Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (1984)

Based on the 1976 John Varley short story, this was a co-production between New York PBS station WNET and Toronto’s RSL Productions. The budget was high, so they cut costs by shooting it on video and selling it to smaller American cable companies, as well as CDC and PBS’ American Playhouse.

Aram Fingal (Raul Julia, before I could say things like “Raul Julia deserves better”), a programmer who has been caught watching Casablanca at his work and pays for that crime by having his mind placed into the brain of a baboon before his mind is active and becomes lost in the system.

Somehow, Aram ends up becoming Rick Blaine and getting the person in charge of getting rid of him, Apollonia Jones, to fall in love with him.

PBS also made The Lathe of Heaven around this time, which is wild that they were ahead of the cyberpunk trend. Too bad this movie has the production values it does, because the SOV style does not serve a movie that is trying so hard to be of the future.

You can watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 riff of this on Tubi.

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