Tears in rain monologue

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Roy Batty, as played by Rutger Hauer after the "Tears in Rain" monologue in Blade Runner.

"Tears in Rain" is the final monologue of the Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, delivered by the replicant Roy Batty, portrayed by Rutger Hauer. The final form, altered from the scripted lines and much improvised by Hauer on the eve of filming,[1][2] has entered popular culture as "perhaps the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history"[3] and is an often quoted piece of science fiction writing.[4]

Script and improvisation[edit]

In Blade Runner, the dying replicant Roy Batty introspectively makes the speech during a rain downpour, moments before his own death:

I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe... Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those... moments... will be lost in time, like [small cough] tears... in... rain. Time... to die...

In the Channel 4 documentary On the Edge of Blade Runner, Hauer, director Ridley Scott, and screenwriter David Peoples asserted that Hauer wrote the "Tears in Rain" speech. There were earlier versions of the speech in Peoples' draft screenplays; one included the sentence "I rode on the back decks of a blinker and watched c-beams glitter in the dark, near the Tanhauser Gate"[5] In his autobiography, Hauer said he merely cut the original scripted speech by several lines, adding only "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain"[6] although the original script, displayed during the documentary, before Hauer's rewrite, does not mention "Tannhäuser Gate":

I've known adventures, seen places you people will never see, I've been Offworld and back... frontiers! I've stood on the back deck of a blinker bound for the Plutition Camps with sweat in my eyes watching the stars fight on the shoulder of Orion...I've felt wind in my hair, riding test boats off the black galaxies and seen an attack fleet burn like a match and disappear. I've seen it, felt it...!

Hauer described this as "opera talk" and "hi-tech speech" with no bearing on the rest of the film, so he "put a knife in it" the night before filming, without Scott's knowledge.[7] In interview with Dan Jolin, Hauer said that these final lines showed that Batty wanted to "make his mark on existence ... the replicant in the final scene, by dying, shows Deckard what a real man is made of."[8]

When Hauer performed the scene, the film crew applauded and some even cried. This was due to the power of the dying speech combined with coming to the end of an exhausting shoot.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Sidney Perkowitz, writing in Hollywood science, praised the speech, "If there's a great speech in science fiction cinema, it's Batty's final words...". He says that it "underlines the replicant's humanlike characteristics mixed with its artificial capabilities."[10] Jason Vest, writing in Future Imperfect: Philip K. Dick at the Movies, praised the delivery of the speech, "Hauer's deft performance is heartbreaking in its gentle evocation of the memories, experiences, and passions that have driven Batty's short life."[11]

Tannhauser Gate[edit]

Tannhauser Gate, Tannhäuser Gate and Tanhauser Gate are variant spellings of this unexplained placename which is used only once in the film. It has since been reused in other science fiction sub-genres, in popular music and critically reviewed.[12] The name probably derives from Richard Wagner's operatic adaption of the legend of the medieval German knight and poet Tannhäuser.[13] Joanne Taylor, in an article discussing film noir and its epistemology, remarks on the relation between Wagner's opera and Batty's reference, and suggests that Batty aligns himself with Wagner's Tannhäuser, a character who has fallen from grace with men and with God. Both, she claims, are characters whose fate is beyond their own control.[13]

References in other media[edit]

A reference to Tannhäuser Gate in Soldier (1998) links that film to Blade Runner.[14]

"The Ballad of Roy Batty" by British neo-psychedelia duo Grumbling Fur on their album Glynnaestra uses the monologue as repeated lyrics throughout the song.[15]

The video game Homeworld contains a level involving a hyperspace gate called Tannhauser Gate.[16]

British alt-rock band Fightstar regularly references to the monologue in many of their songs, including "Lost Like Tears in Rain" from the album Grand Unification and "Tannhäuser Gate" from the album One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours.

"Attack Ships on Fire" on British drum and bass DJ London Elektricity's Syncopated City album contains samples of Batty's final words.

Macklemore's "Claiming the City" from the album The Language of my Mind features a snippet of the monologue in the final 10 seconds of the song.

The American Dad! episode "Steve and Snot's Test-Tubular Adventure" contains elements of this scene.

"Tears in Rain" by Stan SB uses the monologue as the opening introduction to the song, and the overall theme of the song is sampled from the monologue.

"Time to Die" by Gary Numan on his album Strange Charm (1999 Eagle Records CD reissue) as an extra track, it is based on the monologue.[17]

In a season 4 episode of the Cartoon Network television show The Venture Brothers titled "Assisted Suicide", while speaking to Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, Henchman 21 references the 'Tears in Rain' monologue by mentioning having seen "attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion".

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Ridley Scott, Paul Sammon (2005), Ridley Scott: interviews, University Press of Mississippi, p. 103 
  2. ^ Jim Krause (2006), Type Idea Index, p. 204, ISBN 9781581808063 
  3. ^ Mark Rowlands (2003), The philosopher at the end of the universe, pp. 234–235, "Roy then dies, and in perhaps the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history..." 
  4. ^ Mark Brake, Neil Hook (2008), "Different engines", Scientific American (Palgrave Macmillan) 259 (6): 163, Bibcode:1988SciAm.259f.111E, doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1288-111, ISBN 9780230553972 
  5. ^ Hampton Fancher and David Peoples (23 February 1981). "Blade Runner Screenplay". Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  6. ^ Rutger Hauer and Patrick Quinlan (2007), All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants and Blade Runners, HarperEntertainment, ISBN 978-0-06-113389-3 
  7. ^ 105 minutes into the Channel 4 documentary On the Edge of Blade Runner.
  8. ^ Laurence Raw (2009), The Ridley Scott encyclopedia, p. 159, ISBN 9780810869523 
  9. ^ "Batty's dying speech in the rain", The Observer, 6 February 2000 
  10. ^ S. Perkowitz (2007), Hollywood science, Columbia University Press, p. 203, ISBN 9780231142809 
  11. ^ Jason P. Vest (2009), Future Imperfect, University of Nebraska Press, p. 24, ISBN 0803218605 
  12. ^ Hicham Lasri, Static, ISBN 978-9954-1-0261-9, ff 255
  13. ^ a b Taylor, Joanne (2006), "'Here's to Plain Speaking': The Condition(s) of Knowing and Speaking in Film Noir", Florida Atlantic Comparative Studies 48: 29–54, ISBN 9781581129618 
  14. ^ Allon, Yoram; Del Cullen, Hannah Patterson. Contemporary North American film directors, ISBN 978-1-903364-52-9, p.14, "the two movies are connected by a single passing reference to Tannhauser Gate."
  15. ^ http://thequietus.com/articles/12981-grumbling-fur-glynnaestra-review
  16. ^ http://www.caltrops.com/review0022.php
  17. ^ Strange Charm