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Future Noir: The Making Of Blade Runner [Paperback]

Paul Sammon
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 15 1996
The 1992 release of the "Director's Cut" only confirmed what the international film cognoscenti have know all along: Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, based on Philip K. Dick's brilliant and troubling SF novel Do Androids Dream ofElectric Sheep,still rules as the most visually dense, thematically challenging, and influential SF film ever made.

Future Noir is the story of that triumph.

The making of Blade Runner was a seven-year odyssey that would test the stamina and the imagination of writers, producers, special effects wizards, and the most innovative art directors and set designers in the industry.

A fascinating look at the ever-shifting interface between commerce and the art that is modern Hollywood, Future Noir is the intense, intimate, anything-but-glamerous inside account of how the work of SF's most uncompromising author was transformed into a critical sensation, a commercial success, and a cult classic.

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"Sammon is a dedicated chronicler and aficionado who has spent more than 200 hours chatting to the key players behind this seminal sci-fi classic. Were quite happy to direct all future enquiries to this mammoth opus, because we're confident it can answer every one of them." -- Neil Smith TOTAL FILM "This epic account of the making of Blade Runner covers the film and its various versions in the kind of detail that is best described as all consuming. A remarkable piece of journalism, this cannot be faulted on any level, and will be a must for like-minded obsessives." -- Howard Maxford FILM REVIEW "No detail seems too slight to be included in this monumental account of the realisation of Ridley Scott's dystopian version of Philip K Dick's 'do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'." THE SCOTSMAN "One simply cannot fault the quantity and quality of Sammon's legwork. This is a book which will fascinate not only any Bladerunner fan, but also those with a keen interest in the film making process generally." -- Eddie Robson DEATHRAY "This tome is far from something solely for the fan obsessed with Blade Runner - it is also a wonderful insight into the movie making process generally." -- Andrew Baldwin HUDDERSFIELD DAILY EXAMINER "Paul M Sammon's meticulously researched account often feels like a particularly extensive DVD extra. For fans of Ridley Scott's masterpiece, this is essential reading. " -- DW: Total Sci-Fi "An unmissable account of the film's extraordinary history." BIRMINGHAM MAIL "As dramatic as any thriller, the story behind this extraordinary achievement in film-making is as compelling as the action on the screen." -- Shari Low DAILY RECORD --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Paul M. Sammon's distinctive career can best be described by the film industry expression "hyphenate."

As a writer, Sammon has published numerous articles, short stories and books. His many film journalism pieces have seen print in The American Cinematographer, Cahiers du Cinema, The Los Angeles Times, Omni, Cinefex, and Cinefantastique. Sammon's fiction has appeared in Peter Straub's Ghosts (1995), and he recently edited both the 1994 "dead Elvis" anthology The King Is Dead plus the "no limits" anthologies Splatterpunks: Extreme Horror and Splatterpunks II: Over the Edge (1995).

But Paul M. Sammon does not only write about movies--he works in them as well. He first entered the industry as a publicist in the late 1970s, before moving on as a second-unit director, special effects coordinator, still photographer, electronic press kit producer, and Vice President of Special Promotions. Some of the scores of motion pictures on which Sammon has labored include RoboCop, Platoon, Blue Velvet, Conan the Barbarian, and The Silence of the Lambs.

By the late 1980s, Sammon was working in Japanese television, where he coproduced popular entertainment programs like Hello! Movies for the TV Asahi network. By the 1990s, Sammon had served as Computer Graphics Supervisor for RoboCop 2; he recently was Digital and Optical Effects Supervisor for 1995's XTRO: Watch the Skies.

