13. Vintage throwbacks
In some science fiction films, it seems as if the entirety of the old world was wiped away. Oftentimes, this is intentional, but that’s clearly not what the creators of Blade Runner wanted to do. Throughout the film, there are varied and significant callbacks to earlier eras.
Of course, at this point in film history, it’s practically impossible to make a noir without recalling the early days of the genre. All of that moody lighting, those serious expressions, and tense relationships are often linked to films like You Only Live Once (1937) and The Maltese Falcon (1941).
Going back into costuming, Rachel seems to be the nexus of vintage looks. Early on, her hair has the kind of structured and carefully curled look you might see when your friend gets really into victory curls. And while her suits have shoulder pads that would make any 1980s businesswoman proud, they also recall the tailored looks of mid-century America.
Even Los Angeles of 2019 has the kind of grimy, lived-in look that makes you feel as if it’s always been there. Yes, there are bright lights and everyone uses advanced tech, but the buildings have clearly been there for a while. J.F. Sebastian’s lonely home was actually the real life Bradbury Building, whose open spaces and wrought iron detailing are both out of place and somehow just right for the world of Blade Runner.