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The Lathe of Heaven
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Kevin Conway costars as Dr. Haber, a dream specialist who instantly recognizes George's gift and tries to harness it to make the whole world right. But, as George notes, "Unlimited power means unlimited danger." The increasingly megalomaniacal Haber uses George to try to cure the world's ills, from overpopulation to war, resulting in, for starters, a devastating plague and even alien invasion.
Many in this production went on to projects familiar to audiences: Cowriter Diane English went on to create TV's Murphy Brown; Scott Rudin, credited with "Principle Casting," is now one of Hollywood's most formidable producers; Margaret Avery, who costars as a skeptical lawyer who comes to believe George's incredible tale, was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in The Color Purple. For those who have only been able to see this now-legendary production on poor-quality bootleg tapes, this release will be sheer heaven. The DVD contains an interview with Le Guin conducted by Bill Moyers. --Donald Liebenson
- Bill Moyers interview with Ursula K. Le Guin
Top Customer Reviews
The film, which definitely has a futuristic, Orwellian feel to it, revolves around a troubled young man, George Orr, played by a young Bruce Davison, who is haunted by dreams that become reality. He goes to a dream therapist in hopes of finding surcease. The therapist, a Dr. Haber, recognizes the potential power inherent in this ability and plays God, giving the hapless Orr a post hypnotic suggestion to help him dream of something which will help the human condition. All thought by Dr. Haber of the good of the patient is tossed aside in the quest for the common good.
Alas, all does not go to plan. As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it. Here, it becomes somewhat of the proverbial monkey's paw. Moreover, what starts out as a desire to help humanity is quickly jettisoned, as issues of power and control rise to the forefront, and a megalomaniacal Dr. Haber loses all sense of perspective, with the easygoing Orr being manipulated by the controlling Dr. Haber. What happens to both patient and doctor is certainly a catalyst for thought provoking discussions, as is the end result, given the complexity of the underlying issues.
What makes this DVD particularly interesting is the inclusion of a conversation between Bill Moyers and author Ursula K. Le Guin, in which the novel and the film are discussed. This feature alone should make anyone who has read the book or seen the film include this DVD in their collection.
The movie is excellent. Although you can tell at the beginning of the DVD that the master wasn't of the best quality, you quickly get sucked into the storyline, accepting some of the shoddy special effects because the plot and acting are so stellar. I was lucky enough to do a 3 hour phone interview with Kevin Conway, and we talked a lot about how much this movie meant to him and what he was thinking about while filming. The movie has had a big impact on both the actors and viewers - most sci fi fans I know remember vividly when this came out, and have been waiting anxiously for its return. I already have a line of friends who want to come watch this with me!
The basic story is that George Orr has dreams which change reality, and simply wants them to stop. His doctor, Dr. Haber, instead decides to use them to change the world and rid it of evil. Ursula explains in the interview that this pits the tao of 'go with the flow' in George vs the progress and change mentality of Dr. Haber.
It's definitely a movie that you can watch many times and really think about, and also a movie that is fun just as an interesting story. Perhaps my favorite part is when George wonders if *everyone* has this ability, to change reality with dreams, and that maybe the 'rug is being pulled out from under us' over and over again without anyone noticing.
See this with friends or family, and be prepared for lively discussions afterwards!
The movie very good, but it's poor special effects and flaws may make first-time viewers wonder what the big deal is all about. The movie is a mostly successful attempt at making a worthy film out of great novel by Ursulla K. Le Guin.
I enjoyed the film a great deal, but there is some truly horrendously written dialogue, and some very unfortunate directorial choices. The acting by Bruce Davison and Kevin Conway remains quite good. Conway goes a bit over-the top and borders on campy melodramatics a few times, but not enough to de-rail the film. Indeed the budget restraints of the film requires the type of energetic Pavlovian performance he gives. Margaret Avery however never over-comes the fact the script has given her little to do and the directors aren't sure how to best utilize her. In one scene her character is passionate but in the next she is almost apathetic. The original story and its ideas are strong enough to withstand such flaws however.
The film is Directed by Fred Barzyk and David R. Loxton and written by Roger E. Swaybill and Diane (creator of t.v.'s Murphy Brown !) English.
You can see how this film might have incluenced films like Brazil, Bladerunner and The Matrix.
The film's special effects are cheap and a few steps below the level of an old Star Trek episode.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Forget that horrible A&E adaptation. This hard-to-find classic version was originally produced by New York PBS station WNET. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Andrew Goldstein
A blast from the past. Intriguing story, interesting to see how the physical representation of the male main character is so different from today. That, and great story.Published 12 months ago by Lisa H
I can't review it based on the book, just the movie alone. Everything about this movie, the story, acting, effects, soundtrack, etc. grab me. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mechanicoid
I was so glad when this finally was available on DVD. After all these years I was not disappointed. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Harry Benkiel
Bruce Davison plays George Orr, a man whose dreams can alter reality for better or worse. His ambitious psychiatrist exploits George's talents, with disastrous results, and George... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Viva
Please please will someone bring out a reasonably priced Re-release of this on DVD so I can own a copy. Read morePublished on September 12, 2013 by Bibi
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