ELECTRIC DREAMS [1984 / 2017] [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
One of the Much-Loved Classic Films of the 1980s! A BOY, A GIRL, and a Computer!
Miles Harding [Lenny von Dohlen] is helpless, hopeless and about to blow a fuse. He has a problem. His computer Edgar [Voiced by Bud Cort] has decided to wreck his life. He's ruined his credit rating, run up his phone bill, cancelled his plane reservations, locked him out of his house and now he's trying to steal his girlfriend. Meet Madeline Robistat [Virginia Madsen]... she's blonde, brilliant and waiting for the sparks to fly!
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1985: BAFTA Film Awards: Nominated: Best Original Song for Giorgio Moroder for the song "Together in Electric Dreams." 1985 Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival: Win: Antennae II Award for Steve Barron (Director). Win: Audience Award for Steve Barron (Director). Nominated: Grand Prize for Steve Barron (Director).
FILM FACT No.2: Edgar, the name of the computer is most likely named after Edgard Varese who is widely recognised as the father of electronic music. Edgar, the computer was not a real computer model and was assembled by the film makers from a pastiche of computer parts at the time. The dog in the film, which is a British Airedale Terrier, was named Winston and was owned by the Producer/Writer Rusty Lemorande. The film was dedicated to the UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) which was one of the earliest supercomputers built in the 1950's, in the days when computers were only for businesses or government and were the size of several refrigerators! Fans of ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ have noted the similarities between the film and Spike Jonze's ‘Her.’ But when asked about it, Spike Jonze claimed not to have seen the former film. Director Steve Barron later said when he made the film there was a prejudice against video clip directors doing drama, and since ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ "was a little bit like an extended music video... I didn't help that cause in a lot of ways. (laughs)." In 2009 Steve Barron said that Virginia Madsen told him she was planning on being involved in a remake. "She didn't ask me to do it, so I guess I blew my chance on the first one!" he said. "I wouldn't actually do it, but it would have been nice for the ego to be asked." As of 2018, no remake has resulted.
Cast: Lenny von Dohlen, Virginia Madsen, Maxwell Caulfield, Bud Cort (computer voice), Don Fellows, Alan Polonsky, Wendy Miller, Harry Rabinowitz, Miriam Margolyes, Holly De Jong, Stella Maris, Mary Doran, Diana Choy, Jim Steck, Gary Pettinger, Bob Coffey, Mac McDonald, Regina Waldon, Howland Chamberlain, Patsy Smart, Madeleine Christie, Preston Lockwood, Shermaine Michaels, Lisa Vogel, Koo Stark, Winston T. Dog, Gina Francis, Ruth Westheimer (voice), Frazer Smith (D.J.), Chuck Abernathy (uncredited), Oliver Barron (uncredited) and Giorgio Moroder (Radio Producer) (uncredited)
Director: Steve Barron
Producers: Larry DeWaay, Rusty Lemorande and Sir Richard Branson
Screenplay: Rusty Lemorande
Composer: Giorgio Moroder
Cinematography: Alex Thomson, B.S.C. (Director of Photohraphy)
Image Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 2.0 LPCM Uncompressed Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 96 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Virgin Pictures / Second Sight Films
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’  was a time where innocence of technology was something to behold. We didn’t have the internet, at least not in the way you see it today, and a talking car was the height of our ambition. A busy modern 1980s executive is having trouble balancing his life. When a friend tells him to get one of those new home computer things he thinks that it may help him manage his time better. But after spilling a drink on the computer it develops its own identity and the computer also takes on a life of its own and as you can imagine a screwball comedy ensures and you’ve guessed it a lot of misunderstandings happens. Oh the hilarity! This is also one of the best Romantic Comedy films of that period in time.
Miles Harding [Lenny von Dohlen] is a bit of a computer nerd, an architect who is trying to invent "The Earthquake-Proof Brick," but is he a smart guy, well, almost. Miles Harding's not great with computers. He's not really great at life, as it happens. So when one of his colleagues convinces him he needs “organizing,” so he buys himself a computer, connects it to all the gadgets in his house, and like all good computer geeks, sets about running his entire house from the comfort of his swivel chair.
All goes well, until Miles Harding accidentally overloads the computer with data from his office mainframe. Trying to put out the fire, he spills champagne over the keyboard. There's some violent interaction between bubbles and circuitry, and, when he switches the system back after drying it out, Edgar [computer voice by Bud Cort] comes strangely to life. After a few initial doubts, Miles Harding is fine with this and indeed comes to like it. Until cello player Madeline Robistat [Virginia Madsen] moves into the apartment upstairs.
