Tears in Rain – Blade Runner revisited – January 8, 2015

rain Wolfgang Suschitzky - Charing Cross Road, London, 1937

Rain by Wolfgang Suschitzky-Charing Cross Road, London, 1937

Reading various pieces today written by my fellow writers for Magpie Tales using the above photo as prompt, my mind kept returning to the famous scene from “Blade Runner” ‘Tears in the Rain’.  I still get tears in my eyes every time I watch that scene, though I can’t say how many times I’ve seen it. However, it  doesn’t affect me quite the same way though if I just read it.  A great write without a doubt, but without seeing Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty) save Harrison Ford (Deckard) just as Deckard’s hand gives way, the whole monologue loses it’s poignancy.

This scene grabs the listener, because here we feel and understand our own human need to pass the testimony of our life when life leaves us.  Throughout the film the Nexus replicants  give us a feeling of horror … they’re in a word creepy, inhuman objects that imitate humans too closely they’re soulless objects (not to mention they do some pretty dastardly dos).  At no time do we really sympathize, identify or understand them –  we’re prevented from doing so due to theirr destructive violent anger.  In fact except for the saving grace of the replicant Rachel, we might feel inclined to agree with inspector Harry Bryant that replicants are little more than “skinjobs” (- certainly inhuman robots).

Then, Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty) saves Harrison Ford (Deckard) demonstrating through his death monologue that he is as human as Deckard himself. That scene shows us that the replicants are the abused by-product of a soulless science born in a society incapable of understanding what the replicants, whom they live with in fear and horror, are.  Science here hasn’t imitated life, it’s created life – and Roy Batty has a soul, like it or not.

We might not have gotten the same impression if Rutger Hauer hadn’t decided to cut the original scene without consulting the screen-writer David Peoples or Ridley Scott the evening before shooting the, now famous, scene.

The original read:

“I have known adventures, seen places you people will never see, I’ve been Off-world and back…frontiers! I’ve stood on the back deck of a blinker bound for the Plutition Camps with sweat in my eyes watching the stars fight on the shoulder of Orion. I’ve felt wind in my hair, riding test boats off the black galaxies and seen an attack fleet burn like a match and disappear. I’ve seen it…felt it!”

Hauer felt that the lines were “opera talk” and “hi-tech speech” and didn’t represent his character and had little to do with the rest of the film.  So he, in his words; “put a knife in it” the night before filming.

In an interview with Dan Jolin, Hauer said that these final lines showed that Batty wanted to “make his mark on existence … the replicant in the final scene, by dying, shows Deckard what a real man is made of.”” (Wikipedia)

Both Scott and Peoples insist that the lines were written by Hauer himself but Hauer feels that he only did a little editing .. here are the final lines so we can decide for ourselves:

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears…in…rain. Time to die.

Tannhäuser Gate isn’t mentioned anywhere in the original script but thanks to this brief monologue it has been used in several Scifi sub-genre  stories.  I just read and though you might be interested in this reference to Tannhäuser Gate:

The name probably derives from Richard Wagner‘s operatic adaption of the legend of the medieval German knight and poet Tannhäuser. Joanne Taylor, in an article discussing film noir and its epistemology, remarks on the relation between Wagner’s opera and Batty’s reference, and suggests that Batty aligns himself with Wagner’s Tannhäuser, a character who has fallen from grace with men and with God. Both, she claims, are characters whose fate is beyond their own control.

Not bad for someone who just cut several lines and added “All those moments will be lost ….”  Rutger Hauer, in rewriting those lines, in my opinion,  gave a new perspective to the whole movie … before that scene the replicants were only cruel, senseless monsters.

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10 thoughts on “Tears in Rain – Blade Runner revisited – January 8, 2015

  1. Well now, I may watch it tonight as well…I am finishing work two hours earlier all week…yep, great idea!! A wonderful post, cara! you capture what so many felt at that scene but never put words to it…bringing it new life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cool … and international Blade Runner evening … that scene is so moving … it really changed the direction of the film, and I think few people realized just why.

      Like

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