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Another Dream Movie

by Steven Utley

Last night I dreamed a movie nobody will ever see. This isn’t the first time — some few years ago, I dreamed the movie serial Orson Welles made for Republic Pictures during the early 1950s, when (so the dream had it) he couldn’t find other work in Hollywood. You’ll just have to take my word (which is good as gold) that it was sort of like Touch of Evil crossed with Fighting Devil Dogs without being anything like either of them.

Anyhoo, about last night: I believe this was a hitherto unreleased, unsuspected film by Stanley Kubrick, though that may just be wishful thinking, and in a dream, yet (fancy that). Well, Kubrick, whose formidable résumé included Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and A Clockwork Orange, always was one of my favorite filmmakers. I hope someday, or some night, to dream myself a movie by another favorite, Akira Kurosawa, of Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro fame. Possibly it will be like Rashomon crossed with Godzilla, King of the Monsters — four people give very different accounts of how Tokyo got flattened.

But about the Kubrick film of my dreams: it was set during the Vietnam War but in a way-rear-echelon area — Japan — where members of the little-known U.S. Army Corps of Philosophers were resting and recreating, presumably after a grueling tour of wrestling with the nature of being and meaning way off in the Southeast Asian boondocks. Possibly they called themselves Hell’s Hegelians, or Kant’s Kommandos.

A considerable portion of the action, such as it was, involved an older, gruffer American’s inability to order what he wanted in Tokyo eateries; also, a bacchanalia occurred in a bathhouse, and Playboy bunnies were in attendance. One guy refused to be envious of another’s success with a certain blonde number. “I don’t just want to be with a woman,” he said, “I want to be back in the real world with a woman.”

The end credits started rolling, i.e., I awoke, before anybody could respond, “Define what you mean by ‘real’.”

You tell me.

A psychologist I know from way back says, “If I were your therapist, which I’m not, the one thing I’d ask you about is the real world woman part — are you feeling that your relationships are a bit surrealistic these days? Or many days?”

Well, yes, a bit, but let’s not go there.

Which reminds me of another recent movie dream, this one by Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen). It was called Sandra (a very dear lady of my nevertheless purely platonic acquaintance) and Steven Go To Hell.

But let’s not go there, either.

Copyright © 2006 by Steven Utley

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