Sometimes it happens that a person is born, lives, works as a cinematographer all his life.

The whole world knows him.

But all his life - literally all - this does not bring happiness to a person.

I'm talking about the amazing English director Tony Scott, whose fate can unsettle anyone for a long time. 

One of his relatives is the organizer of a chain of cinemas in the Newcastle area. (The last of them, which shows documentaries, is surprisingly still working.) His brother, having started his studies at art college, took him, 16 years old, in the title role in the educational film "Boy and Bicycle" (naturally in the role of the boy). Well, where, in your opinion, was then the kid to go? Just go to work in the cinema. 

He first studied at the Sunderland Art School and then tried to enter the Royal College of Art, but failed on the first try. He had a landmark - Ridley's brother Scott, who already studied there. (In addition to Ridley Scott, many very interesting people studied there: sculptor Henry Moore, rocker Ian Dury, artists Peter Blake, Frank Auerbach and David Hockney.) Young Tony Scott also wanted to be an artist and did the second time. And for some reason I got to the cinema again.

While studying there, in 1969 he directed his first film, One of the Missing. It's a very short film, but the choice of script is amazing. This is a screen version of a story by American writer Ambrose Bierce about the American Civil War. It would seem strange: where is the young Englishman and where is the Civil War? But: Ambrose Bierce was not just a journalist in that war, he is also one of the founders of the horror genre in American literature and rises in this genre to crazy heavens. And often in his literature, war breaks out as the basis of infernal horror. And in fact, sometimes in his sarcastic stories he is the dark twin of O. Henry. He also influenced authors as diverse as Heminugei, Borges or Varlam Shalamov. Well, Lovecraft, of course, did not pass him by either.

Perhaps this is the influence of the teacher Tony Scott - the famous film critic Raymond Durgnat, who is known for calling the leftists "little bourgeois undercover."

Yes, then there were still decent teachers at British universities.

Then Tony again starred in films - this time in the film "Don't Go" by his fellow students.

But we must understand that all the filmmakers who later became a generation of outstanding British directors - Ridley Scott, Ken Russell, Alan Parker, Adrian Lyne, etc. - described that era as a time of complete absence of British cinema.

And they were all engaged in advertising. 

Tony's older brother, Ridley, whom we later recognize from the movie Alien, by the time of his younger brother's graduation, had already established his own company Ridley Scott Associates and was actively working on the filming of commercials, in which, by the way, he reached unprecedented heights and won many awards industry. 

Tony Scott first decided to go to documentaries - on the BBC, for example.

But the older brother said, "Don't go to the BBC, come see me first."

Tony went in and stayed for 15 years, with 100 shooting days a year, filming thousands of commercials, honing his style: "I brought sexuality and rock and roll into the commercials."

He was also involved in the operational work of the company, while the older brother has already gone further and began his career in big cinema.

In 1975, Tony Scott found time for feature films.

More precisely, television.

He shot a painting based on the story by Henry James "The Author of Beltraffio".

This is a rather macabre story related to the death of a child due to endless conflict in the family.

It's just that the plot's wife hated the work of her husband-writer and because of this she practically killed the child.

Henry James - one might say, an outstanding American writer little-known in the USSR and post-USSR.

Henry did not hide that he was most influenced by Turgenev, with whom he communicated a lot and fruitfully in Paris.

Today literally for every big work of Henry there are several adaptations: "Portrait of a Woman", "Dove Wings", "Washington Square", "Europeans", "Bostonians" - his novels are adored by filmmakers.

Well, in general, in pre-revolutionary Russia he was known and appreciated more than in post-revolutionary Russia.

Meanwhile, the entire group of English directors - from Parker to Ridley Scott - had already moved to America, because they needed to develop, but there was nowhere to develop.

Tony Scott also received his first offers from Hollywood in 1980.

In 1979, his brother had already filmed the deafening Alien, and in 1982 - even Blade Runner, which plowed the entire science fiction movie industry.

But this does not mean that someone was waiting for these Englishmen in America.

They were British swarms, and they were obscene advertisers.

Everything they did met with monstrous resistance in the land of freedom.

It was Tony Scott who received a lot of criticism.

He was criticized by local critics, local audiences and all and sundry.

Few manage to move from advertisers to big cinema in America, at least as a producer.

I remember only one - Jerry Bruckheimer.

And a few years later, he will appear on Tony Scott's horizon. 

In the meantime, the vampire theme began in Hollywood.

