This month, of all months, I’ve courted the likelihood of writing several posts related to Blade Runner, due to the significance of it being November 2019. Hadn’t really considered having to write a post like this one- another member of the Blade Runner creative team has passed away; Lawrence G Paull, the production designer who helped create that incredibly vivid dystopian world of the 1982 classic, died last Sunday in California, at the age of 81.
As someone who to this today can powerfully recall the impact that the film had on viewers back in 1982, I fully realise it is impossible for people who weren’t around back then to understand just how much of an impact that film and its extraordinary production design had. Of course I’m the first person to argue that the Oscars are wholly irrelevant as a judge of a films worth, but its a testament to that very fact that while Blade Runner was deservedly nominated for the Oscar for Best production Design in 1982, it lost to Gandhi. Gandhi– hardly a film for the ages or one that influenced very many films afterwards, whereas the long shadow of Blade Runner on both genre and non-genre films has stretched on for decades.
Fair enough, I’m obviously biased on that front.
Anyway, I just wanted to note on Lawrence G.Paull’s passing. I’ve seen his name on the title credits of the film so many times over the years every time I’ve watched it, his name so familiar, like all those others on those credits, several of which have been inevitably lost to us as the years increasingly take their toll. Paull certainly created something special with his team on Blade Runner and its obviously something he was proud of. I believe he was not happy at the marketing people pushing Syd Mead as being the ‘face’ of Blade Runner’s visuals, as if Mead created and designed everything himself. It may have seemed a wise marketing move but it did the production team a disservice, something I hope had been rectified over the years since as Blade Runner became reconsidered and reappraised.