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Disc 4 – Enhancement Archive

Here's a thing. There are four choices presented to you in the main menu:

Access, Inception, Fabrication and Longevity

Press 'Access' and you can play the lot in order – that's access!


1. The Electric Dreamer: Remembering Phillip K. Dick

Dick's fourteen minute interview based biography (including a poor quality interview of Dick himself) and it's a smart and revealing featurette. I mean Dick was a great writer and I know of no other who has taken up the gauntlet he threw down (in a fog of drugs, granted). My favourite quote of his (from his last novel, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer) I have quoted before on this site but it's worth repeating:

"They call people who talk to God, pious. They call people to whom God speaks, lunatics..."

He found more respect in Europe (France of all places where genre writers were revered and not belittled as they were in the US). His daughter explains her father's relationship with Hollywood and it's clear that he's been scavenged and not truly adapted. Even Blade Runner is oblique to the novel (but we have gone into this). I for one would adore seeing a real cinematic adaptation of The Man in the High Castle. But like the rest of us, I'll have to wait...

2. Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel vs. The Film (15:10)

Paul Sammon says what I have been saying for 25 years! Blade Runner is the left hand, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is the right. The total experience is one of two hands grasped together – my god – in the physical act of praying! I need to leave this featurette now! But it does show who came up with the word 'replicant'. Actually, it doesn't but you have the choice of two sources (David Peoples or his daughter).

3. Phillip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews

My PLAY ALL button didn't work but the audio only interviews are absolutely fascinating – it's a disgruntled writer who comes around to the passion of the film-makers from seeing stuff he created on film – Dick calls it an "information dump!" Dick eventually says, despite his misgivings, "I'm enthralled by it!" And this makes it so sad that he died so soon after the interview – and a few horribly short months before the movie came out. So, so sad.


4. Signs of the Times: Graphic Design (13:41)

The design – mostly unseen – of Blade Runner can only appreciated by poring over the designs on paper. Tom Southwell, one of the Production Illustrators (he lasted 6 months saying somewhat ominously that "things will only get worse..." and how right he was). But it shows a certain flair in the restoration's efforts to make this box set the last word that someone who quit Blade Runner, has his say. Bra-fecking-vo.

But in terms of effect? How do I say this? These guys designed stuff that stood no chance of being seen – no chance (OK, in the 1982's Cinefantastique magazine). Try 10 point type on a parking meter but vertical. I mean you don't even have a chance to read it horizontal. Blade Runner is full of stuff that the average punter would only be able to notice after the 30th viewing. But then average punters do not view things 30 times. I am – at this moment – seeing detail in this movie that evaded me for years (I can't wait to tell you about the corpse in the bath but I'll have to). It's the Sigourney Weaver's underwear syndrome.

One will never see the corporate Weyland Yutani Corporation logo sewn into Ripley's underwear (despite seeing the underwear itself) but is it a good thing that film-makers go to that level of detail or is it foolhardy and a waste of money? I'm standing in both camps because I love knowing someone did this and simultaneously I wonder why anyone designs anything not to be seen.

5. Fashion Forward Wardrobe and Styling (20:41)

Costume designers Michael Kaplan and Charlie Knode worked together. This is unusual in the film business, a pairing of that kind. Again, these featurettes are extraordinary for all the background detail, the out-takes from the movie. They show the maelstrom of production and make you think the same thing again and again: Someone signed up to make toast and with bread and fire, Ridley made a seven course banquet. Extraordinary. Again with the detail!

6. Screen Tests: Rachael and Pris (8:55)

Casting director Mike Fenton (who, ironically, is very formally stiff on camera) introduces a few screen tests. It's nice that the actresses who didn't get the part were interviewed for the featurette. Nina Axelrod is very Hitchcock-Blond as Rachael and gives quite a strikingly different rendition of Ford's love interest. It doesn't help that the script is vastly different. "Bite me!" indeed. Stacey Nelkin went for Pris and altogether (and literally) a darker character. It is absolutely fascinating to have this level of detail to pore over.

