There are many great dvds coming out this Fall, including everything from obscure cult films, exciting mainstream releases and rare TV shows. I must admit though there is only one collection that has me so excited with anticipation that I can hardly stand it.
While I won't believe it until it is actually in my hands, it appears that Ridley Scott's landmark 1982 feature, BLADE RUNNER, is going to finally get its due on December 18th in a massive five disc set that will include no less than five versions of the film including Scott's new Final Cut as well as the mythical Workprint version.
Fans of the film will already be aware of the legal troubles that have kept this project just a rumor for many years now so actually having a release date, full specs and artwork are major things themselves.
BLADE RUNNER, a film that recently appeared on AFI's otherwise questionable 100 best American films list, is a major work and is, along with Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA and Wim Wender's PARIS TEXAS, my favorite film of the eighties.
I first saw the film as a teenager in the eighties on the old theatrical release VHS and I was frankly underwhelmed by it. There were elements of it I liked but, like many, Harrison Ford's narration struck a false chord with me and anyone could see that the ending had been tampered with. I caught up with the film again in the early nineties on the laserdisc version of Scott's 'Directors Cut' and this is where the film began to quickly become one of my all time favorites.
Like a lot of fans I have eagerly eaten up as much information as possible, ranging from Video Watchdog's great early look at the films different versions to the exhaustive FUTURE NOIR by Paul Sammon. Sammon's book remains one of the great film books and it is absolutely essential for fans of the film or modern cinema in general.
I will be looking at the film, and the new box set, in detail when it arrives in December. I will say for now that one thing I have always loved about this haunting film is just how much disagreement it causes. Many of my favorite film conversations from the past have centered on this film (Is Deckard a replicant? The theatrical cut vs. the International version etc. etc.) Scott's film has given me many, many hours of interesting but friendly arguing and disagreeing...and to show which side I am on, yes he is a replicant.
So below are the full specs to the upcoming box set and a photograph of it. This monster is available for pre order on Amazon and Deep Discount for under sixty dollars! I would be willing to visit a clinic and sell blood on a weekly basis if I had to to get this. It will also be available in a two disc and four disc set but this box is the way to go and it is the only way to get the legendary workprint.
Here are the final specs and proof positive that at least this year, Christmas arrives almost a week early.
RIDLEY SCOTT'S ALL-NEW "FINAL CUT" VERSION OF THE FILM
Restored and remastered with added & extended scenes, added lines, new and cleaner special effects and all new 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Also includes:
Commentary by Ridley Scott
Commentary by executive producer/co-screenwriter Hampton Fancher and co-screenwriter David Peoples; producer Michael Deely and production executive Katherine Haber
Commentary by visual futurist Syd Mead; production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David L. Snyder and special photographic effects supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer
DOCUMENTARY DANGEROUS DAYS: MAKING BLADE RUNNER
A feature-length authoritative documentary revealing all the elements that shaped this hugely influential cinema landmark. Cast, crew, critics and colleagues give a behind-the-scenes, in-depth look at the film -- from its literary roots and inception through casting, production, visuals and special effects to its controversial legacy and place in Hollywood history.
1982 THEATRICAL VERSION
This is the version that introduced U.S. movie-going audiences to a revolutionary film with a new and excitingly provocative vision of the near-future. It contains Deckard/Harrison Ford's character narration and has Deckard and Rachel's (Sean Young) "happy ending" escape scene.
1982 INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Also used on U.S. home video, laserdisc and cable releases up to 1992. This version is not rated, and contains some extended action scenes in contrast to the Theatrical Version.
1992 DIRECTOR'S CUT
The Director's Cut omits Deckard's voiceover narration and removes the "happy ending" finale. It adds the famously-controversial "unicorn" sequence, a vision that Deckard has which suggests that he, too, may be a replicant.
BONUS DISC - "Enhancement Archive": 90 minutes of deleted footage and rare or never-before-seen items in featurettes and galleries that cover the film's amazing history, production teams, special effects, impact on society, promotional trailers, TV spots, and much more.
Featurette "The Electric Dreamer: Remembering Philip K. Dick"
Featurette "Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel vs. The Film"
Philip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews (audio)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Cover Gallery (images)
The Art of Blade Runner (image galleries)
Featurette "Signs of the Times: Graphic Design"
Featurette "Fashion Forward: Wardrobe & Styling"
Screen Tests: Rachel & Pris
Featurette "The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth"
Unit photography gallery
Deleted and alternate scenes
1982 promotional featurettes
Trailers and TV spots
Featurette "Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art"
Marketing and merchandise gallery (images)
Featurette "Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard"
Featurette "--Nexus Generation: Fans & Filmmakers"
This rare version of the film is considered by some to be the most radically different of all the Blade Runner cuts. It includes an altered opening scene, no Deckard narration until the final scenes, no "unicorn" sequence, no Deckard/Rachel "happy ending," altered lines between Batty (Rutger Hauer) and his creator Tyrell (Joe Turkell), alternate music and much more. Also includes:
Commentary by Paul M. Sammon, author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner
Featurette "All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint to Final Cut"