(a film retrospective by Mark R. Leeper)

June 25 is the fortieth anniversary of the initial release of Ridley Scott's BLADE RUNNER. Given that it is forty years old there will likely be SPOILERS! BLADE RUNNER is notorious for the number of versions of it. I will be discussing the first one I saw (the U.S. theatrical version). There is also an international theatrical version, a U.S. television version, the "Director's Cut", and the "Final Cut".

The film has been connected with Warner Brothers, which is interesting because Warner Brothers does not have a real history of major science fiction movies (THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, THEM! and SOYLENT GREEN are probably the best known).

Due to an actors' strike during pre-production, Ridley Scott and his art department had a long time to develop the look of this film and they worked wonders--the art direction is exquisite. Scott and his cinematographer Jordan Cronenworth go overboard in trying to capture the film noir texture of this world. (Everything except the final scenes take place at night, which allows for very dramatic lighting effects, but makes one wonder exactly how much time has passed and whether the earth has stopped rotating.)

Scott also gives us a truly multi-ethnic, polyglot future with many different cultures blending into each other. But he also seems to revel in unpleasant images--viewer be warned.

Rutger Hauer's make-up resembles a well-known illustration from Olaf Stapledon's ODD JOHN. (The film THIS ISLAND EARTH borrowed the same makeup look for its aliens.)

Deckard seems to find that every clue leads him to the next location, which just coincidentally leads to the clue after that, much as in MOONRAKER.

One thing which always bothered me was the twisting of Deckard's neck, which as shown would break his neck. Perhaps this is the basis of the belief that Deckard is a replicant.

Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4)

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					Mark R. Leeper
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