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Blade Runner is saturated in melancholy, overshadowed by death and peopled by ghosts.
A decade later, its reputation was sufficiently rehabilitated for Scott to take back control and restore his original vision, firstly in the 1991 Director’s Cut and later the 2007 Final Cut.
After no fewer than seven different edits, Scott’s unfinished symphony was finally complete.
Ford was especially wary of his hard-driving British director.
“It was a bitch working every night, all night long, often in the rain,” Ford recalls in Dangerous Days, an exhaustive three-hour documentary made for Blade Runner’s 25th anniversary in 2007.
Dick may be another reason that Blade Runner still enjoys a high critical reputation as Scott’s unassailable career peak.
Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
, written at the height of the Vietnam war and haunted by the horrors of Nazi Germany, was a philosophical reflection on what it means to be human in an age of mass atrocity.
The film’s basic plot structure is surprisingly faithful to the book, though the differences are revealing of how Dick and Scott differed on the story’s essential themes.
“All that Harrison had to do was trust me,” Scott argues in the Channel Four documentary On the Edge of Blade Runner, “but Harrison’s not used to working that way.” Director and star mainly clashed over whether Deckard himself is a replicant, an interpretation endorsed by a much-debated unicorn dream sequence, which hints that his human memories have been artificially implanted.
Scott has long believed that Deckard is an android. “That was the main area of contention between Ridley and myself,” Ford confessed on the BBC1 series Hollywood Greats.