Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi noir masterpiece Blade Runner (my second favorite film by the way) will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next month, a few weeks after the theatrical debut of Scott’s long-awaited return to tentpole idea-driven science-fiction Prometheus. Now that Scott is currently at work on a sequel to Blade Runner alongside original screenwriter – and the man who first gave the project life back in the late 1970’s – Hampton Fancher and a three-disc Blu-ray collector’s edition set of the original hitting stores later this year (no release date has been set but you can pre-order your copy here), a reappraisal of one of genre cinema’s landmark achievements is in order.
Several months before Blade Runner‘s June 1982 theatrical release the Los Angeles-based company M.K. Productions assembled a short 16mm behind-the-scenes promotional film to be screened at sci-fi, fantasy, and horror conventions across the country to drum up buzz about the much-anticipated movie. You can check out the full 13-minute featurette here below.
The video features Scott, visual effects legend Douglas Trumbull, and visual futurist Syd Mead as they discuss the making of Blade Runner and the extensive work that went into staging the ambition production. Their comments are intercut with on-set footage, shots of actors Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer in between set-ups, and the filming of certain sequences. This feature has long been available on the Blade Runner: The Final Cut Blu-ray/DVD box set that was released in December 2007 (and is now out of print) and it not only provides us with a fascinating glimpse into the filming of a classic of cinema but also an illuminating look at how studios marketed their films back in those days.
Many promotional featurettes made for films released prior to the development of electronic press kits resembled the one here for Blade Runner – slow-paced with lots of BTS footage and interviews with the feature’s principal players both in front of and behind the camera that weren’t hacked up into indecipherable soundbites. Those were the days.