Thursday, August 21, 2014

Only now does it occur to me... BREAKING GLASS

Only now does it occur to me...  that a British indie punk movie from 1980 would have such a far-reaching influence on 80s Sci-Fi.

Before I explain what I mean, I must compliment BREAKING GLASS, a gritty "rise to the top" record industry film (in a similar vein as SLADE IN FLAME or LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS).  Mostly it's a platform for Hazel O'Connor to sing the shit out of a variety of legitimately amazing punk, New Wave, and post-punk music she's written for the occasion. 

But there's also the part where she (and the costume design team) inspire the entire aesthetic for 1982's TRON:



Then there's the small matter that for large chunks of the film, she's in white-face and New Wave eye makeup with a teased-out, electro-bob haircut:  the spitting image of Daryl Hannah's "Pris" from 1982's BLADE RUNNER:

Hazel hangs out with her band in BREAKING GLASS.

Daryl Hannah hangs out with her replicant buddies in BLADE RUNNER.

Hazel freaks out on stage in BREAKING GLASS.

Daryl freaks out on Harrison Ford in BLADE RUNNER.

Clearly, Ridley Scott saw this, and was taking notes.  And it may be a bit of a stretch, but in some scenes she even looks like Joanna Cassidy's "Zhora," another replicant from BLADE RUNNER:
 Hazel in her dressing room in BREAKING GLASS.

Joanna Cassidy in her dressing room in BLADE RUNNER.

Before you chalk it up to coincidence, allow me to present one final, bizarre detail– BREAKING GLASS prefigures BLADE RUNNER's use of the "weird, reflective, robotic pupil" effect.  In BLADE RUNNER, it's generally used to indicate when a person (or a creature) is a synthetic "replicant":
Tyrell's replicant owl.

Replicant Rutger Hauer.

In BREAKING GLASS, it's used by Hazel and her band as they impersonate robots on stage:
Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places– and I'm sure that Hazel and the makers of BREAKING GLASS had no idea that they would exert such a stylistic influence on two of the biggest sci-fi flicks of 1982– and furthermore, at the time, I'm sure no one could have guessed that those two films would establish such cultural staying power.  But here's hoping that BREAKING GLASS can muster a little staying power, too:  it's an invaluable document of New Wave-Punk realness, and seriously, it's rare for a film to have such ass-kicking original music, across the board.  A gushing recommendation, for sci-fi fans and punk rock enthusiasts alike!


Anonymous said...

& of course the song "Eighth day" was basically the plot of the "Terminator" series..

Sean Gill said...


That's not too far from the truth!