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Tomorrow Calling

Entry updated 22 April 2024. Tagged: Film.

Short tv film (1993). Channel 4 Television, Parallax Pictures, Tapson Steel Films Productions. Written and directed by Tim Leandro, based on William Gibson's "The Gernsback Continuum" (in Universe 11, anth 1981, ed Terry Carr). Cast includes Don Henderson, Colin Salmon and Toyah Wilcox. Colour. 12 minutes.

Photographer Bill (Salmon) is given the task of photographing modernist buildings of the 1930s to 1950s, for a book of once "futuristic" architecture. Whilst taking pictures of a bingo hall, he sees a huge Airship flying just overhead. His friend Mervyn (Henderson) tells him that he tapping into the collective unconscious, which he refers to as a "semiotic ghost", which is also represented by Pulp magazines and old sf films. On route to an assignment in Blackpool, Bill sees a couple seemingly straight out of Things to Come (1936). Fearing he is losing his mind, he calls Mervyn in a panic. Mervyn advises him that the only antidote to his visions lies in consuming large quantities of lowbrow Television and pornography, in order to ground him in the basest of contemporary product. On his arrival in Blackpool, the skies contain more airships.

This brief film is most notable as the first screen adaptation of a William Gibson story. The hammy tone however brings it closer to a somewhat tacky Horror film than anything its original author would have envisaged, with uniformly broad acting, cheap camera effects and unsubtle Humour. The buildings Bill is shooting convey collective dreams of the future with an eloquence unmatched by anything else here. [CWa]


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