7. The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth (20:04)

A rather touching obit for a man who died in 1996, the man that Ridley Scott (a director who was his own operator and cinematographer on all his movies up to then) chose to front his US debut. Union rules do not allow a director to operate cameras. Cronenweth comes across as a man who gave a lot to others and shared his successes with co-workers. He comes across as a thoroughly likeable and engaging character. His son shot Fight Club so those Cronenweth genes are awash with light-ness. There's a even a moment when a burly grip has to swallow hard as emotion constricts his throat. The poor man (JC) was misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he had Parkinson's disease. The drugs for the former exacerbated the condition. But his work is a fitting testament to a well loved individual.

8. Deleted and Alternate Scenes (45:45)

These look like straightforward scans from cutting copy (the actual print editors used to cut up with razor blades, scratches and all). But what's extraordinary is that played with no gaps (the Play All option), these clips present a pint sized, fully realized but wholly different version of the film (another version!) Enjoy.

Three title cards excusing the quality.

Tears in Rain (alternate opening titles)
A drop of water falls on a blue background with Vangelis' main theme in sync with the splitting and falling drops. You get the impression Vangelis wrote specifically for this and then Scott approved more classical titles. Or, of course, Vangelis may have delivered his score and Scott cut the water droplets to it. Who knows?

I'm Deckard
This features a different voiceover for Deckard as we close in on him reading his newspaper. And there's a shot of the sushi he eats. Sorry, but every difference to the movie I know so well deserves some comment. If you're a fan, you are going to eat this box set all up.

A Real Dandy
Again, different voiceover and a new Gaff and Deckard shot arriving at Police HQ.

Bryant's point of view
New VO on Bryant – a potted character description.

Visiting Holden (ah, so here it is...)
Now this is the scene that's been floating around the internet and reported to have been in the Workprint cut. Now I wouldn't be getting excited about all this as much as I am because I edit film and TV and I know what a shooting ratio is (how much you shoot, how much you use). There're always scenes cut from movies and if it's Star Wars or indeed Blade Runner, the fan bases are so rabid and loyal, that anything 'new' ignites old passions. It's never clear Holden has to stay in this drugged coffin (maybe Bryant's line about "breathing OK if nobody unplugs him..." kind of seals Holden's fate. The scene is not particularly vital and the fact it was dropped is not a huge creative loss to Blade Runner.

Rep-detect File
This features more VO inside a Spinner – this time a virtual replay of Bryant and Deckard's scene learning about the replicants on video screen. This time a simple file lays upon Deckard's lap full of replicant target shots. There are also added Spinner FX shots.

NOTE: It seems as if Rutger Hauer added a line or two of his final speech not wrote the whole thing as the word "Tannhauser" is mentioned in this scene – but maybe Hauer got that from an early draft? Like Jaws' Indianapolis speech, it's amazing how foggy recollection can be when ownership and authorship of something beloved is in question.

This is a re-cut of Deckard's questioning Rachael featuring some bad lip sync and some new shots and different takes.

1187 Hunterwasser
Here are added shots to Deckard's investigation of Leon's hotel room. Now Scott has already admitted on the commentary track of the Final Cut that Deckard in the bathroom flicking the light on and finding a scale in the bath is in fact the well renowned stuntman, Vic Armstrong. One has to wonder if that is also a look-alike Edward James Olmos... The guy in the shadow looks a little stockier. The big surprise is finding Leon at home! Some detective! He was supposed to be hidden in a bed that folds away according to Scott's commentary track.

Chew's Specialty
Nice to see how Batty was meant to be introduced (and not the thumb on shoulder insert taken from Tyrell's death scene later). But his character must have been too strong to simply step out of a phone box, hence the change. VO gives us more info about Hannibal Chew and his eye shop.

Heading Home
Deckard in his own car heading through the tunnel, more VO from Ford, not seen or even heard in any cut version. And new and different takes.

An oddball Genius
Overhead crossroads shot that is a doozy. Pris's arrival, different cut. And again with the VO.

Ah, Deckard's wife (having run off-world with a rich man). She's in an extra photo on the piano. It seems that Vangelis's love theme starts to riff off Deckard's photo of the two of them. Interesting. It's also a very different photo that Deckard's Esper machine examines. And Zhora's "hard copy right there," is much better quality than the image found in the movie.