Despite this background, however, Sammon still likes nothing better than sitting down with a good movie. And Blade Runner remains one of his favorite films.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a fantastic book and reference tool, and a must-have for any hard-core Blade Runner (BR) fanatic. It's packed with names, places, dates, fascinating factoids throughout, a trivia cornucopia. But, you've gotta be a serious BR fan to stick with author Paul Sammon all the way through this densely detailed, thorough, and clearly personally meaningful work. The book does have one major flaw: Sammon's failure to prove his subtitle promise that Blade Runner is the most influential sci-fi film of all time.
The book reads easily and well, Sammon's style informal. He writes as one BR fan to another, a great approach. The production details are thorough, insightful, and wonderful to read, 441 pages in 18 chapters, with nine appendices containing interviews, production details, the cast list, etc. Sammon is a total BR devotee, I compliment and commend him on his achievement and the recognition of those who worked so hard to make BR.
There is vast information throughout from all members of the cast and crew, all of them supportive of Sammon's effort to tell their story. There is surprisingly liberal information from the movie's principals, Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Michael Deeley, Syd Mead, Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. One disappointment is the absence of direct input and comment from the soundtrack maestro, Vangelis. Sammon nevertheless gives him thorough justice.
Wonderful esoteric tidbits abound through the book, such as the revelation that the original lead was not Harrison Ford, but Dustin Hoffman. Edward James Olmos provides great background on his preparation for his role as Gaff and his detailed construction of his Cityspeak dialog (most of it sadly unused).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blade Runner Bible Oct. 4 2002
By Drew
The book is written by Paul M. Sammon in 1996, about 15 years since the original release and 4 years after the Director's Cut re-release. As he explains in the opening chapter of the book, Sammon worked for a science fiction magazine called Cinefantastique, and what began as a double-issue special on the making of the highly-anticipated film Blade Runner eventually evolved into what Sammon calls an "exhaustive archaeology" of information regarding the film.
The novel is simply an overwhelming wealth of information on all things Blade Runner; chapters focus on every minute detail such as the evolution of the story as it passed through the hands of Phillip K. Dick's novel, Hampton Fancher's screenplay, then into the hands of David Peoples and Ridley Scott. Chapter VIII is such a delight, as it meticulously works through each scene in the film, stopping along the way to add tidbits of info such as exclusive interviews with the actors. Sammon apparently also had the luxury of roaming the set of Blade Runner, and he reveals things such as the futuristic magazine covers he would see on the magazine racks and many other incredibly obscure decorations the design team threw in that are virtually impossible to see when you watch the film.
Like the other reviewers, I agree that Sammon is not perhaps the most skilled writer, and the prose of the book is very choppy and (especially in Chapter I) pretty corny. What troubles me most, though, is that Sammon has a particularly annoying habit of throwing out names without properly introducing them and explaining their role in the Blade Runner universe. Mercifully, there is a cast and crew listing printed as an appendix, which is a great help.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Drink some for me, huh pal? Jan. 14 2002
'Future Noir', also known affectionately as 'The Bible' among Blade Runner fans is a very thorough examination all aspects of this groundbreaking film.
Written by Paul M. Sammon, the book takes us through the making of the film, the initial screenings and subsequent release, interviews with the cast and crew, the special effects, mistakes and problems with the film, the question of "Is Deckard a replicant?" and much, much more. This book is very much a reference book so it can be read in almost any order and referred to when you have questions that need answering.
The book provides some very interesting little insights into the film. One example, revealed during an interview with M. Emmet Walsh, is that Ridley Scott said that Walsh's character, Harry Bryant, had a stomach problem. This is the reason why he pours two shots for Deckard in his office and none for himself. He likes to see other people drinking since he can not.
The book is quite long and goes into a lot of detail, particularly in the section dealing with special effects. If you're not interested in such things it can be skipped over, however I am happy that it was included. It is better to have too much information than not enough. One thing that bothers me a bit is the fact that shortly before the book was to be published the publisher cut almost 300 pages of material from the book. This left Sammon scrambling to figure out what to cut and where to put important information from those deleted chapters in the book. There is talk of republishing the book in an expanded, more heavily illustrated version in 2002, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Blade Runner's original release, but whether this will happen is not yet clear.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Blade Runner's Bible
This book is the best of its genre. A milestone of film study and film history. A must-have to any fan.
Published 4 months ago by gilles
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fascinating
There can be no better introduction to Blade Runner.
There is a wealth of material here available nowhere else - from interviews with Philip K Dick to anecdotes about the... Read more
Published on July 19 2002 by H. Lim
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
A must have for Blade Runner's fans. Easy to read and enjoy.
Published on April 2 2002 by Alexandre Souza
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 for content, 3 for writing
"Future Noir" is a delightful read for a fan of the film it studies. Unfortunately, as the book often acknowledges, fans of "Blade Runner" tend to be highly... Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2002 by Jhon
5.0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive and essential for any film student.
If you love the movie Blade Runner you should be reading this book. It is indispensable. The author shares many insights and personnal experiences on the set of the film as well as... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2002 by Andy Williamson
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Secrets of Blade Runner
I fell in love with the film some years back, and with every fresh viewing find it ever more intriguing. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2002 by ED Detetcheverrie
3.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish writing, professional obsessiveness
I approached this book as someone who has always loved watching the hypnotic, gorgeous "Blade Runner," but who has never considered it a particularly good movie, and who... Read more
Published on Sept. 9 2001 by V. Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Any fan of the movie would find this detailed study fascinating. At times the detail seems to be more than you need; but in the end, this book will serve as an excellent chronicle... Read more
Published on June 24 2001 by The Sleak Strider
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journalist With A Vision
Paul M. Sammon reveals an enormous amount of information in this book. Mr. Sammon was able to gain access to all ongoings on the set for a reason; he too had a vision as Ridley... Read more
Published on March 6 2001 by "grimores"
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for fans of Blade Runner or Electric Sheep
I enjoyed this book very much. It provided tremendous insights into the movie and, to some degree, the book upon which it was based. (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2000
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