Sir Run Run Shaw & Blade Runner

ladd_01Indelibly marked in the minds of all Blade Runner fans – indeed, likely burned into their retinas from so many viewings over the years- is the iconic image above from the very opening credits of the movie. ‘The Ladd Company in association with Sir Run Run Shaw...’  God, how many times I’ve watched that. More times than I like to admit these days, anyway.

I woke up this morning to the usual background drone of Radio 4 journalists reciting the news (I much prefer waking to the sound of people talking compared to a beeping alarm or some random music that might linger in my head and bug me all day)- only this morning my attention was immediately taken by hearing the familiar name Sir Run Run Shaw, with the news that he had died. An entertainment mogul with great importance in Asia’s film industry, Shaw had died peacefully at home at the age of 107. A resident of Hong Kong, he founded Shaw Brothers Studios, which produced almost 1,000 films and brought the kung fu genre into the mainstream, his films inspiring Hollywood directors like Quentin Tarantino and Andrew and Lana Wachowski.

I listened with interest to a summation of his career, and bless her heart, the journalist Juliana Liu who presented the short piece found time to mention that Shaw had also co-produced the sci-fi classic Blade Runner.  It was nice for the film to get a mention. In the great scheme of things, and in Shaw’s life and work, the film is likely just a minor footnote, but as its my favourite film and the reason why Shaw’s name registers with me so boldly at six am in the morning, well… I guess my feelings come from the remembering back when the film was a cult movie half-forgotten by the industry and movie-goers. Blade Runner for some years was almost like some secret love shared by certain geeks and movie-goers; its hard to explain now, now that the film is widely perceived as such a big popular classic.

In truth, while his name will naturally forever be linked to Blade Runner and be on the film’s title credits, Shaw’s involvement was mostly just  a financial one. During pre-production of the film, Filmways, one of the film’s early financiers, pulled out of the project, leaving Michael Deeley to round up replacement finance to continue the film. Deeley rounded up three participants, one of whom was Shaw, who invested some $7.5 million for foreign rights to the film.  Likely proved not a bad deal at all, in the long-term at least.

107 though. Good lord that’s a remarkable age. He saw so many changes during his lifetime in cinema alone, never mind world events.  Well then – a thought towards the passing of Sir Run Run Shaw, a man to which we fans owe some debt for there ever being a film called Blade Runner.


4 thoughts on “Sir Run Run Shaw & Blade Runner

  1. The Ladd Company, for the most part, has always been independent in its projects. So naturally, when I first saw Sir Run Run Shaw’s name involved in Blade Runner, it got me curious. That small investment, in comparison to today’s standards, left and indelible mark on the movie industry worldwide. Blade Runner’s influence on science fiction movies following its release is beyond estimating. So, yeah, Sir Run Run Shaw had a vision. And yeah, he was a true visionary. If only he lived today to see how his investment impacted modern movies!

    1. Damn. I never saw that, over all those bloody years, the RUN RUN thing with it being BLADE RUNNER. Never made that connection. I must be blind. Rest assured it will bug me every time in future.

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