Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Forgotten British Western ~ “Digital Dreams”

Digital Dreams

A 1983 British production [Panacea Entertainment, Ripple Entertainment (London)]

Producer: Eric Gardner, Astrid Wyman, Bill Wyman

Director: Robert Dornhelm

Story: Richard O’Brien

Screenplay: Richard O’Brien

Cinematography: Karl Kofler [color]

Music: Mike Batt, Bill Wyman

Running time: 72 minutes



Bill Wymanm – Bill Wyman

Astrid Wyman - Astrid Wyman (Astrid Lundstrum)

God’s gift to Wyman – James Coburn

The Doodler – Gerald Scarfe

The Power of Babel – Stanley Unwin

Billy ‘The Kid’ – Desmond Askew

Sun and Air – Stephen Wyman

The card sharp – Tony Kent

Party guests – Charlie Watts, Shirley Watts

Digital Dreams (1983).  A biographical work, it stars Bill Wyman and his then- girlfriend, Astrid.  They parted later that same year (after being together since 1967) and Bill commenced a notorious affair with the person who would later (briefly) become his second wife.  The other member of the Rolling Stones (along with his wife), who waits for Wyman to come to supper, is Charlie Watts (they are dressed formally for a meal at Wyman’s 16th-century mansion, which had previously been owned by the notorious Krays). 


The meandering plot follows Wyman’s attempts to write his biography on an early computer via floppy disc.  The dream sequence was filmed at Frontier City (a Wild West tourist attraction in Hungerford, England). In one scene, while another member of the group (with his wife) waits for him to come to supper, he is shown watching a western on T.V.  Eli Wallach’s voice can be heard saying, “If you’re going to shoot - shoot.”  Then, after humming Morricone’s theme, Wyman has a dream in which he is challenged to a western showdown (filmed at Frontier City, a Wild West tourist attraction in Hungerford, England) by villain James Coburn, who is attended by the actor who played Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show


James Coburn also appears in several other scenes as a bizarre spiritual guide (he is billed in the end credits under the amusing billing of “God’s gift to Wyman.”  Richard O’Brien (Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) also wrote the script!  This is his first credit after the 1982 film, Shock Treatment (which marketers attempted to sell as a follow-up to Rocky Horror). 


Digital Dreams has a running time of only 69 minutes and 58 seconds.  It premiered at MIPED on Apr. 24, 1983 and apparently went directly to T.V.  My copy came from a videotape from Suspect (just before they closed). 


[submitted by David Shaw and Michael Ferguson]

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