Welcome to Blood City (1977)

UK, Canada (“a Canada-United Kingdom co-production film”), 1977
96m, 8656 feet/2638 metres
35mm film, “filmed in Panavision”, colour, 1.37:1
mono, English

A British/Canadian science fiction film directed by Peter Sasdy.

Plot Summary

A group of people wake in what appears to be a Wild West town with no memory of who they are or how they got there. They appear to be slaves and the inhabitants of the town are killing each other in the streets…

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Peter Sasdy
An EMI/Len Herberman production. A Stanley Chase presentation. This film has been produced in Canada with the co-operation of Famous Players Film Company
Producer: Marilyn Stonehouse
Screenplay by: Stephen Schneck and Michael Winder
Director of Photography: Reginald H. Morris
Editor: Keith Palmer
Music Composed and Conducted by: Roy Budd
Sound Mixer: Ron Barron
Costume Designer: Webb Catherwood
Makeup Artists: Richard Mills, Katherine Southern
Hair Stylists: Ann McFadyen, James Keeler
Production Designer: Jack McAdam

Cast
Jack Palance (Friedlander)
Keir Dullea (Lewis)
Samantha Eggar (Catherine)
Hollis McLaren (Martine)
Chris Wiggins (Gellor)
Barry Morse (supervisor)
Allan Royale (Peter)
Henry Ramer (Chumley)
Ken James (Flint)
John Evans (Lyle)
Larry Reynolds (Bates)
Gary Reineke (Harry)
Jack Creley (Webb)
Chuck Shamata (Ricardo)

Alternative Titles

Blood City – US video title
Willkommen in der blutigen Stadt – German title

See also
Westworld (1973)

Press

1977
The Evening News 20 October 1977
“Now I know what was lacking at the officers’ selection course where I did so disastrously in the war. There wasn’t the incentive of girls like Samantha Eggar and Hollis McLaren. […] Keir [Dullea] doesn’t know (and nor do we for a while) that everything is being observed by video scanners. But even that isn’t devious enough for director Peter Sasdy and his scriptwriters. There’s no Blood City at all. It’s all in the mind. So there’s no need, after all, to be repelled by all that gratuitous violence and bloodshed.” – from a review (Keeping an eye on the killer) by Felix Barker

The Guardian 20 October 1977
“[It’s] difficult to pin down, being a kind of science fiction horror story from Peter “Taste the Blood of Dracula” Sasdy that looks fairly good but tastes awful. My main difficulty was that I simply couldn’t follow the plot. But I am notoriously dumb in this direction and can less easily forgive its general unpleasantness.” – from a review by Derek Malcolm

Daily Mail 21 October 1977
“Interesting, if incomprehensible (until the end) S-F movie, directed by Peter Sasdy who brought a touch of style to some Hammer horrors. Keir Dullea, Samantha Eggar, Jack Pallance confronting each other in a dubious computerised future set in a Western location.” – from a review by Margaret Hinxman

Daily Mirror 21 October 1977
Welcome to Blood City […] is a science fiction fantasy in which all the characters are controlled by computers operated by scientists researching the ability of the individual to survive a totalitarian system. Jack Palance, Keir Dullea, Samantha Eggar and appealing newcomer Hollis McLaren flit in and out delivering the confusing messages. Robots may enjoy the nonsense.” – from a review (Science slaves) by Arthur Thirkell

The Financial Times 21 October 1977
“If Equus seems foolish, Welcome to Blood City […] seems positively stupid. Shot in Toronto, this is the first Anglo-Canadian co-operation following a ” film treaty ” between the two countries, and one can only hope that both sides don’t declare war as a result. […] [T]he drama is all computer-programmed and no one has taken much care to make the game seem remotely real. Jack Palance provides an unnervingly subdued sheriff, but most of the time the actors follow the script’s lead and cut nothing more than cardboard figures. The dialogue is particularly impoverished: in the control rooms it’s all computer jargon, in Blood City it’s all Western cliches piled on top of each other (“A girl like this in a town like this causes an awful lot of trouble for a man like me!”) – which should have provided a great deal more fun than it does. One might be able to pardon the tedious game-playing if there was a particular goal ahead, but the film’s message remains inchoate throughout.” – from a review by Geoff Brown

New Statesman 21 October 1977
“[A]n unaccountable and nasty SF western, says my bit for me: ‘The subject must have a helluva resistance to pseudo-realities.'” – from a review by John Coleman

The Times 21 October 1977
“The attraction of the film (apart from good performances by two actors who seem lately to have slipped from view in the American cinema, Jack Palance and Keir Dullea) is the ingenuity with which the slight conceit is varied and sustained and the alarming real-life implications that creep up on you only after the film is ended.” – from a review by David Robinson

The Sunday Telegraph 23 October 1977
“[A]n enterprising piece by Peter Sasdy […] A Western, you say? Not so. For all this is a mechanical illusion prepared by an organisation which is trying to find a new killmaster to stir up more of the world’s troubles. Some chilling touches but it becomes too confusing a narrative.” – from a review by Tom Hutchinson

The Sunday Times 23 October 1977
“[It] would be even more chilling if the people did not still carry on like robots.” – from a review by by Alan Brier

References

Periodicals
Film Review 1978-1979 by F. Maurice Speed p.165
Films and Filming vol.23 no.12 (September 1977) pp.36-37 – illustrated preview
Films Illustrated vol.7 no.75 (November 1977) p.84 – review
The Hollywood Reporter vol.241 no.44 (11 June 1976) p.10 – credits
Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.426
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.44 no.526 (November 1977) p.245 – credits, synopsis, review
Screen International no.47 (31 July 1976) p.6 – credits
Screen International no.49 (14 August 1976) p.6 – note
Screen International no.106 (24 September 1977) pp.13, 24 – review
Variety 26 October 1977 p.20 – credits, review
Video Watchdog no.26 p.7 – review

Newspapers
The Daily Mail 21 October 1977 – review (by Margaret Hinxman)
The Daily Mirror 21 October 1977 – review (Science slaves by Arthur Thirkell)
The Evening News 20 October 1977 – review (Keeping an eye on the killer by Felix Barker)
The Financial Times 21 October 1977 – review (by Geoff Brown)
The Guardian 20 October 1977 – review (by Derek Malcolm)
New Statesman 21 October 1977 – review (by John Coleman)
The Sunday Telegraph 23 October 1977 – review (by Tom Hutchinson)
The Sunday Times 23 October 1977 – review (by Alan Brier)
The Times 21 October 1977 – review (by David Robinson)

Books
Variety Science-Fiction Movies by Julian Brown (ed.) p.125 – credits, review