, but doesn't have the classical quality Goldsmith provides.

Ah, well we'll have to disagree on that one then. All electronic scores from the 80s have aged, but I still prefer the TG score. It's quite eclectic and moody, and changes with the tone of the film. I just like it.


quote:

Interesting that you mention Alien, because Goldsmith's original score was more esoteric, but Scott himself asked Goldsmith to redesign it to sound more like a conventional horror film. Goldsmith himself was still pissed off when he was interviewed for the Quadrilogy boxset extras.

I've heard it said that Goldsmith took the grudge to his grave, after Scott/the studio had interfered with his Alien and Legend scores (Scott himself says in one of his DVD docs, I can't remember which, that after the fiasco with Legend Goldsmith never spoke to him again). An additional issue he had with Alien, as well as the alteration of his score, was the inclusion of non-original classical music over the end credits (Howard Hanson's Symphony 2). It's a shame because Goldsmith was really talented and created some fantastic scores, but I think his style very much suited Hollywood blockbusters and epics rather than quirky, moody films (I adore his score for The Mummy, amongst others).

I also can't wait for The Good Year. Let's hope Scott and Crowe deliver the goods.

< Message edited by Roxanne -- 21/9/2006 10:20:27 PM >


_____________________________

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.

(in reply to Axel Foley)
Post #: 24
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 21/9/2006 1:57:38 PM   
naomi


Posts: 1878
Joined: 1/9/2006
From: Neverwhere
Legend - it may not be one of his finest films - but as a kid this film had everything going for me - unicorns, fairys, amazing set pieces, and Tim Curry in one of his finest acting roles ever.  Even today I will still happily sit down and watch it.

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Post #: 25
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 21/9/2006 2:09:17 PM   
Peter A. Quinn


Posts: 7320
Joined: 11/2/2006
From: Deep, deep, DEEP undercover!
Yes, I'm a huge fan of Legend, ever since it's release on video in '86. It's probably Scott's most visually breathtaking film, and Tim Curry's performance here is probably his best, though at times he does seem to become Frank N. Furter again ("Does the gown not...please you?"), but he has such a rich, melifulous voice one doesn't really mind. I much prefer Scott's recent "Director's Cut"-aside from the extra footage, the Goldsmith score really stands up, whereas the Tangerine Dream score I find rather intrusive. Don't get me wrong, I normally love TD's scores, but according to Scott, they composed it in two weeks, and it shows. Though the US theatrical cut does include Bryan Ferry's best song...

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Post #: 26
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 23/9/2006 8:08:45 PM   
Axel Foley


Posts: 731
Joined: 15/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Roxanne

Incidentally (sort of relevant); I saw Bloom in Extras the other night and was actually suitably impressed. It seems that when he chills out a bit, and lets the acting flow a bit more naturally instead of making it so nauseatingly deliberate, he has a lot more going for him. Still, it was only a little part. I do have hope yet, however.


I'd agree. It's refreshing to see how un-self concious he can be be and credit must be given to him for sending himself up. The irony being that many would think of him as self-centred and vain, but he's clearly not bothered by that at all. The Johnny Depp bugbear was particularly funny.

I personally feel Scott chose him for Kingdom of Heaven because he is able to deliver what Scott wanted. Humble yet with a noble bearing, ready for action yet sensitive and compassionate. There is also the belief that it was intended for him to be our eyes into the world of the Crusades and that as such he should not be overbearing, and be able to play second fiddle to the likes of Ghassan Massoud as Saladin or Edward Norton as King Baldwin. A presence such as Russell Crowe's would#ve diverted audience attention from what Scott was trying to create.


quote:

Ah, well we'll have to disagree on that one then. All electronic scores from the 80s have aged, but I still prefer the TG score. It's quite eclectic and moody, and changes with the tone of the film. I just like it.