Things begin to get out of hand when Miles Harding starts falling in love with Madeline Robistat. Edgar, the computer is left alone in the apartment during the work day soon follows suit and seduces Madeline Robistat by accompanying her cello practice. Miles Harding gets Edgar the computer to write a love song for Madeline Robistat, in which Edgar pours out his silicon heart. In surely the strangest love triangle ever made, Madeline Robistat believes that her wonderful musical muse is Miles Harding, whilst we all know better of course. And of course eventually a jealous clash is brewing. How can Miles Harding win Madeline Robistat from a competitor she doesn't know it exists? What will Edgar the computer do next to try to get the edge over Miles Harding?
If you have never had a chance to view this really nice Romantic Comedy film, then all this probably sounds rather tame and naïve in today’s computer generated modern world. And it would be, were it not for the very fine performances from the under-rated Lenny von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen. The emphasis here is definitely on "heart and style” and this magical urban fairy-tale is laced with some of the best pop music ever written for a film set in the 1980s period. It is also very well photographed with the help of the brilliant cinematographer Alex Thomson and can be a bit surreal in places, a bit like a long pop video, which is what the mean-spirited critics said about the film at the time.
There are also many little details that the scriptwriters used in the film, which of course pre-dates the Personal Computer era, but cleverly predicts the hassles man would have with his silicon friends. An example is when Miles Harding mis-types his name as "moles" during an initial setup screen and Edgar the computer, refers to him by that name throughout the rest of the film! Which of course not much has changed since when the film was released, especially where it comes to computer setup software situation, it would seem?
One part of the film I thought was totally hilarious, is when Edgar the computer starts to talk and also mimic sounds it hears, and especially when the dogs start barking in the neighbourhood and suddenly the British Airedale Terrier named Winston appears in the film and walks into Miles Harding’s apartment to check out where the barking is coming from, and especially thinking there were loads of dogs in the room and suddenly realises there were no dogs around and runs off because Winston is totally confused where the sounds are coming from and I can tell you, you will laugh out loud when you see this particular scene in the film.
The whole film is just a bundle of hilarious fun and definitely with a tongue placed firmly in cheek and opens up your eyes to a new horizon. The story moves at a steady pace and fast enough not to let you get a chance to be bored or bogged down with the plot. People of a certain age that loved the 1980s will find a lot to enjoy here. But what gave us the most fun was the music, it’s mostly Boy George and Culture Club, and we bopped quite happily, as we did at the time and no one thought we were strange. Of course if the film was made for modern audiences, there would of course be a much more sinister threat from the computer. Thankfully it was made at a time where innocence was the key and where the geeky nerdy guy always got the girl with the beautiful smile. The soundtrack is provided by some of the 1980s hottest bands, artists and especially the song “TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS” that was performed by Giorgio Moroder with Phil Oakey, which remains totally memorable to this day. This Second Sight Films Blu-ray package is well worth picking up if you are feeling a touch nostalgic for the feel good films of the 1980s, as the credits roll up the screen, no doubt it will make you want to get up and boogies to the fantastic songs performed and join in with everyone you view at the end of the film, well it made me especially want to boogie, as that specific song is so infectious and brilliant at the same time and certainly sums up the magic of the film.
