Blade Runner Reimagined as a Classic Era Noir Film

I really love Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Science Fiction Noir film Blade Runner. I watched the film again recently, and I found myself wondering what this film would have been like if it had been made as a Noir film in the 1940’s or 1950’s.

So I sat and had a long think about who to direct and who to cast in this classic Noir version of the film.

The Director

I would have had Fritz Lang and Edward Dmytryk co-direct this film. I thought of Fritz Lang because of his stellar work in creating a futuristic city and society in his film Metropolis. That expertise would have been much needed to create the futuristic looking city the film is set in.

Lang also directed one of the darkest and most brutal Noir films, The Big Heat, so I’m pretty sure that he would have had no trouble bringing a Sci-Fi Noir film to the screen. 

I thought of Edward Dmytryk because he directed the best Noir film (in my opinion)Murder My Sweet(1944); this is a film which oozes Noir from every single frame. He would have done wonders with the characters, the lighting, and with the overall look and mood of the film I think. 

The Cast

I thought of Charles McGraw for the role of Detective Rick Deckard.


Charles McGraw. Screenshot by me.

I think that Charles could give Deckard the tough quality he needs as a replicant hunter(known as Blade Runners). I also think that he could show the softer side of the man when necessary in certain scenes.


I thought of Gene Tierney for the role of Rachel, a woman who may or may not be a replicant. Gene always did a good job of playing haughty, reserved women with a hint of mystery about them.


Gene Tierney. Screenshot by me.

I also think that she could easily capture the unreadable and troubled aspects of the character, while also being able to make her vulnerable and innocent during certain scenes.


I thought of Robert Ryan for the role of Roy Batty, the intelligent and violent leader of the escaped replicants.


Robert Ryan. Screenshot by me.

I think that he could easily convey the intensity, the strength and the rage of Roy, yet also perfectly capture his emotional struggle and also convey his gentle and tender side too. 


I thought of Clifton Webb for the role of Dr. Tyrell, the intellectual and scientific genius who created the replicants.


Clifton Webb. Screenshot by me.

Clifton always convinced as intelligent characters who were self assured, dignified, smug and confident. I think he would be perfect in this role. 


I thought of Gloria Grahame for the role of Pris, who is one of the escaped replicants. I think Gloria would be a good choice because she always had a mix of childlike innocence about her and conveyed intelligence and sultriness at the same time.


Gloria Grahame. Screenshot by me.

Pris is a character who looks innocent, is curious, is childlike at times, and is also a very smart and manipulative woman. I think Gloria would have been awesome in this role.


I thought of Marie Windsor for the role of Zhora, another of the escaped replicants who won’t give up without a fight. Marie always had a toughness about her that I think would make her perfect for this role.


Marie Windsor. Screenshot by me.

I also think that Marie would have been great in the club scenes. I think she would have been terrific in the scene in the dressing room where Zhora shows no inhibitions around Deckard. 


I thought of Edward G. Robinson for the role of J.F Sebastian, the genetic designer who works alongside Dr. Tyrell. Sebastian is kind to Roy and Pris and he takes them to see Tyrell.


Edward G. Robinson. Screenshot by me.

I thought of Eddie G because he had a knack for playing kind and well meaning characters who get themselves in a situation that they can’t easily get back out of. I think he would been able to convey the intelligence of his character, also his good nature, and also his fear of Roy. 


Would you have watched this film? What do you think of the cast I selected? I’d love to know who you would cast as directors or actors in this. Who would you cast if it had been made outside of America?

Are there any other films which you can imagine as a classic era film? Start a post and share it with us.

21 thoughts on “Blade Runner Reimagined as a Classic Era Noir Film

  1. CanterburyTale

    Maddy, what a great idea. I certainly cannot fault your casting and directorial choices.I would watch this film in a heartbeat. Ed.G.Robinson and Clifton Webb in the same film- Wow! And Fritz Lang is a must!

    If there were a UK version from the same period (highly unlikely, but it’s fun to imagine) I would offer Trevor Howard as Deckard.He was as close to a ‘tough guy’ as the UK got at the time. Googie Withers or Margaret Lockwood as Rachel,haughty with a suggestion of something darker.

    David Farrar as Roy.He would convincingly portray the aggression and intensity.
    Eric Portman as Dr.Tyrell.Intelligent and self assured,but with a sinister undertone.
    Joan Collins as Pris.The young Joan would be great playing childlike but manipulative, or possibly Jean Simmons.
    Jean Kent or Diana Dors would both be ideal as Zhora.Tough, streetwise, sexy.
    Leslie Banks would be a good fit as Sebastian.He was equally adept at villainy or kindly authority figures.
    As to the director, the first name that comes to mind is Alberto Cavalcanti. Highly inventive, with an almost surreal visual sense.

    I am very interested to see what others come up with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. maddylovesherclassicfilms Post author

      Hey Canterbury. Hope you and yours are all well. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked my choices.

      Your choices are amazing! I especially like your choices of Edward Portman, Googie Withers, Trevor Howard and Jean Kent. Cavalcanti would have been an interesting director for this. I would certainly watch your version without a moments hesitation.

      I always think it’s fun to imagine classic era films that could have been made, or to imagine different actors starring in films.


  2. dbmoviesblog

    This is a very interesting idea for the post! I absolutely love your cast of Gene Tierney as Rachel, I think she would be the perfect Rachel (it also helps that both Young and Tierney were born on 19/20 November so they know a lot about reserve and mystery, as you say). I also agree with Clifton Webb as Dr. Tyrell. He certainly looks the part. I also imagine someone like Spencer Tracy as J.F. Sebastian.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wolfman's Cult Film Club

        I watched “Shane” for the first time yesterday! Yeah I know!
        Good ole Elisha Cook Jr popped up and I thought, hey there’s J.F. Sebastian and in the same film captain chiseled cheeks himself, Jack Palance would be a good shoo-in for Roy Batty if Robert Ryan wasn’t so taken with the idea of doing a sci-fi!


      2. Wolfman's Cult Film Club

        Really enjoyed it. I do try and get a classic western in each month, it’s a nice change of pace from all the noir and thrillers. Van Heflin was brilliant. Dare I say and I know it’s become iconic quote but damn that kid was annoying LOL. But I loved his face when Alan Ladd fired off the 6 shooter for the first time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. maddylovesherclassicfilms Post author

        Glad you enjoyed it so much. The boys weird eyes in that scene freak me out LOL.

        If you’re into classic western films try the films of Anthony Mann and James Stewart. I like these films because they have terrific character development and much darker/psychological content than other films of the genre.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Wolfman's Cult Film Club

        Thanks for the tip on the Anthony Mann and James Stewart films. I haven’t seen any of them and will go straight into Winchester 73 and The Naked Spur and go from there. Liking the sound of the more darker/psychological content. Much obliged Maddy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. John Charet

    Great post 🙂 I do not have a problem with any of those choices. Tell me, do you think that the reason two directors would have been attached to it back then would be because it would have been a massive undertaking (a la Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz) for the time? Fritz Lang directed Metropolis all by himself, but then again, that was not an American film. I could actually see all of these actors portraying these characters to perfection (both the males and the females). Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. maddylovesherclassicfilms Post author

      Thanks so much John! I thought of two directors so that both the Science Fiction and Noir elements were focused on by the director who had the most expertise in that area; that way you get the best of both Science Fiction and Noir in my opinion. I think a film like this would also probably have been released as an epic, so two directors would have helped take the pressure off if there had just been on director attached. There are so many solo directors out there who have successfully made epic films, but sometimes two heads are better than one.

      Glad you liked this and thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person


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