Food For Thought
Deckard hungry, discovers the scale may be a fish scale (after plucking it off a fellow diner's meal) and at last, a revelation – was Ford's scene with Abdul Hassan ever shot in sync because was it designed to have voiceover over it? If so, the ADR (additional dialogue replacement) was very poor – maybe recorded just to be a rough approximation of their conversation? Movies are such many headed Hydras of meaning and confusion, I'm not sure anyone could give you these answers now.

The Streets of Bad Dreams
More shots of the hockey masked erotic dancers. More VO as Deckard enters from the front of the night club. It's also a re-cut of the Taffy Lewis sequence.

Backstage Pass
Gosh, a smile from Deckard as one of Taffy Lewis' employees invites him backstage. It's a rare moment of (dare I say) levity is this oppressive movie (in the best sense you understand). The voiceover takes over from the sync (we got no "Excuse me Ms. Salome, can I talk to you for a minute?" Deckard's straight into the room with Cassidy's extraordinary costume on display (yes, she is actually wearing a costume).

Looks Like Blood
A different take of Cassidy taking the blood squib hit. Deckard arrives with the voiceover "I remembered why I'd quit..."

Washing Up
Fascinating! Rachael and Deckard, arm in arm after Zhora's and Leon's death, walk through the streets. More voiceover. A lot more emoting from Sean Young. And what the hell does Harrison pull from his nose? A fragment of Leon's brain? Jesus! And the lovely grunt that precedes the spilling of the bottle (and Ford catching it) is actually sync from him washing blood off his face (a much more erotic scene with Rachael and her open legs and angles of Ford almost ogling).

There now follows a re-cut of Rachael sizing up Ford passed out on the sofa and taking his glass away. This makes a lot of sense (I never saw what she saw in him as inferred by he original cut). Now I do.

I Want You
And here we have the gratuitous sex scene! I only say that mockingly because Scott says with some logic that shooting sex is usually dramatically uninteresting. Well, David Cronenberg's stairs sex scene in History of Violence is one very strong exception to that rule. But here we see Ford and Young go at it with breasts exposed etc. I know Young's not exactly a wallflower (have you seen No Way Out?) but in this context I was glad for the restraint.

An odd one this. Returning to Holden, Deckard lets him poke fun. Holden playfully accuses Deckard of screwing Zhora (the snake woman, har de har har). The tapes of this meeting are reviewed by Bryant and Gaff (seriously odd). Gaff "spits on metaphysics..." Jesus. I bet Yorkin and Perenchio were shitting bricks looking at these rushes. Just what was Ridley up to? But there is a lovely twist to this scene. Holden has figured out that the Replicants are after... God... Metaphysics indeed.

Tyrell Security Patrol
In this clip, different shots and takes of Batty's arrival at Tyrell's office. Tyrell's bedroom seems to have been flopped. More FX shots of Tyrell pyramid and Batty's escape rendered more plausible by his stealing ID cards.

Closing In
Alternate takes and cut of Deckard waiting to go into the Bradbury building. There's a little humour (check out the ID card bit). The four sturdy wires taking the cop Spinner up – no way they could remove those with 1982 technology.

Every Second of it
Alternate cut and takes of Batty's final speech. I'm glad Scott and Rawlings stayed on the CU – so much more powerful. The mid shot performance isn't as good and you have neon TDK screaming at you from the background. Whoah? Where did alternate shot of the white dove flying away come from? It's actually better than the Star Wars stage used in the first cut. The voiceover is – I think – from the Workprint and Gaff's words are added to: "Are you sure you are a man, Sir?"

Old Richter Route (Alternate Ending)
"We're in the clear!" Minus The Shining's out-takes, here is the original happy ending as shot by Scott (awful compromise). More VO from Harrison.

Made For Each Other (Alternate Ending)
An alternate happy ending scene with Rachael drilling Deckard about love. And some extraordinarily syrupy sentimental bullshit words "made for each other", "best day of my life" etc. What were they thinking?


