Alien : Placement of the Life Cycle Tableau


a) Original placement of the hieroglyphs
There were debates going on about whether the hieroglyphs would be required or not.

They were going to be used in the egg silo just above the pregnant capsules that were planned for the set, Giger had included them in his painting Egg Silo version I (Work 386 ), and by July the 14th 1978, Giger knew by July 14th 1978 that they wouldn't need his hieroglyphs and by the 19th, his pregnant capsules were to be removed as well since they were seen as superfluous. (see also: HR Giger's egg silo interior version I

b) Return of the Hieroglyphs
The painting itself of course remained around, but by August 14th,  Ron Shusett showed that he was was keen to include the hieroglyphs painting in the film and Giger talked to Ridley Scott about this and Ridley said that the hallway leading to the cockpit in the derelict spacecraft would be a possible sight for the painting.So Giger brought the painting on that day for test shots.

c) Test shots
By the 16th of August, 1978, the test shots have been completed and the following day in the 17th, Ridley the following day saw the rushes and commented "It works".

Giger wasn't satisfied with the hallway that was no longer based on his concept for the corridor, he thought that the place seemed too much like a mine shaft rather than a part of a space craft.
 
Work 386 egg silo I,  designed to contain the hieroglyphs

d)  Too much information
The next thought that came from Ridley was that showing the picture in the film would show too much of the story of the alien life cycle and so it should go in the cockpit chamber, however Giger's view was that the average cinema goer wouldn't be able to read the story from the painting. 

 Giger hoped that he would be able to tackle the situation with Ron Shusett's help and get the painting in a place where it could be seen, but eventually let the whole matter go.

detail from egg silo showing hieroglyphs area

e) Resurfacing of the test footage
The test footage shot would later be found on the Alien Anthology Blu-Ray set released in 2010

Quote sources
  1. H R Giger (14th July 1978): They don't need my hieroglyphs anymore. ( Giger's Alien diaries, p249) 
  2. H. R. Giger (Monday 14 August, 1978): Shusett wants to include my painting "Hieroglyphs" in the film. I talked to Ridley about this. He said that the hallway leading to the cockpit might be a possible sight for the painting. I'll bring the painting tomorrow for a film test. ( Giger's Alien diaries, p497) 
  3. H. R. Giger (Monday 16 August, 1978):To my great suprise, they made film tests of the hieroglyph painting. ( Giger's Alien diaries, p501)
  4. H. R. Giger: "The previous days rushes are shown. A test is made of my hieroglyphics picture . Scott's comment "It works!". A place has been found for it in the "mineshaft" . I had originally meant the hieroglyphics to be the decor of the egg silo, where to my mind they still belong•. (Giger's Alien p32, Entry for August 17, 1978) (The "mineshaft" is Giger's name for the derelict's gangway given in dissatisfaction.) 

  5. the derelict corridor (referred to by Giger as the "mineshaft") where Ridley for a while would 
    have placed the painting in the derelict
  6.  H. R. Giger (Thursday, August 17, 1978): At 1pm, I watched the rushes. They showed the film test of the hieroglyphs painting. Ridley's comment: "It works." Afterwards, there was discussion about where to place the images. To me the only option is the corridor of the Alien spacecraft, which has been brutally altered. It's supposed to be part of a flying object but looks more like a mine shaft. I try to make it clear to G. Carroll. No luck. In matters like this, he's always stubborn as hell. R. Scott thinks that the hieroglyph image would tell the story of the Alien directly so I should try to put it directly in the cockpit. I tried to explain to these blockheads that regular moviegoers, even if they had enough time, would never be able to read the story from the hieroglyph image. I would like to make an attempt in this direction. With the help of Ron Shusett, I might get there another time. ( Giger's Alien diaries, p501)   

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