MGM was pondering how to adapt Annie Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire, launching production of the film Hunger based on the novel.

At some point, Tony Scott had to deal with the film.

Hunger is a film with a tragic fate.

Unbearably stylish, starring David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve, an opus about modern vampires.

There was even a love scene between the grand ladies of the world cinema Sarandon and Deneuve accompanied by a duet from the opera "Lakme" by Delibes.

But what could the American audience in the Bauhaus group understand with the song Bela Lugoshi's Dead in the opening credits?

Their influence on literally everyone - from Ministry and O'Type Negative and Marilyn Manson, was appreciated only decades later.

The same thing happened with the film.

He flopped at the box office, and Tony Scott was accused of making films as an advertiser, paying too much attention to the beauty of the picture to the detriment of artistic intent. 

Now he has acquired the so-called cult status, but then everything was different.

In Rolling Stone magazine, a certain Michael Sragow called the film "a small horror film with a huge problem in modern cinema: director Tony Scott devises so many inventive ways to illustrate his vision that there is no time to tell a story."

Hi Michael, I hope you choked on your burger!

The literary basis of "Hunger" is the story (you will laugh) of the advertiser Whitley Strieber, who was fond of the esoteric teachings of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky.

After the failure of "Hunger", Scott Jr., who came in large numbers, did not see any performances for several years, so he took up what consistently brought him money - filming commercials.

And then in 1985 he was found by a former advertiser and now a prominent film producer Jerry Bruckheimer with his partner, former Scientologist Don Simpson.

They persuaded him to shoot his picture Top Gun (aka "Top Gun", aka "Best Shooter", etc.).

Unpretentious plotter, Tom Cruise and beauty Kelly McGillis as top pilots.

Critics began to blow bubbles and whine again, but the box office was wild.

Tony Scott immediately became one of the top guns in Hollywood.

Locals tried to understand how British filmmakers applied all the tools that they had perfected in commercials to ordinary cinema, and yelled that this was not fair.

With a budget of $ 15 million, the film grossed $ 357 million.

And all it took was to get your hands on a commercial for SAAB, where not only the SAAB900 Turbo car is worn, but also the SAAB 37 Viggen fighter ...

The next picture - "Beverly Hills Cop 2" with Eddie Murphy and Brigitte Nielsen - was spat upon by criticism and brought in ten times more than it was spent on. It was one of the highest grossing films of 1987. The director's romance with his wife Stallone Brigitte Nielsen ruined his second marriage, and the next film was the film about adultery "Revenge" (1990). The literary basis is a story by Jim Harrison, published in Esqiure magazine. They love to film Harrison - Legends of the Autumn with Brad Pitt, The Wolf with Jack Nicholson, etc. were shot based on his work.

The project was already 12 years old when Tony Scott joined it.

Before that, John Huston was already hired, who invited Jack Nicholson, then Orson Welles.

The idea really liked Kevin Costner, and only his efforts saved the picture.

Tony Scott used his new military connections to film a fighter jet flying over the desert, while also reminding the public of the Top Gun.

But it all ended in a box office failure.

Although now critics have begun to praise Scott.

In the same year, he made a film without a script, "Days of Thunder", where, apart from Cruise and auto racing, there is nothing to talk about and shoot.

And then it took all his advertising talent to pack the void in the most attractive wrapper.

He got it - $ 157 million at the box office.

But if you ask what Tony Scott shot in his life, no one will remember this picture.

The script for Scott's next film, 1991's The Last Boy Scout, looked like all Lethal Weapon scripts retold by the boys around the corner of the school.

Nonetheless, it was one of the most expensive scenarios in the industry: its author was immediately paid a million-plus dollars.

Starring Bruce Willis.

The production was hell: producer Silver, director Scott, and even Bruce Willis all fell out among themselves.

And in post-production, editing editors have already begun to make faces, accusing the director of being addicted to filming with several cameras at once, which sharply increased the amount of source material, which they stupidly could not cope with.

Everything was fixed by Stuart Baird - the man who once saved the entire technical marriage of Andron Konchalovsky in Tango and Cash.

After spending $ 43 million, Tony brought in $ 114 million in box office.

1993's True Romance - the child of a compromise between Tony Scott and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino - is now hailed as one of the best films of the 1990s, but it flopped at the box office.