ELECTRIC DREAMS MUSIC TRACK LISTING
ELECTRIC DREAMS (Composed by Boy George and Phil Pickett) (Produced by Don Was) [Performed by P.P. Arnold]
KARMA CHAMELEON (Composed by Boy George, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig and Phil Pickett) (Adapted by John Gregory and Harry Rabinowitz)
NOW YOU’RE MINE (Music by Giorgio Moroder) (Lyrics by Helen St. John and Rusty Lemorande) (Produced by Giorgio Moroder) [Performed by Helen Terry]
JOHNNY TOO BAD (Composed by Winston Bailey, Derick Crook and Roy Beckford) [Performed by UB40]
WALTZ OF THE FLOWERS (Composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) (Re-recorded in London)
THE DUEL (Composed and Produced by Giorgio Moroder) [Performed by Giorgio Moroder]
THE THEIVING MAGPIE ("La gazza ladrà: Overture") [Music by Gioachino Rossini) (Re-recorded in London)
SUITE FROM ANNA MAGDALENA BACH (Music by Johann Sebastian Bach) (Adapted by Johnny Gregory) (Re-recorded in London)
TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR (Music by Johann Sebastian Bach) (Adapted by Johnny Gregory) (Re-recorded in London)
MAD MINUET (Based on a melody by Johann Sebastian Bach) [Performed by Bruce Woolley]
YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE (Composed by Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland) [Performed by Phil Collins]
VIDEO (Composed and Produced by Jeff Lynne) [Performed by Jeff Lynne]
LOVE IS LOVE (Composed by Boy George, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay and Jon Moss) (Produced by Steve Levine for Do Not Erase Productions) [Performed by Culture Club]
THE DREAM (Composed by Culture Club) (Produced by Steve Levine for Do Not Erase Productions) [Performed by Culture Club]
LET IT RUN (Composed and Produced by Jeff Lynne) [Performed by Jeff Lynne]
DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME (Composed by Culture Club) (Adapted by Johnny Gregory and Harry Rabinowitz) [Performed by Culture Club]
CRUSHED BY THE WHEELS OF INDUSTRY (Composed by Ian Craig Marsh, Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory) [Performed by Heaven 17]
CHASE RUNNER (Composed by Ian Craig Marsh, Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory) [Performed by Heaven 17]
MADELINE’S THEME (Composed and Produced by Giorgio Moroder) [Performed by Giorgio Moroder]
TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS (Music by Giorgio Moroder) (Lyrics by Phil Oakey) (Produced by Giorgio Moroder) [Performed by Giorgio Moroder with Phil Oakey]
HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU (Written by Dale Evans)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU (Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill)
Blu-ray Image Quality – With combination of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Virgin Pictures and Second Sight Films, they bring you this film in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and are faithfully rendered in this brilliant 1080p transfer image in a stunning 2K restoration. Image quality is certainly a vast improvement over the previous inferior DVD release, as it gives a much greater clarity, and is definitely a vast improvement. Thankfully this brand new Blu-ray disc release from Second Sight Films, which is a worldwide premiere in high-definition, does not have any such issues, with the image mostly bright and detailed with only a hint of grain. There is just one very brief sequence in the film where the principal characters are walking home at night and where the street appears to be under lit that much of the surrounding detail is slightly lost, but despite this slight flaw the rest of the image quality is quite outstanding. But all in all it is a vast improvement over the inferior DVD release and it was so good to see the film in 1080p high definition that was well worth waiting for the release of this Blu-ray disc. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Virgin Pictures and Second Sight Films, bring you this film in just a single 2.0 LPCM Uncompressed Audio Stereo experience, which unfortunately I had to crank the sound up a few notches. But despite this, the audio is excellent and, for many, that will be the main attraction here, especially with the boundless energy of the brilliant sounds of the pop songs of the 1980s prominent throughout the film and some of the music has never sounded better and bring on this Blu-ray disc really enhances what you hear. But again, the single 2.0 LPCM Uncompressed Stereo audio track provides a solid level of depth and clarity throughout with no detectable problems and they have done a very professional job.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: IS THIS A STORY?: Interview with Director Steve Barron  [1080p] [1.78:1] [18:22] Here we are presented with an exclusive brand New interview with Director Steve Barron. The Irish director explains in-depth his background in the business, starting out directing pop promotional videos for New Wave British bands in the late seventies like Adam & The Ants and OMD [Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, but also did ground-breaking music videos for artists like Michael Jackson; A-ha; Dire Straits; The Human League; Toto; Bryan AdAms; Eddy grant; Madonna and Paul McCartney and Steve Barron was responsible for some ground-breaking music videos during early days of MTV in America, when Steve Barron was suddenly demanding and clamouring for more his directed music videos. Director Steve Barron impressive early work includes the videos for Dire Straits “Money for Nothing,” A-ha’s “Take on Me” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” among many other music videos. Director Steve Barron also talks of how he became involved with the film ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ which of course was his first feature directing debut, as his mother Zelda Barron was also in the film industry and had worked with producer Rusty Lemorande on the Barbara Streisand’s brilliant film ‘YENTL,’ and what also impressed Rusty Lemorande was that he happen to view some of Steve Barron’s ground-breaking music