ADRIAN BIDDLE

 

Born: 20 July 1952, Woolwich, London, UK.

Died: 7 December 2005, London, UK.

Career: Started as asst to uwph Egil Woxholt. In 1970 he became clapper/loader on features and commercials at Ridley Scott Associates. Became doph in 1980.

Ph 100+ commercials for Ridley Scott Associates, Paul Weiland, The Guard Brothers [for Vodafone], a.o. His most notable productions include the 1984 advert introducing the new Apple Mac computer. Directed by Scott, it played on the theme of George Orwell's '1984': a female athlete runs into a hall and smashes a screen projecting an image of Big Brother. The point was that Apple Mac promoted freedom of expression. The advert effectively introduced big-budget Hollywood production values and narrative to television commercials. Many experts consider it the best advert ever, and it was voted #38 in a Channel 4 poll. He also worked on the famous 'Dumb Animals' anti-fur campaign.

Was a member of the BSC.

His widow Mo is a prod (and was his agent). His son Alfie is a c.asst/doph; his daughter Alice is a film art dept draughtsperson; his daughter Esther is an actress. His younger brother Adam [b. 1967] is a doph in the USA.

In July 2015, Shepperton Studios' preview theatre was renamed Adrian Biddle Theatre.

Awards: BSC Award nom [1991], BAFTA Film Award nom [1991] & 'Oscar' AA nom [1992] for 'Thelma & Louise'; BSC Award nom [1992] for '1492: Conquest of Paradise'; European Film Award [1998] for 'The Butcher Boy'; Brothers Manaki IFF 'Special Award' [2006] for 'V for Vendetta' and to salute his impressive career as a cinematographer.


Obituary: Adrian Biddle, who has died of a heart attack aged 53, was one of the last of the old school of cinematographers - and one of the first of the new. He was old school because his generation was the last to have come up entirely through the ranks; he understood every job and facet of the camera department, while lighting cameramen now often arrive at the post having bypassed the lower grades. He was one of the first of the new because he embraced all the technologies that burst forth in the 1980s, bypassing the old lighting techniques.

The son of a grocer from Woolwich, South London, Adrian broke into the film industry at the age of 15 thanks to his record as a champion swimmer on the Kent county team. At the time the film world was a closed shop: you could not get a job without being a member of the union, or get union membership without a job. There was, however, no waiting list for underwater camera crew, and when Adrian met Gil Woxholt, the legendary underwater photographer promptly enrolled him as his trainee. Thus in 1968, at the age of 16, Adrian worked underwater on 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'.

With tenacity and a natural affinity for cameras, he quickly proved his worth, earning promotion as a clapper loader. He started to work for Ridley Scott at the director's company, RSA, putting in time on numerous commercials, and went with him to France as loader on Scott's first feature film, 'The Duellists'. He was promoted again on 'Alien', where he became Scott's focus puller. At the age of 28 he became a lighting cameraman on commercials. The next four years saw him produce an impressive body of work, resuming his relationship with Scott on the acclaimed commercial that launched Apple Computers in 1984.

The following year Scott introduced Adrian to James Cameron, who hired him to photograph the sequel to 'Alien', 'Aliens'. In this, his first film as director of photography, Adrian combined all his technical skills to produce images not seen before. The flashes from the machine guns had an almost fetish-like sensuality that has been copied in every film since, but on 'Aliens' they had the shock of the new. In general, films up to this point used lots of light and lots of depth of field. Adrian had the rare ability to work at a very wide aperture, allowing highlights, such as the gun flashes, to burn right through the film emulsion, while maintaining essential detail elsewhere. In the days before digital finishing, where cameramen now have great latitude in their exposure, he produced a perfect negative every time. [From obituary by Howard Guard in 'The Guardian', January 19, 2006.]


 

 FILMS

1985

Aliens [James Cameron] 35mm (+ 70bu)/c; replaced ph Dick Bush after a couple of weeks; vfx ph: Harry Oakes & Leslie Dear; process ph: Charles Staffell & Roy Moores

1986

The Princess Bride [Rob Reiner] c; 2uc: Ray Andrew; model ph: Paul Wilson

1987

Willow [Ron Howard] p/c; 2uc: Paul Beeson; 3uc: Paul Wilson

1987

The Dawning [Robert Knights] c

1988

The Tall Guy [Mel Smith] c

 

 

1990

Thelma & Louise [Ridley Scott] p/c; aph: David B. Nowell

1991

1492 - Conquest of Paradise/1492: Christophe Colomb [Ridley Scott] p (+ 70bu)/c; 2uc: Hugh Johnson

1993

City Slickers - The Legend of Curly's Gold [Paul Weiland] c; New York ph: Craig Haagensen; 2uc: Don McCuaig; matte ph: Craig Barron

1994

Judge Dredd [Danny Cannon] p/c; vfx ph: David K. Stewart; high speed ph: William Neil; matte ph: John Grant

1995

Fierce Creatures [Robert Young & Fred Schepisi (reshoots)] p/c; ph reshoots: Ian Baker

1995

101 Dalmatians [Stephen Herek] p/c; 2uc: Harvey Harrison; completion ph: Robin Vidgeon

1996

The Butcher Boy [Neil Jordan] c

1996

Event Horizon [Paul Anderson] p/c; ph add unit: Robin Vidgeon, Ian McMillan & John Lynch; miniatures ph: David K. Stewart; vfx ph: Mark H. Weingartner; filmed 1996-97

1997

Holy Man [Stephen Herek] p/c; aph: Hans Bjerno

1998

The Mummy [Stephen Sommers] p/c; 2uc: Harvey Harrison; vfx ph: Patrick Sweeney

1999

The World Is Not Enough/Pressure Point [Michael Apted] p/c; addph: Robin Vidgeon & Martin Kenzie; add unit ph: Arthur Wooster; 2uc: Jonathan Taylor; uwph: Tim Wooster

1999

Gangster No. 1 [Paul McGuigan] c; co-addph; ph: Peter Sova

1999

The Weight of Water [Kathryn Bigelow] c

1999

102 Dalmatians [Kevin Lima] c; cph: Roger Pratt; 2uc: Harvey Harrison; completion ph: Robin Vidgeon

2000

The Mummy Returns [Stephen Sommers] p/c; 2uc: Harvey Harrison

2001

Reign of Fire/Where Heroes Go Down [Rob Bowman] p/c; 2uc: Seamus Deasy; addph: Harvey Harrison; aph: Adam Dale

2002

Shanghai Knights/Shanghai Noon 2 [David Dobkin (replaced Tom Dey)] p/c; 2uc: Harvey Harrison

 

[Right] with actress Julianne Moore & actor Pierce Brosnan - "Laws of Attraction"

 

2003

Laws of Attraction [Peter Howitt] scope/c; 2uc: Seamus Corcoran; addph: Phillip Caruso

2003

[AVP:] Alien Vs. Predator [Paul W.S. Anderson] scheduled as doph, but film was ph by David Johnson

2003

Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason [Beeban Kidron] p/c; vfx ph: John Daly; filmed 2003-04

2004

An American Haunting [Courtney Solomon] s35/c; 2uc: Adam Biddle & Jaromir Sedina; in memory of Adrian Biddle

 

 

2005

V for Vendetta [James McTeigue] s35/c; 2uc (+ 2ud): Harvey Harrison;  uncred 2uc: Toby Moore; uncred addph 2u: Jörg Widmer (+ 'b' cam op/Steadicam op); uncred aph: Jeremy Braben; model unit ph: Nigel Stone; ('c' cam op London unit: Adam Biddle; cam trainee: Alfie Biddle); in memory of Adrian Biddle

2005

Basic Instinct 2 [Michael Caton-Jones (replaced Lee Tamahori)] s35/c; addph; ph: Gyula Pados

 

 FILMS AS CAMERA ASSISTANT/OPERATOR

1968

On Her Majesty's Secret Service [Peter Hunt] c.asst uwph; uwph: Egil Woxholt; ph: Michael Reed

1969

Captain Nemo and the Underwater City [James Hill] c.asst uwph; uwph: Egil Woxholt; ph: Alan Hume

1969

When Eight Bells Toll [Etienne Perier] c.asst uwph; uwph: Egil Woxholt; ph: Arthur Ibbetson

1970

Murphy's War [Peter Yates] c.asst uwph; uwph: Egil Woxholt; ph: Douglas Slocombe

1974

L'auteur de Beltraffio/The Author of Beltraffio [Tony Scott; tvm/50m] loader; ph: David MacDonald

1976

The Duellists [Ridley Scott] focus; ph: Frank Tidy

1978

Alien [Ridley Scott] co-focus; ph: Derek Vanlint