Tarantino wrote this script before he did Reservoir Dogs, and for a while he dreamed of making it himself, but then he lost interest. Admiring the scenes of violence (the style he learned from Hong Kong authors, including John Woo) liked Tony Scott, and the director added his advertising-glamorous chic and slow-motion shoots (which are actually accelerated - I always wanted to say this). The story of stealing cocaine from Tarantino ended tragically, and only Scott thought of ending it with a happy ending. Tarantino was categorically against it, but after seeing the whole picture, he had to admit that everything turned out very cool and everything logically follows one from the other.

Excellent cast - Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, James Gandolfini.

The funny thing is that the main roles are played by the least charismatic actors of their generation - Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, people with the sexuality of a minibar and the acting ability of SAAB 9000. But if there is an acting duo Nicolas Cage - Laura Dern, then there is no God and everything is now possible.

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On the whole, the ensemble came out harmonious.

By the way, about harmony and melody.

The soundtrack of Hans Zimmer turned out to be funny - the composer stole almost everything from the old Nazi Karl Orff, who, for many years after the war, proved that he was not a Nazi, but was simply sprinkled with Nazi spirits.

Then, after a failure at the box office and devastating reviews in The Washington Post, of course, the picture began to be called cult, and many authors often turn to it and to its individual characters for inspiration - from the rock group The 1975 (the song "Robbers") to the producer paintings "Pineapple Express".

You probably forgot (or don't know because of your age) that in the 90s, Vladimir Zhirinovsky was the biggest threat to the world.

No, in nature, the Western media devoted so much energy to promoting this topic that now the terrible nationalist Zhirik will come and launch a rocket directly into Washington.

Our Zhirik.

Rocket.

Crap.

This paranoia was reflected in Hollywood films as well.

Actually, Tony Scott's 1995 Crimson Tide is about the same thing.

Confrontation between submarines, missiles are about to fly - and that's all.

Starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman.

The surname of the cinematic Zhirinovsky is Vladimir Radchenko.

The film earned three times what was spent on it - $ 157 million.

After the disastrous 1996 film The Fan starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes, Tony Scott is back with the box office champion of the decade, Enemy of the State, 1998.

Thriller with Will Smith and Gene Hackman.

The story about the conspiracy of the special services has gone well all over the world, not only in America, about which it is filmed.

The previous generation of moviegoers saw in it a kind of continuation of Coppola's "Conversation" with the same Gene Hackman.

He raised as much as $ 250 million.

In 2004, he directed Man on Fire, a thriller based on the novel by A.J.

Quinella "Up to White Heat."

The author's real name is Philip Nicholson, and his novels are a wild hit for some reason in Japan.

Anger is his most popular novel in the bibliography.

The cast is again Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken and even Mickey Rourke.

The film brought commercial success again - $ 130 million.

But I would draw your attention to the amazing short film "Agent Orange", which, despite its provocative title, is not at all about a chemical warfare agent that the Americans poured over Vietnam, but about love.

This is a simple parable, filmed by the most advanced technologies at that time.

If that tells you anything, it was almost entirely shot at a shutter speed of one frame per second and six frames per second.

The roof of the viewer drives off immediately.

It could have been a clip from Radiohead.

By the way, he knew and loved music, shot videos.

For example, One More Try by George Michael or Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins.

In 2005, he made the film Domino, which was remarkable both in terms of technology and in terms of script.

In fact, this is the real story of British model Domino Harvey, who became a bounty hunter in Los Angeles and was accused of stealing $ 10 million. Keira Knightley is in the title role.

Perhaps Knightley made the film a flop.

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In 2006, he was to direct a remake of Walter Hill's 1979 film Warriors.

Everyone who began his filmomaniac career with a VCR remembers this picture based on the novel by Sol Yurik.

It’s a pity that it didn’t work out.

In 2006, he again directed Denzel Washington in the fantasy action movie Deja Vu.

The plot sounds painfully familiar: the agent tries to travel in time to prevent a terrorist attack.

Back then, the street face recognition software looked fantastic, yes.

The film brought in $ 180 million. 

Two more films - 2009's Dangerous Passengers of Train 123 (it was a remake of a 1974 thriller) and 2010's Unstoppable (a disaster film based on real events) - looked very decent at the box office.

But the strange thing is - he once said in an interview: "The most terrible thing in my life is to get up every morning and go to make a movie."

So on August 19, 2012, he got up, left two notes on the table, and then fell off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the Port of San Pedro Los Angeles.

What is written in the notes, nobody knows except the family.


The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.

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