blade runner , 1982

Director

Ridley Scott

Cast

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The Ennis Brown House, 2607 Glendower Avenue, Silverlake, below Griffith Park

The Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway at Third Street


Trivia

Antoine Fuqua's The Replacement Killers shares several of Blade Runner's locations, including the Ennis Brown House, the Pan-Am Building and Union Station (masquerading as an airport). Union Station is passed off as ‘New York’s Grand Central Station’ in Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor

Blade Runner filming location: Bradbury Building, downtown Los Angeles

Blade Runner filming location: Deckard’s final showdown with Batty in Sebastian’s waterlogged home: Bradbury Building, South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles

Somehow, Ridley Scott’s film of Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? has mutated in critical opinion from so-so spectacle to a classic of modern cinema.

More to do with 20/20 hindsight than the release of the, admittedly far superior, Director’s Cut which restores the equivocal unicorn to the film while removing Harrison Ford’s deliberately dirgy voiceover (he hoped it would prove unusable) and the tacked-on happy ending (which consists of second unit footage from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining).

And now another Philip K Dick story gets a respectable big-screen treatment, with Steven Spielberg’s terrific Minority Report.

Harrison Ford is Deckard, a Blade Runner (a title taken from William Burroughs, replacing Dick’s box-office killer), a tracker-down and eliminator of very human looking replicants. Rutger Hauer is Batty, the replicant in love with life.

The polluted, rainswept, Orientalised Los Angeles futurescape, which has provided the pattern for countless dystopian fantasies, is the old Warners’ backlot gangster street transformed with miles of neon and acres of glass. The excellent model shots incorporate existing Los Angeles landmarks including the cylindrical towers of the Bonaventure Hotel (itself a fave Los Angeles location) at 404 South Figueroa Street, downtown Los Angeles (seen in Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days and in This Is Spinal Tap).

Blade Runner filming location: Union Station, downtown Los Angeles

Blade Runner filming location: Deckard is taken to the cop station: Union Station, South Alameda Street, downtown Los Angeles

The cop station of the future, to which Deckard is hauled, is an office set built within the vast concourse of another favourite Los Angeles location, the 1939 Spanish Revival-style Union Station, 800 North Alameda Street, downtown, seen in many films, including The Way We Were, The Driver, The Replacement Killers (which shares many of Blade Runner’s locations), Pearl Harbor, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can.

The waterlogged home of toymaker Sebastian, where Deckard is menaced by androids and has the final showdown with Batty, is the Bradbury Building, 304 South Broadway at Third Street. Outside, it’s an unremarkable red-brick block, but the central courtyard, illuminated by skylights (through which the illuminated blimp is seen in the movie), is a joyous fantasy of wrought-iron grillwork, marble and brickwork surrounding open-cage elevators. It was a bit decrepit when Blade Runner was filmed, but it’s since been lovingly restored and now houses offices. The ground floor is open to the public.

The wonderfully photogenic Bradbury Building can also be seen in 1949 Douglas Sirk drama Shockproof; Frank Tashlin’s Richard Harris-Doris Day comedy thriller Caprice (as ‘Paris’); Murder in the First, with Christian Slater (as ‘San Francisco’); Mike NicholsWolf , with Jack Nicholson turning into a werewolf, (as ‘New York’) and, finally, as Los Angeles in both (500) Days Of Summer (it’s the office building where Tom finally attends a job interview) and The Artist (the staircase where George and Peppy encounter each other).

The exterior of the Bradbury Building filmed at the junction of Broadway and Third Street, but there’s plenty of set dressing so don’t look for the massive pillars.

Blade Runner film location, Pan Am Building, downtown Los Angeles

Blade Runner filming location: The interior of the scuzzy ‘Yukon Hotel’: the Pan Am Building, South Broadway at Third Street, Los Angeles

The interior of the scuzzy ‘Yukon Hotel’ is the Pan Am Building, South Broadway at Third Street, opposite the Bradbury Building, downtown Los Angeles. You may recognise it as the apartment of the comatose ‘Sloth’ victim in David Fincher’s Se7en.

The tunnel through which Deckard approaches his apartment is the Second Street Tunnel, running between Figueroa Street and Hill Street, downtown Los Angeles.

House on Haunted Hill film location, Ennis Brown House, Los Angeles

Blade Runner filming location: The exterior of Deckard’s apartment building: the Ennis-Brown House, Glendower Avenue, Silverlake, Los Angeles

His home turns out to be Frank Lloyd Wright’s terrific Ennis Brown House, 2607 Glendower Avenue, Silverlake, below Griffith Park. A few storeys were added optically, and casts were taken from the building’s trademark concrete blocks to recreate the interior in the studio. See William Castle’s classic fifties schlocker The House on Haunted Hill for more details of the house.

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