videos and felt he would be totally ideal to direct the film ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS,’ and of course Steve Barron was well up for the job as the director, as he felt it was a lot of fun. When Steve Barron finally met up with Sir Richard Branson, who had read the script and gave it the green light to go ahead with the project, and was given a budget of $7,000,000, which was of course peanuts compared to what films cost to make in the 21st century. All the interior shots were filmed at the Twickenham Film Studios, Richmond, London, England, UK, but of course the exterior shots were filmed in 1115-1117 Mason Street, San Francisco, California, USA, Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, California, USA and Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, California, USA. When Steve Barron wanted certain composed music, he contacted record producer Giorgio Moroder and played Steve Barron the demo track entitled “TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS” and was totally impressed, but felt it needed lyrics and a singer, so Steve Barron wanted Phil Oakey as he was signed to the Virgin Record label and when Phil Oakey went into the recording studio and did the song in one take and was shocked, as normally liked to do loads of takes and was not happy, so Giorgio Moroder allowed Phil Oakey to do another recording and was very happy with the results. But of course when ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ was released in America, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer booked a thousand cinemas, but despite this, the film was sadly a failure and of course Steve Barron was very upset and disappointed, but Virgin Pictures in the UK launched the film and was a moderate success. But despite Steve Barron being very naïve about the film industry in the 1980s, especially with regards with thinking that he thought and hoped ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ would be a big success at the box office, unfortunately Steve Barron learnt a great deal with directing his first film; so his next film project did attract a significantly larger audience and the original big screen version of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ . But of course over the years ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ has now gained a massive cult film status and is even loved more today, because of its quirky Romantic Comedy scenario.
Special Feature: ELECTRIC DREAMING: Interview with Writer/Co-Producer Rusty Lemorande  [1080p] [1.78:1] [41:27] Here we have another exclusive brand New interview and finally get to meet in person with Writer/Co-Producer Rusty Lemorande who talks in depth about the ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ project, and mentioning how he conceived the idea of the film as a modern day musical and managed to raise the financing through a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This is by far the most interesting interview out of all these special features. But Rusty Lemorande talks about his first computer experience which was an Apple computer, which was very basic. Rusty also mentions that one day he was on a Chicago bus and noticed all the children were obsessed with their electronic gizmos and felt very sad with them, as when Rusty Lemorande grew up he would always engage with his grandparents. But with the plethora of loads of electronic gadgets coming on stream in the 1980s, Rusty felt this was a gem of an idea for a film, but he also felt how the story takes on elements from Cyrano de Bergerac and Frankenstein, and eventually Rusty Lemorande met up with Steve Barron and Sir Richard Branson and it all seem to come together in a very short space of time, and especially when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer came on board, which also help to get the film off the ground. But he also explains why the film ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ was pulled from cinemas, because it was all part of a strategy to reboot the release of the film in America, but the studio head that agreed to this was fired shortly afterwards and so the film was never released as planned, so the American public missed out on a very unique film. The informative interview also includes Rusty Lemorande’s relationship with Sir Richard Branson, the casting process, achieving the early visual effects without CGI and arranging the all-important soundtrack with music producer Giorgio Moroder to include the massive big hit singles of the 1980s period. The Human League vocalist was already known to director Steve Barron, who had previously directed a video for The Human League’s No.1 hit “Don’t You Want Me,” which of course was massive world-wide smash disco hit as well. Rusty also informs us that he really enjoyed his time filming in the UK, because of the brilliant English film crew that filmed the interior shots, but they had employ a special person to go over to America to buy all America items, especially the electric plugs. But the other bonus Rusty tells us that filming in the UK was much cheaper, because of subsidies from the UK Government. The production was also delighted to get the legendary Jeff Lynne of ELO and Boy George were very keen to get involved, but they were only allowed to do two songs, but Boy George wrote a third song, but P.P. Arnold had to sing the song. However, it was Phil Oakey’s audio track entitled “TOGETHER IN ELECTRIC DREAMS” that will probably be best remembered especially in the UK. But because certain songs from the film were banned from radio air play in America, because they wanted to promote the songs before the film was release, that is why the film failed at the box office in America, but the film was much better received in the UK because of the connection with Sir Richard Branson and his record label Virgin Records. But despite the negativity towards the film in America, Rusty Lemorande is still very proud and fond memories of the work he did on the film ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS.’
