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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Prometheus’, 5 July 2012

directed by Ridley Scott.
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... Ridley Scott says his new film, Prometheus, is not a prequel to his 1979 Alien. It just has ‘certain strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak’. Fans of the first movie and its recurring avatars have been worried about this, and anxious to prove him wrong. This is easy to do in a narrow sense. The dates are right, the human story of Prometheus beginning in 2089 and ending in 2094 (Alien is set in 2122); the same sinister corporation is funding an expedition to a far planet, interested more in plunder than in the meaning of life; and our last glimpse of action in this distant place involves the birth of a slippery wriggling monster, half-snake and three-quarters octopus, from the stomach of a doomed humanoid ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: The gangster movie, 13 December 2007

American Gangster 
directed by Ridley Scott.
November 2007
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... Ridley Scott is always a director to watch. This proposition includes watching for things to avoid, especially when he goes for history and costume, as in 1492 and The Kingdom of Heaven. But there were also The Duellists and Thelma and Louise; and Blade Runner, it seems, is always showing up in a new version ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Martian’, 22 October 2015

The Martian 
directed by Ridley Scott.
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... that there were no Martians to invade or be invaded by? The time setting of the story told by Ridley Scott’s The Martian is scrupulously unmentioned in the film or in the Andy Weir book it is based on, but nerdy fans have figured it out from internal evidence centring on the astral timing of Thanksgiving. It is 2035. Weir has confirmed that this is ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: From ‘Alien’ to ‘Covenant’, 15 June 2017

Alien: Covenant 
directed by Ridley Scott.
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... The date​ of the story in Ridley Scott’s new alien movie is 2104, ten years after the messy, murderous events that put an end to the previous prequel, Prometheus (2012). True to the tradition of the franchise, virtually the whole crew of a spaceship is wiped out in both films. Alien (1979) ended with Sigourney Weaver’s voice saying into the ship’s log: ‘This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Blade Runner 2049’, 2 November 2017

Blade Runner 2049 
directed by Denis Villeneuve.
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... Batty has spared, is also a replicant has fuelled thousands of discussions, and has the backing of Ridley Scott, the director of the first film. But that was not what the initially released version suggested, and if the second film seems to settle the matter categorically, we can still wonder whether this decision counts outside the second film’s ...

Aunt Twackie’s Bazaar

Andy Beckett: Seventies Style, 19 August 2010

70s Style and Design 
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.90, November 2009, 978 0 500 51483 2
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... helped create an appetite for new design styles. In 1973, before his success in Hollywood, Ridley Scott directed his famous television commercial for Hovis, featuring a boy delivering bread by bicycle up a steep, cobbled street of chocolate box cottages – perhaps the most expert encapsulation and commodification of the era’s rural ...

Torch the Getaway Car

Christian Lorentzen, 13 September 2018

Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime 
by Ben Blum.
Fourth Estate, 414 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 755458 4
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... on him weeks after the rest of their friends had ditched him. Alex loved Black Hawk Down – the Ridley Scott film about the Battle of Mogadishu – and showed it to his girlfriend to explain why he wanted to be a Ranger. The other reason was that his and Ben’s grandfather, Sergeant Al Blum Sr, a New York Jew, had landed in Normandy just after D-Day ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes, 20 January 2011

... to polling station, bearing leaflets, carrying messages as proudly as the freshly baked loaves in Ridley Scott’s celebrated commercial, shot in 1973, on the picturesque slopes of Shaftesbury. Carl Barlow, the youth who featured in the advertisement, underscored by the slow movement of Dvorak’s Symphony No 9, arranged for brass, went on to become a ...

Riches to riches

John Brooks, 20 November 1986

Bend’Or, Duke of Westminster: A Personal Memoir 
by George Ridley.
Robin Clark, 213 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 86072 096 9
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Getty: The Richest Man in the World 
by Robert Lenzner.
Hutchinson, 283 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 09 162840 7
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... grandfather, a serious Liberal politician – the first Duke of Westminster. According to George Ridley, Bend’Or’s long-time employee and friend and eventually his estate agent and the executor of his will, Hugh Lupus was a major philanthropist, model landlord and altogether perfect duke. His son, Bend’Or’s father, died in Bend’Or’s infancy; the ...

Per Ardua

Paul Foot, 8 February 1996

In the Public Interest 
by Gerald James.
Little, Brown, 339 pp., £18.99, December 1995, 0 316 87719 0
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... finished Supergun were finally seized by Customs at Teesport, James was surprised to hear Nicholas Ridley, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, tell the House of Commons that the Government knew nothing about the Supergun contract – given that he had reported it seven months earlier. James reckons that what he calls ‘the cabal’ knew all about ...

Grunge Futurism

Julian Loose, 4 November 1993

Virtual Light 
by William Gibson.
Viking, 336 pp., £14.99, September 1993, 0 670 84081 5
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Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Post-Modern Science Fiction 
by Scott Bukatman.
Duke, 416 pp., £15.95, August 1993, 0 8223 1340 5
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... the casebook Storming the Reality Studio, and a growing number of academic studies like Scott Bukatman’s Terminal Identity. Bukatman pays extensive tribute to Gibson’s seminal role as he charts cyberpunk’s roots in European comics, Ridley Scott’s film Bladerunner and the new wave fiction of Ballard ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns, 11 December 1997

Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... were, and how devoted to the language of passive suffering – even the bouncy Alpinist Frances Ridley Havergal, who ‘stands apart from the other women hymn-writers of the 19th century, if only because of her good health’. When the dog collar was first introduced, it was considered Romish, but it gradually spread until it became the uniform even of ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... tenant with too colourful a professional life; Patrick Nicholls, suspected drunk driver; Nicholas Ridley, too loquacious an advocate of anti-German feeling; and Mrs Edwina Currie (‘most of the egg production in this country is, sadly, now infected with salmonella’). Then there is the long line of sex-scandal casualties: Cecil Parkinson, Tim Yeo, David ...

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