I hope you enjoy this article for "Dixieme Planete" magazine. I would like to thank the author Pierre Pittiloni for thinking of me to contribute and the Editor and Chief Erwan Le Vexier for granting permission to post on Bladezone.
I was asked by Pierre Pittiloni to contribute photographs for the Blade Runner 20th Anniversary article that would appear in the French magazine Dixieme Planete. Pierre and I had remained in contact since he had contributed photographs to my article for Bladezone "On the Trail of Two Spinners".
When he asked me to contribute I was flattered and I saw a chance for the French fans to be exposed to the many official Blade Runner products. Now with the permission of Mr. Le Vexier we share with you the article. Pierre was kind enough to loosely translate the article for us below.
(English translations by Pierre Pittiloni)
(Page 50 - main text)
Blade Runner (BR) is THE cult movie for numerous science-fiction lovers in their thirties, who can remember actually seeing the movie at a theater when it was first released. But back in 1982, when the movie came out, many spectators and critics where surprised by BR, to such extent that the movie which had cost nearly 30 million dollars was, at first, a commercial failure.
One has to admit that, at the time, the people buying a ticket to watch Blade Runner were expecting an entirely different movie, directed by Ridley Scott (famous for 'Alien', 1979) and starring Harrison Ford, an action movie hero ('Raiders of the Lost Ark', 1981) also famous for his interpretation of 'Han Solo', the roguish adventurer of 'Star Wars' and 'The Empire Strikes Back'. But, instead of a show full of daring stunts and dazzling special effects they where introduced to a very rich dark and violent world, extremely intense visually and precursory to the cyberpunk authors. Surprise was so intense that it caused numerous and unfair reactions of rejection for a movie that is still today one of the most influential in the world of science-fiction.
It is cable TV and VHS videotapes that are responsible for the (re)discovering of BR by the public during the eighties in the United States. Things where a little different in France where cable TV is rather something of the nineties. But we still had videotapes and a big fondness for Ridley Scott and Philip K Dick. What really matters, is that around the world, people were allowed to watch the movie several times from the comfort of their homes. Thus they were able to enjoy all the qualities and the full richness of Blade Runner which rapidly reached the status of cult movie.
By 1992, due to the fortuitous rediscovery of a workprint and the popularity of the movie, a director's cut version of BR (more faithful to the original vision of Ridley Scott) was successfully released in theaters around the world. The nineties where also the period of time that saw the emergence of BR on the internet with an ever growing number of web sites and chat groups.
Today, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Blade Runner and to whet our appetite while we are waiting for the "ultimate" BR version, supposedly to be released on DVD, we invite you to a small visual tour of the Blade Runner products released since 1982.
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Is This Really Blade Runner (BR)? Yes, But Not Quite.
Here's several different editions of the novel by Philip K Dick on which the screenplay for Blade Runner is based. The novel was published in French under three different titles: "Les androïdes rêvent-ils de moutons électriques" (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), "Robot Blues" and finally "Blade Runner". The paperback French edition is the fourth book from the left. The first book from the right is the novel by William Burroughs from whom the legal rights to use the words "Blade Runner" were bought. Other than that Mr. Burroughs' book and Ridley Scotts' movie have nothing in common.
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Several items publicizing the famous computer game from Westwood, which allows the player to be a 'replicant hunter' cop. Released in 1997, this game re-captures the mood of the movie while playing music very similar to the various Vangelis themes. Another interesting aspect of the game is the choice it presents to you: play either the 'good' blade runner and kill all the replicants or choose to be a 'renegade' and actually help them. Repeatedly playing through the game is necessary for the player to explore the several intricate scenarios presented.
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1982 The Year of the First Release
A few of the numerous articles published that year to publicize the release of the movie. One can see different drawings by Syd Mead, designer of the future, responsible for creation of the spinner cars and numerous visual innovations of Blade Runner.
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Official merchandise from the movie, which were released in 1982, mostly books, posters and comics. The patches that can be seen on the photo were, at the time, sold sewn on a cap by the "Thinking Cap Company". Other noticeable items are the four ERTL die cast cars, which are still the only officially licensed BR toys.
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Books About Blade Runner
A press kit from the directors' cut and four 'serious' books addressing different issues from BR. One of the most interesting books is, without a doubt, Paul Sammons' "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner". Already called 'the bible' of the BR fan, this book discusses all the finer points of the creative process involved in the production, release and life of the various versions of Blade Runner. Mr. Sammon has interviewed, or at least talked with, all the people involved in a story that he tells from the very beginning of the of the movie's life up to the date of publication of Future Noir. A shame, that this book has yet to be translated into French. Also noticeable is "Blade Runner: The Inside Story" by Don Shay, a re-print of 'Cinefex issue #9' detailing the making of the BRs' special effects.
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Blade Runner is very famous in Japan and its fans are very active. Portfolios and exceptionally well documented books were printed there. They even had limited runs of BR phone cards produced.
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Volkswagen Promotional Items
To the left, a photo of a spinner car with a VW logo at an auto show in 1983 plus other promotional Volkswagen and Blade Runner items. It seems that these items were publicizing a contest to win a Polo in the UK.
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The two official soundtrack album released respectively in 1982 and 1994. While the first does not feature actual Vangelis music, the second one features new arrangements of the movie themes plus original new music. This leaves the fans of the original Vangelis music craving for more and turning to numerous 'pirate' releases of the original score. The two most famous 'pirate' albums are the 'OffWorld' and 'Congo' releases.
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From the Movie Back to Novels
Here are the French editions of Blade Runner II and III, two books authored by K W Jeter an admirer and friend of Philip K Dick. These novels are literary sequels from Blade Runner, following the new adventures of Rick Deckard. With these book the circle is now complete: we have been from a novel, "Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep" to a movie, "Blade Runner" and then back to novels Blade Runner II and III.
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