A machine displaying human emotions has been fascinating Hollywood for years: starting with the tin man in Wizard of Oz, Hal in 2001 and 2010, Number 5 in Short Circuit, hell, you probably could even accuse Arnie's Terminator to display some emotions in T2. The combination of failsafe logic and erratic human behaviour seems to bring out the best (and the worst) in Hollywood's authors.
Electric Dreams was, in my opinion, always one of the most human and touching examples of this genre. Directed by first timer Steve Barron in 1984 (who got the job after creating and directing the famous half cartoon/half live action video "Take on me" by Aha), written by Rusty Lemorande ( who was also involved in Yentl, Caddyshack and, off all things, Captain Eo) and produced by Richard Branson for Virgin Pictures UK, this was a rather mixed bag when it came to production values: Actors no one ever heard of, but the cream of electronic music supplying the soundtrack and state of the art computer graphics (for the mid-eighties).
The story is quickly told: Hapless architect Miles (Lenny von Dohlen) buys a computer to organise his chaotic life, but on installation day pours a bottle of champagne by mistake on the motherboard. Instead of being ruined, the computer develops a human personality which complicates things greatly, as both Miles and his computer (now called "Edgar") fall in love with Mile's Cello playing neighbour Madeline (the very lovely Virgina Madsen).
This looks and feels a lot like a mid eighties music video: the edits come thick and fast, and the camera at times seems to be weightless, roaming around the place. The music is fantastic: Heaven 17, ELO and Giorgio Moroder (who, with Philip Oakey) also provides the title song) provide a nice and rhythmic layer on which Barron gets let loose.
A fantastic film, and don't forget your tissues.
There is a nice trailer available at http://videodetective.com/home.asp?PublishedID=2308