Mind Blowing Movies: World on a Wire (1973), by Erik Davis


12 Responses to “Mind Blowing Movies: World on a Wire (1973), by Erik Davis”

  1. hypnosifl says:

    Just saw this one a couple days ago, loved it (and I’m not surprised Erik Davis would enjoy it, it was very ahead of its time in its “techgnostic” feel). I had never heard of it until the Criterion release, but there were some little details that made me wonder if the Wachowskis had seen it when they made the Matrix (some minor spoilers): aside from the prominent use of mirrors, there was also the detail of the the main character leaving the simulation from inside a phone booth (and apparently he needed to use that particular phone booth to get out, since he had to expel the guy already in there even though there was another empty one next to it), one of the programs escaping the simulation by taking over someone’s body, and the weird kinky futuristic dance club.

    • Martin Liebermann says:

      I also saw it a few days ago – Frech/German ARTE TV is showing a series of Fassbinder Movies. It was pretty obious that Matrix refers to this scene from Welt am Draht. 

      • Amelia_G says:

        The 30th anniversary of Fassbinder’s death just occurred. Germ media note such things. Also: WDR is still very good! Nested also: these are public broadcasting channels/stations that have triumphed over the private essais.

  2. chris jimson says:

    “a gnostic glitch track stripped of all transcendence”

  3. Eleftheria Pantou says:

    Thank you, Erik, for reminding me about “World on a Wire.” I loved it when I watched it on TV in ’73, and I’m thrilled to learn that Criterion has released a restored digital transfer of the film.  From the trailer, it looks terrific!

    P.S.  It’s “Zeno’s paradox,” not “Xeno’s.”  Although we use a ‘z’ sound in English to pronounce both words, “Zeno” was the name of the philosopher from Elea, and “xeno” is a combining from in English that means foreign or strange.

    • cub says:

      also, adding german to spell check would be nice– the bonus “p” in “totalartwork” fugged up my googling.

  4. noah django says:

    that mis-en-scene is poppin,’ son!

    great write up, I look forward to this film.

  5. Preston Sturges says:

    Someone needs to recut a better trailer.  This reminds me of MST3K

    Tom: So Joel, this movie has lots of walking?
    Joel:  Get used to it.   

  6. Bauart says:

    Here is a 48.5 minute documentary about the making of “World On A Wire”.


  7. Peter Green says:

    The name Daniel Galouye rang a bell, but not Simulacron-3. Wikipedia tells me the title here in the UK was Counterfeit World, which I remember really enjoying  when I read it back in the 70s. From what I recall of the plot it certainly seems a plausible inspiration for The Matrix. Definitely going to check out the film!

  8. gero says:

    Thanks for the review, I definitly have to see this.
    The actor is called Klaus Löwit*s*ch.

  9. Amelia_G says:

    Awesome, thank you! Your description is also good. Coincidentally, a friend whose opinion I still really respect after ~20 years who is a media editor in Berlin said recently the best German director after WWII was Fassbinder. FWIW

Leave a Reply