This provocative 1980 made-for-TV science fiction film is set in Century Portland, Oregon, at the end of the 20th-century in a world of unending rainfall and a diminishing food supply where the polar caps have melted as a direct result of pollution and over-population and the future of the human race is seriously in doubt.
George Orr (Bruce Davison) is a man plagued by terrifying dreams that actually come true and have changed reality when he awakes.
It is the awesome power of his unique “gift” that George finds so nightmarish.
Directed by local government officials to begin “Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment”, he tells his psychiatrist, “my dreams changed everything that came before them – and nobody knows it but me!”
But somebody does: George’s shrink, a specialist in dream research named William Haber (Kevin Conway). Sceptical at first, he orders George under hypnosis to dream a change in the weather – then stands back amazed as cold, rainy Portland instantly becomes another Miami.
Soon, Dr Haber has bigger changes in mind. With George his reluctant “instrument”, he sets out “to make the whole world right”. But Orr’s dreams have a way of backfiring . . .
Told to cure overpopulation, George dreams up a devastating plague. And Haber’s wish for “no more killings of humans by other humans” is promptly answered with an alien invasion.
But the doctor forces Orr to dream again and again in his quest to create a Utopian society.
Finally, the very fabric of existence begins to collapse around those dreams that come true.
Margaret Avery is Heather LeLache, an attorney who falls in love with George after he turns to her for assistance in gaining a legal discharge from Dr Haber’s care.
The Lathe of Heaven was based on a 1971 novel by Ursula Le Guin. The 2-hour movie debuted on PBS in the US on Wednesday 9 January 1980.
Although set in Portland, Oregon, the film was actually shot in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to take advantage of favourable weather conditions and the ultra-modern architecture in those two cities.
A 2002 remake starring James Caan, Lukas Haas and Lisa Bonet clearly had a bigger budget but departed so significantly from the original story that it is almost unrecognisable. Avoid it and track down a copy of the 1980 original.
Dr William Haber
Woman on Subway
Woman on Subway