1982 Promotional Featurettes

On The Set (13:22)
A bold voiceover over-dramatising the milieu and an interview with Ford early on in the shooting. It has to be early on. He's in a fairly good mood. Rutger Hauer is also interviewed. Fascinating! Ridley is also interviewed. And he still has that confirming "Right?" at the end of a few sentences. Sean Young is also interviewed. It ends with stark Workprint titles and an over bearing "Oh My God" aspect that oversells the film.

Convention Reel (13:14)
Ridley Scott introduces a behind the scenes montage of Blade Runner's production. And he's reading from something and it's not an autocue. The incidental music is also 70s disco-light. Scott, like casting director Mike Fenton, is not easy and comfortable on camera but it's a fun piece of 'for the fans' Blade Runner lore.

Behind the Scenes Out-takes (08:44)
Essentially a montage of stuff – behind the scenes, in front of the scenes, in amongst the scenes... You name it. It's also mute which above all lends it verisimilitude. And I have overused a word in this celebratory review but I use it again acknowledging its overuse. It's all absolutely fascinating. It feels like 'roving reporter 16mm' stuff. It's early in the production because people are still smiling – and I do not mean to be cynical but I know what a troubled shoot feels like.

1981 Teaser Trailer
1982 Theatrical Trailer
1982 TV Spot
1992 Director's Cut Trailer
2007 Dangerous Days Teaser Trailer
2007 Final Cut Trailer

The trailers are all noteworthy but in the true Animal Farm tradition, some are more worthy than others. But the first (as is always the case) is the one you remember.

I was at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff in early '82 and a teaser trailer played. I knew from its extraordinary imagery – I knew from its wonderful choice of music ("If I Didn't Care" by the Ink Spots) – and I just knew that this was going to be something special... I'd read the book on which the movie was based and was so excited to see this movie, I bled arterial anticipation.

Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art (9:38)
Another behind the scenes glimpse of how to market to something extraordinarily different. The artwork on display here is as familiar to me as scenes from the film. It's also nice to have analogue history pushed into the digital realm. Once upon a time manipulating images required a craftsperson. Hullo Photoshop...

Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard (9:31)
They say this is a controversial issue. Bollocks. It's Ridley Scott having a bit of mischievous fun. Deckard, regardless of the unicorn subtext, is not a replicant. I'm with Hampton Francher and Frank Darabont on this – it's intellectually ridiculous. It simply makes no sense. Unless you make it make sense... Go ahead. Make my night (with rain). I love the fact that Edward James Olmos has another take on the idea – Cylon or Human?

Nexus Generation: Fans and Filmmakers (21:50)
The Shawshank Redemption's director Frank Darabont shows us his model Spinner (oh to be in the company of we true obsessives). We're family! Here are those who have been knocked out by Ridley Scott's movie. And frustratingly there is so little merchandise but what there is, is all here! At 13:50 there is an astonishing out-take. Rutger Hauer has just died and in close up he suddenly awakes from his moment of gold and Harrison Ford's hand grasps Hauer by the back of the neck and shakes him and slaps him in a manly gesture of "That was fucking amazing..." and he was right. At 19:22, the film-makers are playing with out-takes to illustrate points – in this case Ronald D. Moore (yes, he of the revamped Battlestar Gallactica fame) talks about 'closing in' and we see a very naff model of Batty's hand making a very naff fist! Playful, or what?

special features (of disc 4)

Nothing but menu'ed items. But in my view, they're all bloody special.

sound and vision

All featurettes look free of dirt unless the out-takes within are dirty. The sound is perfectly fine, as Dolby Digital 2 soundtracks tend to be.

languages and subtitles

Spoken: English

Sub-titles: English, English (hearing impaired), French, German, German (hearing impaired), Italian, Italian (hearing impaired), Spanish, Dutch, Dansk, Suomi, Norsk, Polski and Svenska.

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Blade Runner

DVD details
Disc 4
extra features
The Electric Dreamer featurette
Nove vs. film featurette
Philip K. Dick audio interviews
Graphic design featurette
Wardrobe featurette
Screen tests
Jordan Cronenweth featurette
Deleted and alternate scenes
1982 promotional featurettes
English for the hearing impaired
German for the hearing impaired
Italian for the hearing impaired

Related review
Blade Runner: The Director's Cut