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The Lathe of Heaven (1980)

TV Movie  -   -  Sci-Fi  -  9 January 1980 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,838 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 15 critic

George Orr, a man whose dreams can change waking reality, tries to suppress this unpredictable gift with drugs. Dr. Haber, an assigned psychiatrist, discovers the gift to be real and ... See full summary »

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, (as David Loxton)
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Title: The Lathe of Heaven (TV Movie 1980)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Peyton E. Park ...
Mannie Ahrens (as Peyton Park)
Niki Flacks ...
Penny Crouch
...
Dr. William Haber
Vandi Clark ...
Aunt Ethel
Bernedette Whitehead ...
George's Mother (as Bernadette Whitehead)
Jo Livingston ...
George's Father
Jane Roberts ...
Grandmother
Tom Matts ...
Grandfather
Frank Miller ...
Parole Officer
Joye Nash ...
Woman on Subway
Gena Sleete ...
Woman on Subway
...
Heather LeLache
Ben McKinley III ...
Orderlie
R.A. Mihailoff ...
Orderlie
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Storyline

George Orr, a man whose dreams can change waking reality, tries to suppress this unpredictable gift with drugs. Dr. Haber, an assigned psychiatrist, discovers the gift to be real and hypnotically induces Mr. Orr to change reality for the benefit of mankind --- with bizarre and frightening results. Written by Will Briggs

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Genres:

Sci-Fi

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Release Date:

9 January 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lathe of Heaven  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unseen for twenty years because of a copyright issue: in one scene, George Orr plays a record of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends." The film was finally allowed to be rebroadcast when The Beatles' version of the song was replaced with one sung by a different vocalist. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Haber: You know what they say, neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them.
Heather: Psychiatrists collect the rent.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Lathe of Heaven (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

A must see for science fiction fans - be careful what you dream about
12 March 2001 | by (Durham, NC (USA)) – See all my reviews

I had public television on several days ago (March 10, 2001) and "Lathe of Heaven" was starting on their series "Movies Worth Taping". I'm glad I happened to turn the TV on, as it was a movie well worth watching! It was made in 1987 as the first made-for-public-TV film, and is based on a novel by Ursula Le Guin.

This movie explores the notion of "effective dreaming", where one's dreams actually come true. It explores the strange dreams of George Orr (Bruce Davison). When he has these dreams, he wakes to find that his dreamt-up situations are now not only reality, but other people suddenly have adapted as if this reality has been with the world for some time.

George is traumatized by these dreams, and seeks the help of Dr. William Haber (Kevin Conway). Dr. Haber's intentions are good, to harness the power of these effective dreams to the betterment of the world, but he clearly abuses the doctor-patient relationship and hypnotizes George to have specific kinds of dreams. One motto of this film might be "be careful what you dream about"!

I found the special effects sometimes interesting, but often heavy-handed and not so smoothly executed. The setting, sometime in the near future in Portland, Oregon, was inexplicably dreary, beyond the rain that the city is well known for. The character development could have been stronger, with ancillary characters like Dr. Haber's secretary and the very few others seeming to be made out of cardboard and lacking emotion. George and Heather LeLache (Margaret Avery), however, enjoyed more solid and believable depictions.

In spite of these criticisms, the film was an exciting journey into inner space that indulges us to think about deep philosophical questions. What is reality? Are there parallel realities? What is or should be knowable about the nature of existence (to me reminiscent a bit of "2010", one of my favorite science fiction films)? What happens if we dream each other into or out of reality? "The greatest good for the greatest number" or rights of the individual? Can we design a utopia or will we be doomed to experience accidents we never considered that render such a proposed utopia much less than ideal? "The Lathe of Heaven" doesn't have the fresh and exciting visual effects of earlier science fiction films like "2001" or later ones, but is an interesting film that is a must see for science fiction fans.


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