Blade Runner: Ridley Scott Cult Noir, Starring Harrison Ford

The original theatrical release of Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi masterpiece was flawed due to the studio’s tinkering. In the new, “director’s cut,” the differences are major. The music is different, there is no tacky “happy” ending, and noticeably, the unnecessary voiceover are gone, and the story works better without it.

Let me explain. When the studio execs took “Blade Runner” away from Scott, they laid a narration over it, fussed with some shots, changed the soundtrack, and tacked on a happier ending. Scott’s version is a much finer film. His has no narration except for a few powerful words toward the end, which the studio deleted.

The acting seems better, because the performances are permitted to build without the narrator’s impositions on them. The cops seem more ambiguous and less tough, the androids more human and uncertain. The story is now darker, more about doom than about Harrison Ford’s survival.

Scott’s soundtrack consists of numerous bits of sentence-fragments, technological sounds and songs. In the studio version, the story seemed an excuse for the picture’s imagery, which was always its strongest asset. In Ridley’s cut, the story derives from and is dependent on the visionary imagery.

Blade Runner was nominated for two Oscars: Art Direction-Set Decoration to Lawrence G. Paul, David Snyder, and Linda DeScenna; and Visual Effects to Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, and David Dryer. Rather shockingly, the Art Direction went to Attenborough’s pedestrian-looking biopicture “Gandhi” (a result of the block vote/), and the Visual Effects Oscar to Spielberg’s “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.”