Special Feature: MILES AND MADELINE: Interview with Lenny von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen  [1080p] [1.78:1] [20:47] Here we have another exclusive brand New interview with the stars Lenny von Dohlen who played Miles Harding who looks so difference with his shock of white hair and talks about how his acting career started with plays and then went onto two films and then one day got a phone call to ask him to appear in the film ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS,’ and eventually met the director Steve Barron, but Lenny informed the director that he was not very technically minded, but Steve Barron said that was perfect for the character in the film. Next up we meet Virginia Madsen who was of course played the female character Madeline Robistat in the film ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS,’ who was also very pleased to be asked to appear in the film and was her first starring role in a film and was so excited, especially because of the subject of the film was new technology and what was also nice to hear is that both of them share their intimate stories from the past and Lenny Von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen both have very fond memories of working on ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS.’ Because it was Virginia Madsen’s first film starring roles was really enthusiastically recounts some anecdotes about the project. One of the reasons both actors were keen to appear in Steve Barron’s film, as both of them had viewed some of his ground-breaking music videos on the MTV channel in America. What also impressed both of them were the UK crew on the film set. But the other aspect of the film was working with Alex Thompson, Peter McDonald and Roy Sharman, which was a great honour, as they were very professional. As disclosed in Rusty Lemorande’s interview, Virginia Madsen was not in fact the producer’s first choice, but all in all it turned out to be the right choice and everyone thought Virginia Madsen in the character role as Madeline Robistat was perfect. Also Lenny von Dohlen on the other hand found himself getting the role of Miles Harding following an impressive earlier performance in the film ‘Tender Mercies’ opposite Robert Duvall. But when bother actors were invited over to film at the Twickenham Film Studios, Richmond, London, England, UK, they were both flown First Class and they were treated like royalty and had the best time ever, because Virginia Madsen was put up in a luxurious flat in Mayfair in London, and Lenny von Dohlen was also put up in a luxurious flat, but this time it was in Chelsea in London, and their experience has lasted them a lifetime and Virginia also informs us that Lenny is still in contact and is also a very dear friend. Although in her childhood Virginia played the piano, but moving to Los Angeles had to stop playing the piano, which her Mother did not approve, but for the film had to learn how to play the Cello and Harry Rabinowitz taught Virginia morning, noon and night, because had to look realistic in the film. When Lenny was walking down Broadway with a friend, he saw the American poster for the film and hated it, but was lucky enough to see the European Poster and felt it was more in tune with the film. Both actors were very proud to have worked on the film and have very fond memories, but success in 1980s America was short lived and both actors decoded to move on and get on with their lives, but since the film was first released on the prehistoric VHS tape, then after a while was released onto the DVD format and because of this have become cult status, as has the film and of course even more popular in the 21st century, and Virginia says at the end of the interview, that the film was always a gift that kept on giving, and there is something about this film that just makes it live on and on, and there is something sweet and something romantic, and loved everything about the film, and feel it is a film that will still be loved by future generations.
BONUS: INITIAL 2,000 units get a beautiful Limited Edition designed slipcase with premium spot gloss varnish.
Finally, I remember seeing the film ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ at the cinema when it first came out in England, and especially when computers were still those unusual big cumbersome clunky boxes with built in keyboards, and when Bill Gates was still just some nerdy guy with glasses in Connecticut or somewhere, who was not of course the household name he is today. This film was brilliant on several levels, here you had a love story that was very well crafted, and the music soundtrack was absolutely superb and totally brilliant at the same time, especially with the equally brilliant talented Giorgio Moroder who was of course at his best in 1984 and also the actress Virginia Madsen looked absolutely marvellous. But of course the technology of 1982 obviously dates the film considerably compared to what computers are available in the 21st century and no way does it put me off this film, as it is a firm favourite of mine and of course has a massive cult following. Of course it has an innovative story line, a well-crafted love story, backed by capable acting and totally brilliant music. Deeply enjoyable, deeply eighties, deeply silly, deeply guilty pleasure, and I can tell you that ‘ELECTRIC DREAMS’ is the must have Blu-ray disc that will bring a spark of completion to your home entertainment collection. Plus the brilliant soundtrack is something that will be of interest to everyone who is a massive fan of the music of the 1980s as well. Just don’t tell your laptop, tablet or smartphone. By the way, one bit of interesting information, according to Wikipedia, when the film was released in the cinema it was 112 minutes, when released onto DVD it was 92 minutes, but according to the information the Blu-ray Cover the film is supposed to be 92 minutes, well this particular information is wrong, whereas the Blu-ray disc actually runs precisely for another extra 4 minutes. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso