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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Intriguing First Effort from Scott

Author: HarpMN
13 June 2003

Boy and Bicycle is available on the DVD of Scott's excellent feature debut, The Duellists. It is an abstract, stream-of-consciousness journey into the mind of "The Boy," played by Scott's younger brother Tony. While it may seem like not much happens as we follow Tony through the streets of a smallish English industrial town, the sensation of being inside his head, hearing the sometimes nonsensical interior monologue of a young teenager playing hooky becomes almost hypnotic after a while.

What really stands out about this short film is the early development of Ridley Scott's visual style. His shot composition is amazing for a first effort; Scott is able to use The Boy's surroundings, both natural and man-made, to frame his subject skillfully and direct the viewer's eye to the precise details he wants to emphasize.The black-and-white photography really helps to accent the details of The Boy's surroundings. Scott also is not afraid to experiment with camera angles, using high or low angle shots to capture The Boy from angles that are at once strange but also oddly natural, all the while keeping in mind the fascinating geometry of whatever might be found in the background.

All told, this is a fascinating film that succeeds in transporting the viewer into The Boy's interior world. It is beautifully shot, as one would expect from Ridley Scott. However, it is also in many ways abstract and lacks a conventional narrative structure, which is a bit unexpected and a pleasant surprise from a director who is from time to time unfairly labeled as a maker of big, loud, conventional action pictures.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Successful and interesting as long as you accept that there isn't going to be much in the way of narrative here

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
10 July 2004

On a typically grey day in England, a young boy decides that school is not the place to be and heads out on his bicycle to hang around. He travels around the boardwalks, beaches, shops and closed fairgrounds of the town while we are allowed to listen to his inner thoughts as he wanders both physically and mentally. Written and directed by Ridley Scott in his first short film and starring his brother, mother and father.

Available on a DVD containing all manner of UK short films, this short was the first one I watched because I was curious to see an example of Scott's work in order to see if I could see the potential that had eventually led him to Hollywood. Visually I could see it. The film has plenty of shot framing and attention to detail that show Scott had a good eye for a shot, but not just for the sake of it. Many first shorts struggle because they are too obvious with tonnes of arty and clever shots which do not add to the film but rather just stand out as showmanship. However Scott doesn't fall into the same trap and I must admit that I was impressed by how he managed to be both visually interesting without detracting from the main story.

However the main story is not so solid that it can really be detracted from that much. We don't sure much have a narrative as we do a day out in the mind of a teenage boy. It is hardly ground breaking stuff but it is refreshingly free of teenage soul searching or stuff like that – no Tony's thoughts are more general wonderings and wanderings as he strolls around the place. It is maybe just as well that the dialogue is less important than the other aspects, because I personally found some of it quite hard to make out due to a mix of an average transfer and Tony's thick accent. Despite his accent, Tony comes across natural enough and maybe his brother being the director helped him just see it as a bit of fun, relaxing him.

Overall this is not a perfect short film by the standards that I apply to them. There is little narrative and the dialogue and performance is natural but a little dull and uninvolving. However what it does do is show the young Ridley Scott's comfort behind a camera and a seeming natural eye for a well framed shot and an attention to detail within his shots; he manages to deliver clever shots without taking away from the rest of the film. An interesting and enjoyable short film that is only made more interesting by the eventual careers of the two brothers.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: davidvmcgillivray-24-905811 from London
10 April 2011

This film was offered as a free treat for BFI members in April, 2011. Easy to be wise after the event, but even so Ridley Scott's mastery of direction, photography and post production seems now to presage a major auteur. Internal evidence (theatre and film posters) suggests that some filming took place in 1961 in which case Scott was a young genius. As others have suggested, it adds up to nothing much. It's just a film poem. But what wonderful imagery. A lot of credits are missing. I reckon that the voice-over is not that of Scott's brother Tony who stars. Who's the mother? Who's the boat owner at the end? Whatever, recommended.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Interesting first effort from a master visualist

Author: Steve Power (Eldorodo) from Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland
23 June 2003

