Overdrawn at the Memory Bank was a 1983 television movie. It was produced by Canada’s RSL Productions in Toronto. Financing was provided by WNET/PBS New Jersey, which had hoped to create an entire science fiction series adapting famous works, but due to lack of funding this was the last of three such productions, the other two being The Lathe of Heaven and Between Time and Timbuktu.
The script was based on a 1976 John Varley short story. The production was not a critical success and was satirized by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) in 1997, complete with a spoof of a public television pledge drive.
Overdrawn at the Memory Bank was not shot on film, but rather was videotaped, with extensive use of chroma key and blue screen special effects. Pixelation artifacts are clearly visible in many of the effects.
Apollonia (Linda Griffiths), a computer controller, is assigned to locate Fingal and keep him from hacking into Novicorp’s mainframe. With Appolonia’s help, Fingal creates a virtual world where he encounters characters from Casablanca, including a version of Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick (played also by Raul Julia). Over time he grows bored (while only minutes pass in the real world, days pass in the virtual one) and plots to bring down Novicorp’s finances without being removed and, thus, killed. Appolonia tries to keep Fingal out of trouble, placing her in opposition with Novicorp’s leaders, especially when she finds herself falling in love with Fingal and develops a conflict of interest. With Appolonia’s considerable help, Fingal eventually “interfaces” with the mainframe and defeats his antagonists. He also returns to his body, which has been discovered before undergoing the aforementioned sex change operation. Finally corporeal and reunited with his accomplice, Fingal and Appolonia experience a traditional happy ending, with Fingal having taken complete control of the HX368. After ordering bonuses and stocks for every employee, committing Novicorp's Chairman [the films main antagonist] to a month of "compulsory rehab" via doppeling and changing both his and Apollonia's identity to Rick and Ingrid [respectively] -- the characters from Casablanca --, Fingal, who by now has absolute and total access to & control of the system, vows to fight against the dystopian government. The film ends with the new couple walking out the door and, now free from Novicorp's oppression, talk about opening a club on the other side of town: Rick's Place.
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