Sir Ridley Scott has paid tribute to his brother ahead of a special screening of The Author Of Beltraffio (TF1, 1974), directed by the late Tony Scott as part of the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival. Taking place at BFI Southbank this weekend, the Festival celebrates the current golden age of TV with more than 40 events featuring some of the biggest names on the small screen. The Author If Beltraffio which screens on Saturday 8 April, has recently been rediscovered by the BFI National Archive. This will be the first time that the TV drama starring Doctor Who’s fourth Time Lord Tom Baker and Georgina Hale (Mahler, The Boyfriend) will be viewed by UK audiences in over 40 years since its UK transmission in 1976. Tony Scott’s first film was the British contribution to a five-part series of Henry James stories made for French TV in 1974.
In a filmed introduction to be screened in full before festival audiences on Saturday 8 April, Sir Ridley Scott talks about the founding of Tony and Ridley Scott’s production company Scott Free Films, making the move from commercials into long form drama and the genesis of The Author Of Beltraffio, confirming the details of a curious moment in British filmmaking history:
“This was a great opportunity for both of us to expand our directing ambitions into long form. So, as brothers we had to toss a coin as to who would do the first directing gig… guess who won?!”
Sir Ridley Scott also discusses the importance of the film in developing Tony Scott’s directing credentials;
“Beltraffio was a story that depended on complex psychological subtext but just as importantly – needed the intense atmosphere that Tony did so well in his previous work. Futhermore, Tony was particularly passionate about Henry James as a story teller”
As well as the impact of The Author Of Beltraffio on Tony Scott’s subsequent career,
“The quality of Belltrafio assisted Tony in securing his first hollywood gig, The Hunger with David Bowie, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Denueve, which would be followed fairly quickly with Top Gun and all the success that came with it.”
“Whilst Tony became associated with action thrillers, Belltrafio reminds us that Tony was a great story teller and a very accomplished director of actors.”
and finally his reaction to the BFI National Archive rediscovery;
“Tony would have been delighted that Belltrafio was being seen again by a whole new generation of film makers and audiences . Good films made for Television can so easily be forgotten – so it’s terrific that his film has been re-discovered by the British Film Institute.”
The Author Of Beltraffio screens this Saturday 8 April, 11am start at BFI Southbank followed by an onstage discussion with lead actress Georgina Hale and author/presenter Danny Leigh.