The history of “Blade Runner” is a unique one. To say that other films have not seen such a large-scale reevaluation, would be false. However, few films received so tepidly — with such ambivalence — upon their initial release, have managed to become as influential and perpetually relevant as Ridley Scott’s bar-setting dystopian classic.
To give Warner Bros. some credit, they did seem to have a finger to the film’s pulse, even predicting the box office dud on their hands. Now we can say that a certain amount of the film’s failure was the result of timing — the world just wasn’t quite ready for “Blade Runner” — but it also must be noted that much of what was altered from the theatrical cut over the years (the voiceover and gaudy happy ending being the main changes) were aspects that the studio had asked for, only to then criticize.
Which brings us to this fascinating promo. Commissioned by the studio prior to the film’s release, the short behind-the-scenes look was played at sci-fi conventions leading up to the movie’s 1982 release (obviously, even this failed to put people in the seats). It’s pretty easy to see that the promo wasn’t made with much love or interest, but nonetheless, the short doc is a captivating look at the film’s ground-breaking visual effects “wizardry” by Douglas Trumbull and the “imaginative [and] industrial” designs of Syd Mead. Today it’s likely that such work would be the product of CG, which makes this all the more interesting.
Check out the convention reel below, and let us know your favorite edit of “Blade Runner” in the comments (this writer leans gleefully for the 2007 Final Cut). [Open Culture]