Found as an extra on Ridley's fantastic feature debut, THE DUELLISTS, this short film is actually Ridley Scott's first completed work. Originally done during schooling, the student nature of the film is quite evident. Yet despite this, it is representative of Ridley's unconventional visual style, and his excellent eye for composition. This underrated director gives us stark visuals in black and white and using only natural light, making the film all that much more special. The narrative is somewhat obtuse, a peek into a young boy's thoughts as he rides around a small English town playing hooky. Definitely art house material, and thus not for everybody, but a must see for anyone with an interest in direction, cinematography or a die hard Ridley Scott fan. Almost as essential as THE DUELLISTS itself.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

young man and a movie camera

Author: postmanwhoalwaysringstwice from usa
26 September 2006

"Boy and Bicycle" is a short film famed director Ridley Scott made in the early 60's, which was completed in 1965. It offers a very limited narrative about, you guessed it, a boy and his bicycle. A teenage boy rides along the English seaside in search of some solitude with his own thoughts. A lot of teen angst runs through the telling of the story, which is told almost entirely through a difficult to understand voice over track by the star and the director's brother, Tony Scott (who went on to have a film-making career of his own).

There's a nice innocent appeal about it, and the chilly weather comes across particularly well, however there are plenty of the standard student film hindrances as well. Though there are some impressive black and white visuals, the viewer must also contend with a lot of wandering home movie type shots. It's a film that runs long at twenty-seven minutes, and though it might offer a glimmer of what would become a pretty strong director, it's not exactly worth it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Show of Ideals

Author: jazz-clubber from United Kingdom
22 October 2009

Not a great short for anyone who didn't have the bits of childhood that Ridley sees in this piece initially, unless you love that gritty film feel.

Lots of little iconic items that used to be in mine and everyones houses. Lovely junk, treale tins, jam jars and old junk. What makes it good for me is I loved starting looking at film this way and also being able to understand how he brought this grittiness to Alien which complete transformed the far end of Cinema.

If you've had a go at using light 8mm or 16mm cameras in your life, you'll get excited about this.


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Early effort by the Scott brothers

Author: Thomas ( from Berlin, Germany
12 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Boy and Bicycle" is a 25-minute short film from over 50 years ago. It is in black-and-white, but has sound and it was written and directed by Ridley Scott with his brother Tony playing the only character in here. Both went on to become really successful filmmakers, especially Ridley Scott. Tony Scott sadly is not alive anymore after he decided to end his life following a terminal cancer diagnosis. But he left us a decent body of work too. However, I would not really count this one here to his finest achievements. It is pretty obvious the duo was still getting used to the genre of film and making movies in general. The story is pretty forgettable I must say, but the movie occasionally delivers in terms of the atmospheric direction it takes. I cannot say I enjoyed this enough to let me recommend it, but it was not a disastrous watch either. Overall, a thumbs down from me.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Wow--this proves that practice makes perfect!!

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
23 February 2008

These days, Ridley Scott is one of the top directors and producers and can command huge sums to helm movies--especially since he has films like ALIEN, GLADIATOR and BLADE RUNNER to his credit. So from this partial list of his credits, it's obvious he's an amazing talent. However, if you watch this very early effort that he made while in film school, you'd probably have a hard time telling that he was destined for greatness. That's because although it has some nice camera-work and style, the film is hopelessly dull and uninvolving. However, considering that it wasn't meant for general release and it was only a training ground, then I am disposed to looking at it charitably--hence the score of 4.

By the way, this film is part of the CINEMA 16: European Shorts DVD. On this DVD are 16 shorts. Most aren't great, though because it contains THE MAN WITHOUT A HEAD, COPY SHOP, RABBIT and WASP, it's an amazing DVD for lovers of short films and well worth buying.

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7 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Ridley Scott's first effort is rambling and boring

Author: mynameisalreadychosen1 ( from U.S.
29 January 2003

I saw this short film on the dvd for Ridley Scott's film, The Duellists. There was no introduction by Scott before the film, it just started right up.

Boy and a Bicycle is hardly an example of Ridley Scott's other work, it bears no resemblance. The film shows a boy, played by Tony Scott, riding around on a bicycle. Guess what? That's pretty all that happens. The boy rides around, rambling on and on with pointless, confusing dialogue. The film was shot in black and white, and since it was directed by Ridley Scott, I expected some cool cinematography or visually-striking sets. Instead, I was treated with nothing. This film isn't even good for a first effort. However, I recommend that any fan of Ridley Scott should check it out at least once.

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