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The Lathe of Heaven (1980)

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 »

Directors:

Fred Barzyk, David R. Loxton (as David Loxton)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Thirteen/WNET

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La rueda celeste See more »

Filming Locations:

Highland Park, Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first Made for TV Movie to be ever shown on PBS. See more »

Goofs

On the government water distribution tanker truck, the word "mobile" is misspelled "MOBIL". See more »

Quotes

Dr. Haber: Progress, George. Progress. We have made more progress in six weeks than humanity has made in the past six thousand years.
George Orr: Well, do you think with all of this progress you could help me to find Heather?
Dr. Haber: Who?
George Orr: [Irritated] Heather Lelache, the lawyer from HEW.
Dr. Haber: Oh, yes. What happened to her?
George Orr: I don't know, she's gone.
Dr. Haber: Oh, she's out there somewhere.
George Orr: I doubt it. She was brown, not gray.
See more »


Soundtracks

With a Little Help from My Friends
(uncredited)
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Science Fiction Classic reclaimed from the vaults.
12 August 2000 | by Klaatu-18See all my reviews

Last night I got a chance to see one of my favorite SF movies, and it only took 20 years.

Back in 1978, I was working at a mom-and-pop bookstore in Dallas called Taylors. One day one of the customers bought a book by Ursula K. LeGuin: "The Lathe of Heaven". I told her that she was one of my favorite authors, and that I loved the book. She said that she was involved in the production of a film of the book that was to be done locally.

Early in 1980 it was aired. Bruce Davison (recently the Senator in "X-men") played the protagonist, George Orr. And various Metroplex locations stood in for Portland in the near-future year of 2002. City Hall (later the OCP HQ in "Robocop"), Reunion Arena and the Water Gardens in FW (previously used in "Logan's Run").

George Orr has a problem: dreams. He doesn't want to have any. He takes drugs to try and thwart his unconscious so that he can sleep but not dream. Because if he does dream a special kind of dream, an "effective" dream, it changes reality "all the way back to the Stone Age".

Dr. William Haber is an oneirologist: a dream specialist. He doesn't believe George's story, of course. He thinks that George is sick, not cursed. He eventually comes around to the realization that George is right. A power struggle ensues to decide who will be in charge of deciding who gets to make the decisions of how to use this power.

The story touches on race relations, psychology, Taoism and more. And all on a miniscule budget of 250K.

An added bonus was the addition of interviews with Bruce Davison and Ms. LeGuin, the latter with Bill Moyers. She rarely does interviews, and it was wonderful hearing her add little behind-the-scenes details and commenting on the story and film. Since my understanding of Taoism is limited to readings of "The Tao of Pooh", I didn't realize the use of Taoism until I heard UKL mention it.

If I had had 90 bucks to blow on a KERA membership, I could have gotten the video from them. In fact, the on-air weasel said that the tape was "only available through public TV". If you check amazon.com, as I did last night, you will find that this is a bald-faced lie: TLoH will be released on VHS and DVD later this month, with the interviews and all.

The only thing that burned my butt about the film that I saw last night was the one change they made. Originally, they used Ringo Starr's version of the Beatles tune "A Little Help from My Friends". The new version has a different cover version. One of the reviews on amazon.com stated that this was because it would cost too much to get the rights from Michael Jackson, who now owns the entire Beatle catalog. This doesn't work. IMHO, MJ would get money no matter who did it.

Uncle Steve says check it out.


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