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Electric Dreams

Electric DreamsElectric Dreams is a much-loved,
  bona fide classic slice of nostalgia from
  the
80s a ‘fairytale for computers
  that is an amusing and heart-warming
  story with
a stark warning not to mess
  with your PC!


PERHAPS EVEN MORE PERTINENT for the 21st Century, the 80's film Electric Dreams is as much notable for its outstanding soundtrack and Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder's theme tune as it is for its zany plot that was inspired by the then growing obsession with electronic gadgets and computer technology.

This is great news for fans of this clever film because Second Sight presents a first-ever DVD release of Electric Dreams — a prime example of pop culture from the much-maligned decade that refuses to die.

Electric Dreams has a fascinating and well-paced plot that was, for its time, an up-to-the-minute trek into computer technology. With a soundtrack that boasts an impressive lists of 80s luminaries — including The Human League's Phil Oakey and Helen Terry; synth soundtrack legend Giorgio Moroder; PP Arnold; Heaven 17; Culture Club and Jeff Lynne of ELO. Electric enough for you?

The success of the film was driven by that of the accompanying pop promo for the Electric Dreams single that featured clips from the film — and that theme song is as popular today as ever: The Human League, incidentally, closed their recent sell-out tour of the UK with this paean to computer love.

Miles Harding (Lenny von Dohlen) is a helpless, hopeless architect who is desperate to create a special brick that can resist earthquakes and who is at the end of his tether, about to blow a fuse. His boss, Mr Ryley (Don Fellows), is on his case for continually turning up late and his friend Frank (Alan Polonsky) persuades him to get some sort of personal organiser to get his life in order.

When Miles goes the whole hog and buys a computer to get organised and to develop his ideas, his life is thrown into even more turmoil — especially when he meets his new neighbour, the blonde, beautiful and gifted Madeline Frobisher (Virginia Madsen), who plays a cello in an orchestra.

The computer with a mind of its own, Edgar (the voice of Bud Cort) — that he has set up to control all his appliances — seems determined to ruin Miles' life and manages to lock him in (and then out) of his apartment, wreck his credit ratings, run up his 'phone bills, cancel his plane reservations and convince Madeline that she and Miles could play beautiful music together… There's nothing artificial about this intelligence!

Suddenly it dawns on Miles that he has two rivals for Madeline: the first is smooth operator Bill (Maxwell Caulfield) and the second is none other than Edgar — who can't even get Miles' name right. Edgar is determined to get Madeline and he'll do whatever he can to make sure that Miles doesn't get a look in. And you've never come across word-processing like this!

Things get desperate when Miles asks Edgar to write a love song for him to give to Madeline and when it goes awry Miles accuses the computer of taking over his life. "Like you take my songs," responds Edgar wearily.

So, it looks as if Miles will have to fight off the competition — not only the suave, good-looking Bill but also the increasingly-antagonistic Edgar, who longs to be loved. And it begins to look as if Miles will never find a way to sabotage the system as Edgar appears indestructible...

With 80s nostalgia as strong as it ever was and Oakey and his band-mates in The Human League still playing to packed houses, this cherished and fondly-remembered classic is a nostalgic trip back to a time when computers were new, fashion was dubious and music was wild. Electric Dreams has to be one of the highlights of cinema in the Eighties, carrying an evocative soundtrack with a cute and very tongue-in-cheek storyline with a hint of tragedy.

Electric Dreams also features Giorgio Moroder as the Radio Producer; the always-watchable Miriam Margoyles as the ticket girl; Harry Rabinowitz as The Conductor; the marvellous Madeleine Christie as the lady at the concert; Winston T Dog as Himself; Mary Doran as Millie and Wendy Miller as the computer clerk. Original score is by Giorgio Moroder; the film is Written by Rusty Lemorande; Produced by Rusty Lemorande and Larry de Waay; Executive Producer is Richard Branson; and Director is Steve Barron.

Awards

1985 BAFTA Nomination for Best Original Song: Phil Oakey & Giorgio Moroder's Together In Electric Dreams.

Electric Dreams is released on DVD on 6 April (2009) at a RRP of £15.99.

Special Feature

Phil Oakey/Giorgio Moroder video for Together In Electric Dreams.

"Electric Dreams has to be one of the highlights of cinema in the Eighties, carrying an evocative soundtrack alongside a cute and very tongue-in-cheek storyline with a hint of tragedy" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar