The Andromeda Strain (1971)

USA,
131m
35mm film, “filmed in Panavision” [anamorphic], Technicolor, 2.35:1
mono, English

An American science fiction film directed by Robert Wise.

Plot Summary

Scoop VII, a US military satellite, returns to earth near Piedmont in New Mexico, bringing with it an alien organism that proves instantly fatal to any humans it comes into contact with. To fight the virus, a hand-picked team of top assembles as the high-tech, underground Wildfire facility and race against time to find a cure for the Andromeda Strain.

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Robert Wise
© MCMLXX by Universal Pictures
Universal presents a Robert Wise production
Screenplay by: Nelson Gidding
From the novel by: Michael Crichton
Director of Photography: Richard H. Kline
Film Editors: Stuart Gilmore, John W. Holmes
Music: Gil Mellé
Sound: Waldon O. Watson, James Alexander, Ronald Pierce
Costumes: Helen Colvig
Make-Up: Bud Westmore
Hairstylist: Larry Germain
Special Photographic Effects: Douglas Trumbull, James Shourt
Production Designed by: Boris Leven

Cast
Arthur Hill (Dr Jeremy Stone)
David Wayne (Dr Charles Dutton)
James Olson (Dr Mark Hall)
Kate Reid (Dr Ruth Leavitt)
Paula Kelly (Nurse Karen Anson)
George Mitchell (‘Gramps' Jackson)
Ramon Bieri (Major Arthur Manchek)
Peter Hobbs (Major General Thomas C. Sparks)
Kermit Murdock (Dr Robertson)
Richard O'Brien (Grimes)
Eric Christmas (Senator Phillips)
Mark Jenkins (Lieutenant Shawn, Piedmont Team)
Peter Helm (Sergeant Crane, Piedmont Team)
Joe Di Reda (Wildfire Computer Sergeant Burk)
Carl Reindel (Lieutenant Comroe)
Ken Swofford (Toby, a technician)
Frances Reid (Clara Dutton)
Richard Bull (Air Force Major)
John Carter (Military Police Captain Morton)

Alternative Titles

Andromeda – Italian title
Andromeda – Tödlicher Staub aus dem All – German title

See also
The Andromeda Strain (2008)

Production Notes

Release
In the UK, the film's release was publicised by a series of double crown posters on the London underground which started to appear five weeks before the film opened. The posters were soon covered by mysterious “withdrawn until further notice” announcements prompting numerous calls to distributors Rank from curious passengers and press. The ploy was so successful that director Robert Wise himself took a ride on the tube to see them for himself. Subsequent news print ads kept up the pretence that the film contained information too sensitive to be seen by the general public until eventually final quad posters were released announcing the film's actual release. 1Presentation by Sidney Newman in CinemaTV Today no.9920 (6 July 1971) p.8

The campaign was a success. When the film opened in London at the Odeon St. Martin's Lane in July 1971 the queue for admission formed an hour before the first screening was due to begin and its first week's box office took it straight to the top of London's box office chart.

Press

1971

Today's Cinema no.9921 (9 July 1971) p.8
A story that in all its essentials could have been told in half the time if it were not padded out with a great deal of clever sounding scientific chat that was Greek to me. Despite an exciting beginning, the film isn't all that thrilling as an adventure because many of the threats to the safety of the scientists (and the world) are spoken of so matter of factly that they are dealt with almost before we realise they exist. The fascination – and it is fascinating – lies in the opportunity it provides to watch other people at work and to imagine ourselves to be doing it with the same sang-froid and expertise. – from a review by Marjorie Bilbow

References

Periodicals
Boxoffice 5 January 1970 p.14 – note
Metro 28 January 2000 p.25 – illustrated review (by Richard Morrissey)
Monthly Film Bulletin 1971 p.135 – credits, review
Today's Cinema no.9920 (6 July 1971) pp.7; 8 – note (Trade shows); note (Presentation by Sidney Newman)
Today's Cinema no.9921 (9 July 1971) pp.8; 11; 12 – credits, review (by Marjorie Bilbow); trade show information; illustrated note (They went to see why it couldn't be shown)
Video Index no.6 (Summer 1982) pp.19-20 – credits, review

Books
Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction pp.290-291 – credits, review
Danse Macabre by Stephen King p.187 – review
Elliot's Guide to Films on Video p.27 – credits, review
The Encyclopedia of Novels Into Films second edition by John C. Tibbetts and James M. Welsh pp.17-18 – illustrated credits, review
Film Review 1972-1973 by F. Maurice Speed p.211 – credits
Ghastly Beyond Belief pp.173-174 – quotes
Hoffman's Guide to Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.23 – credits, review
Horror and Science Fiction Films: A Checklist by Donald C. Willis p.24 – credits
Horror Films by Alan Frank p.125 – review
Pictorial History of Science Fiction by Jeff Rovin p.193, 210 – review
A Pictorial History of Science Fiction by David Shipman p.121- review
by Walt Lee p.13 – credits
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook by Alan Frank p.13 – illustrated credits, review
Science Fiction Films of the Seventies by Craig W. Anderson pp.28-34 – credits, review
Science Fiction in the Movies: An A-Z by Roy Pickard p.3 – credits, note