the plot of Nourse's novel: The novel's protagonist, a man with a club foot, lives in a society where free comprehensive medical treatment is available for anyone who has been sterilized, and no medical care whatsoever is available for anyone else (including children).
In 1979 William S. Burroughs writes a treatment for a proposed film adaptation of the novel. Burroughs' treatment is set in early 21st century and involves mutated viruses and what the back cover of the 1990 edition describes as "a medical-care apocalypse". The term "blade runner" referred to a smuggler of medical supplies, e.g. scalpels. [see also PKD's "The Imposter" (quite a bit of "bladerunning" going on there or the real-life "imposter" Wilhelm Voigt
(least we forget the Voigt-Kampf test of Bladerunner].
No film is ever made, and in 1982 film director Ridley Scott buys the rights to the name "Bladerunner" which will become the title for his adaptation of Phillip K. Dick's 1968 novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
One of the features of "Bladerunner" is the role of The Bradbury Building (which serves as home to Toymaker/Replicant designer J.F. Sebastien), and eerily acts as a character in the film...directly across the street in downtown Los Angeles is the Million Dollar Theater
which is also featured prominently in the film.
And now, we take a detour down "The Street With No Name" or 5th and Main St. downtown Los Angeles to be precise...just around the corner from "Bladerunner" central we find the curious Rosslyn "Million Dollar" Hotel. Those of you up on your Templar lore will surely be tempted by the significance of Rosslyn (or Rose Line).
Although the exact location of the video was Republic Liquor Store, The Rosslyn Hotel sign is clearly visible behind Bono and the Band throughout...so intrigued was Bono that he dubbed the Rosslyn "The Million Dollar Hotel"??
The story is recounted on The International Cinematographers Guild website:
"The Million Dollar Hotel took a rather circuitous route to the screen, one spanning more than a decade. In the late Eighties, mega rock band U2, while prepping to shoot a music video for "Where the Streets Have No Name," selected the roof of an ancient hotel as its location. Built four-score and some-odd
years ago, the hotel, now known as the Rosslyn (located in downtown Los Angeles at 5th and Main Street) was once among the tallest edifices in Southern California, and played host to several visiting U.S. presidents before falling into disrepair. The U2 video was shot during the Reagan era, when many social programs had been cut-to-the-bone or eliminated. To the socially conscious band members, the results were quite visible in this area, with its mainly disenfranchised inhabitants, and the whole area overflowing with citizens attempting to carry on in spite of NO HEALTHCARE. Fascinated by the rooftop sign, U2 lead vocalist Bono declared this edifice to be 'The Million Dollar Hotel,' (the edifice's longest-lasting and best known moniker) and began developing a notion for a script to take place there."
The Rosslyn (built in and owned by the Hart Brothers) was once the largest building in downtown L.A., and had a rather odd feature...it actually consisted of two buildings joined only by an underground tunnel which connected the two.
Enter Wim Wenders, the German film director of the 1987 poetic masterpiece "Wings of Desire", a story of Angels observing mankind in Berlin while one longs to become mortal and live among human beings. [In 1998, Hollywood in it's infantile wisdom would remake it as "City of Angels" starring our old pal Nicolas Cage] Bono and Wim Wenders would team up to co-write an interesting little gem called "Million Dollar Hotel" in 2000. The film stars...Mel Gibson (who co-produced via his I-CON Pictures), and Milla Jovovich (Synchromystic sirens are popping off everywhere) two names that have been bantered about much of late. I will return to them later.
Here is a passage from Wim Wender's [see also 2004's "Land of Plenty" and 1991's "Until the End of the World"] website which I found interesting:
Once upon a time there was an enchanted hotel...
... built many, many years ago,
at the beginning of the last century
on the corner of 5th Street and Main,
in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
For a while it was the tallest and most splendid building
in the city.
And it carried the euphemistic name
The Rosslyn Million Dollar Hotel.
On the other side of the street
stood its sister building, the Rosslyn.
The two hotels were linked by corridors underground.
Each portal mirrored the other.
Round about, business was brisk.
The Million Dollar Theater and the Million Dollar
were both just round the corner.
The area was certainly worth a few millions.
This was the headquarters
of the American entertainment industry;
Griffith and Chaplin had their offices here...
That was once upon a time.
When the movie industry moved to
Hollywood and Burbank,
the decline of downtown Los Angeles began.
the two sisters still
stare at each other in silence.
But no more wild, flamboyant parties are celebrated here.
Millionaires no longer cross the doorsteps.
The huge iron scaffolding on the roofs
still carries the same signs,
But the light bulbs in those letters
went out seventy years ago,
The Million Dollar Hotel is now called the Frontier Hotel,
It's a flop-house
where you can get a place to sleep
for eight dollars a night;
that is if you don't have to spend the night on the streets,
like the throngs of homeless people
who stake out their cardboard huts
in the streets round about
night after night,
only to lose their homes the next morning
to the garbage collectors.
a different kind of popularion hurried past the hotel:
bankers clutching briefcases,
yuppies wielding mobile phones,
tourists carrying digital cameras.
At dusk they all seem to vanish into thin air,
leaving the field once again
to the outcasts.
In this other America,
the Million Dollar Hotel
stands as a fortress,
the last bastion of the hopeless,
but also a stronghold,
of drug-dealing and of prostitution.
This is where our film had its beginning
more than ten years ago,
when Bono, in search of a location for the U2 video
Where the Streets Have no Name,
stumbled upon the hotel.
No song came about from his discovery, for once,
beyond that great big Dream, where truly everyone is equal.
from "The Bladerunner" to Bono's epiphany on the rooftop of The Rosslyn Hotel...we see a an odd blend of medical apocalypse/good genetics bad genetics strung throughout this truly dystopian thread.
Milla's exchange with a reporter at the Berlin Film Festival for the screening of "Million Dollar Hotel: "Are you an alien?" "That's what they say. The people that know me best say I am."
Venus becomes the Ultraviolet Fly
BELIEVE becomes BE-LIE-VE...if you take out the LIE see how easy it becomes BE-E HI-VE...
Also of note, U2's "The Fly" from the album "Achtung Baby" [as well as a few other U2 songs frequently references stars falling from the sky] when released as a single had the following title as it's flip or BEE-side: "Alex Descends into Hell for a Bottle of Milk / Korova 1" a DIRECT reference to "A Clockwork ORANGE". And accroding to wikipedia the song: "is a music piece by Bono and The Edge, taken from the score for the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "A Clockwork Orange" . This was the only part of the score which was officially released. The author of the original book, Anthony Burgess was reportedly very unsatisfied with the soundtrack. This song was also featured on the soundtrack to the Johnny Mnemonic movie.
"The Fly" was track number 7 from the album, and if you slide down a couple more tracks to track 10 what do we find but? "Ultraviolet:Light My Way"
Until Next time...