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  • This hour-long feature debut was shown recently on Film 4, in tribute to British director, Tony Scott, who had just died.

    Shot in a softish, greyish black & white, it's a character study of an elderly couple, brother and sister, up on the Yorkshire Moors, who've been tainted and traumatised by WWII, in which, we presume the woman's son was killed.

    Out driving (this is set in the 1950's, I'd guess), they hit a young lad out on his bike. He dies from his injuries at the scene. The couple, mostly lead by the woman, an excellent Rosamund Greenwood, seem to be transported back to wartime and believe that this casualty is one from war and proceed to dragging his body to their car and taking him to their isolated house.

    She starts to dress the corpse with her son's clothes and reciting anecdotes from personal wartime experiences. Her brother collects wood for a coffin.

    This all sounds very dark and psychological, grounds for a horror movie, even. But it's shot and follows through so gently and eloquently that any mawkishness or creepiness is held at bay. It certainly makes one think about the scars from wartime, the things folk didn't talk about, because it wasn't the 'thing' to do.

    For a debut feature, it's a brave and really quite perceptive piece - not to everyone's taste, for sure. An old BBC2 'Play for Today' perhaps? Scott hasn't gone beyond his means, he's made the best of what he was able and comfortable with and this confidence shows. It is little wonder that Tony Scott was to make his mark so easily on Hollywood.
  • tieman6413 July 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    The first feature film to be directed by Tony Scott, "Loving Memory" (1971) revolves around an elderly couple who are involved in the accidental death of a bicycle rider. They bring the body home and tend to it, at which point time-lines begin to blur and allusions are made to the Second World War.

    Filmed in black and white, and comprised of many elaborate sequences, "Loving Memory's" aesthetic is mostly kitsch, Scott pandering to what he thinks people think "deep" and "moving" art really is. Scott's brother, Ridley Scott, would become a wholesale purveyor of ornate kitsch – dumb films dressed up in classy finery - whilst Tony would increasingly take the opposite approach, making shamelessly trashy films. In embracing sleaziness, those films have a certain energy and authenticity. "Loving Memory", in contrast, feels like something one would come to associate with Tony's big brother. It's suffocating and stiff, like a embalmed artifact that wants desperately to be loved.

    The film's cinematography is by Chris Menges, who shot "The War Game" and Ken Loach's "Kes". Tonnally, the film resembles Bill Douglas' famed Trilogy. It sports a narrative structure that is very ambitious for a first film, and a number of sequences which point to Scott's future genius.

    6/10 – Bad taste dressed up as exclusivity.