It's true to say that, and many of those 80s scores i still love (Beverly Hills Cop for one ).


quote:


I've heard it said that Goldsmith took the grudge to his grave, after Scott/the studio had interfered with his Alien and Legend scores (Scott himself says in one of his DVD docs, I can't remember which, that after the fiasco with Legend Goldsmith never spoke to him again). An additional issue he had with Alien, as well as the alteration of his score, was the inclusion of non-original classical music over the end credits (Howard Hanson's Symphony 2). It's a shame because Goldsmith was really talented and created some fantastic scores, but I think his style very much suited Hollywood blockbusters and epics rather than quirky, moody films (I adore his score for The Mummy, amongst others).

He was also pissed off that Scott and his editor recycled some music from an earlier score of his to use over the waking up sequence, which he thought wholly inappropriate. I guess events transpiring on Legend made their relationship irreconcilable. I can't quite remember now, but Scott made changes following the test screenings, but I believe under studio pressure as they wanted something that felt fresh and more in touch with the younger generation.

Such history shows that Scott's collaborations with Hans Zimmer a coming together of like minds. He was able to capture the mood of both Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, and knew exactly how to correct his scoring for Matchstick Men in line with Scott's thinking. A composer needs to be on the same wavelength as the director and Scott and Zimmer seem to be a perfect match. Interestingly Zimmer recommended harry Greson Warner for Kingdom of Heaven, and he did a grand job, matching Zimmer for ability to conjure the right mood for the period (I particualry like his use of choral pieces).

Btw I find Goldsmith's score to LA Confidential excellent and though it is made with WB's money, it is a dark edgy thriller all the same. He uses jazz themes to truly evoke that 50s sense of period and atmosphere and is able to use dissonant sounds to crank up the tension when required.

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Post #: 27
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 24/9/2006 11:01:50 PM   
Roxanne


Posts: 176
Joined: 30/9/2005
Spot on about Zimmer .He's incredibly versatile and can adapt to any genre or concept to deliver a score wholly relevant to the themes and tone of a film. I also agree about Gregson-Williams; although it seems he was trying to provide a score on par with the iconographic music for Gladiator, his music for KOH is still irrefutably beautiful and very fitting.

I have to admit I'd forgotten Goldsmith scored L.A. Confidential (and remember being very surprised at this credit upon first viewing) so that puts paid a little to my description of his style as befitting blockbusters exclusively! He was a very good composer (and has an unbelievably large body of work), so it's a real shame what transpired between he and Scott.



< Message edited by Roxanne -- 25/9/2006 3:21:29 PM >


_____________________________

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.

(in reply to Axel Foley)
Post #: 28
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 4/10/2006 1:15:51 PM   
TheMadFatChickKiller


Posts: 319
Joined: 30/1/2006
Although I am a fan of Scott's films, 'Legend' is just stupid, and a bit of a vanity project. At the time it got compared to those old Timotei shampoo adverts, and to be honest it's true - all those daffy slo-mo shots, running up and down hills. There is no story, just a series of admittedly stylish but dated visuals.
 
The Tangerine Dream score is a guilty pleasure, and it only really fits the film better than Jerry Goldsmith's because the whole piece is just so 80s.
 
Incidentally, Harry Gregson-Williams is part of Hans Zimmer's 'school' - a small group of composers (also includes Klaus Badelt) who work together and share the same creative mindset. I think there's a bit on one a DVD Docs (can't remember which DVD film it is - it might be Hannibal) where it's explained that Hans couldn't commit to some parts of the score, but recommended Klaus Badelt as a former pupil. Also interesting that the specially commissioned 'Faust' aria was subsequently turned into a real opera by it's composer - Paul Cassidy
 
I can't wait for the definitive 'Blade Runner' DVD next year. I've read so much 'Net conjecture about which version is better, which version is uncut, that it'd be great to finally have both versions in sparkling picture and sound to compare for oneself.

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Post #: 29
RE: RIDLEY SCOTT - 4/10/2006 5:42:56 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


Posts: 3743
Joined: 31/8/2006
Ever since Gladiator, I have been an avid Scott fan, though his most recent works havent been up to his usual standards.

Gladiator as a whole isnt just about the film, plot, CGI, character development et al... but it is greatly enhanced by the score. This is especially evident in the chariot scene.

People seem to forget that the score in a film is especially vital to a films sucess, something of which that has help star wars become so succenssful.


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Post #: 30
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