Westworld (1973)

USA,
88m
35mm film, filmed in Panavision (anamorphic), Metrocolor, 2.35:1
stereo, English
Reviewed at The

An American fiction film directed by Michael Crichton.

The theme park of Delos offers visitors three main attractions, all staffed by lifelike who help them to live out their fantasies – Romanworld, Medievalworld and Westworld. But while Peter Martin and John Blane are visiting Westworld, the robots malfunction and go on the rampage, killing everyone they find.

Crew
Directed by: Michael Crichton
© MCMLXXIII by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents
Produced by: Paul Lazarus III
Associate Producer: Michael I. Rachmil
Unit Production Manager: Claude Binyon Jr
Written by: Michael Crichton
Assistant Director: Claude Binyon Jr
2nd Assistant Director: James Boyle
Director of Photography: Gene Polito
Camera Operator: Joseph August
Film Editor: David Bretherton
Music: Fred Karlin
Sound: Richard Church, Harry W. Tetrick
Wardrobe Supervisor: Richard Bruno
Women's Wardrobe: Betsy Cox
Make-Up: Frank Griffin, Irving Pringle
Hairdresser: Dione Taylor
Special Effects: Charles Schulthies
Visual Effects Co-ordinator: Brent Sellstrom
Automated Image Processing by: Information International, Inc. and John Whitney Jr
Art Director: Herman Blumenthal
Set Decoration: John Austin
Property Master: Arthur Friedrich
Locations: Roman World sequences filmed at Harold Lloyd Estate, Beverly Hills, California, USA; Red Rock Canyon, California, USA
Action Scenes Coordinated by: Dick Ziker
Casting: Leonard Murphy Yul Brynner (robot gunslinger)

Cast
Richard Benjamin (Peter Martin)
James Brolin (John Blane)
Norman Bartold (medieval knight)
Alan Oppenheimer (chief supervisor)
Victoria Shaw (medieval queen)
Dick Van Patten (banker)
Linda Scott (Arlette)
Steve Franken (technician in desert)
Michael Mikler (black knight)
Terry Wilson (sheriff)
Majel Barrett (Miss Carrie)
Anne Randall (Daphne)
Julie Marcus (girl in dungeon)
Sharyn Wynters (Apache girl)
Anne Bellamy (middle aged woman)
Chris Holter (stewardess)
Charles Seel (bellhop)
Wade Crosby (bartender)
Nora Marlowe (hostess)
Lin Henson (ticket girl)
Orville Sherman, Lindsay Workman, Lauren Gilbert, Davis Roberts, Howard Platt (supervisors)
Richard Roat, Kenneth Washington, Jared Martin, Robert Patten, David Frank, Kip King, David Man, Larry Delaney (technicians)
Will J. White, Ben Young, Tom Falk (workmen)

Alternative Titles

Almas de metal – Spain
Il mondo dei robot– Italy
Mondwest – France
O Mundo do Oeste -Portugal
Oestelandia – Venezuela
Olum Ha-Ma'arav – Israel
Tappokone – Finland
Westworld – Onde Ninguém Tem Alma – Brazil

Links

Sequels
Futureworld (1976)
Beyond Westworld (1980)
Westworld (2016-2022)

Extracts included in
AFI's 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains (2003)
The Android Prophecy (2001)
On Location with Westworld (1973)

See also
SexWorld (1978)

Press

1974
Focus on Film no.17 (Spring 1974) pp.4-5
Westworld‘s affinities are with horror films, although it opens intriguingly with a cool exploration of character closely related to written sf. […] The flashing lights and TV monitors of 2001 give way to the fizzing circuits and heavy comedy á la Forbidden Planet, until the climax confronts us with situations that were old when Frankenstein was made. Man's mechanical creation runs wild, pursues the lone victim with clumping steps, gropes pathetically for a flame that is almost symbolically the light of reason, only to perish by in the monster's traditional fate. Unerringly Crichton finds his way back to the sf film's antecedents in the horror fantasies of German Expressionism. The Golem meets Billy the Kid. Most of Westworld is a chase thriller, effective but routine in planning and execution. Crichton is no Siegel, though he may yet be a John Sturges. Where he excels is in the depiction of the resort's technological infrastructure, unseen by the guests even when silent teams creep out into the midnight streets to gather up the day's litter of corpses and slide them underground to be repaired for tomorrow. – John Baxter

CinemaTV Today no.10072 (2 March 1974) p.22
A nicely topical twist on the neo-classic theme of super robots turning on their masters; a sardonic twist, well within the bounds of foreseeable probabilities if we measure our increasing reliance on technological wizardry against the trend towards dressing up in period costumes for brief escapes into a simpler past. As an unusual adventure, the film is exciting and good fun. It is also an allegorical warning against handing over control of our lives to the machines; as such it stirs an emotional response. The film begins very well indeed and promises to develop into a witty, satirical comment on the bloodlust lurking in the mildest of men. This early promise is not wholly fulfilled; as the mood becomes more solemn the plot becomes less inventive and the irony is submerged beneath the sock it to 'em shocks of a run-of-the-mill horror movie. But it is entertaining and will be enjoyed.

Films and Filming vol.20 no.8 (May 1974) p.45
The strength of Westworld at its best is that it avoids being over portentous and treads a sensitive path between humour and menace. Against the increasing realism of the slaughtering of robots is juxtaposed one of the engineers behind the controls of the world of wish fulfilment, delighted to find that scrambled eggs are available. The robots we see being repaired are simultaneously comic and repulsive. In the climatic scenes, however, the art direction is not sufficiently inventive: long corridors, dials, knobs and repeating lights have all been used ad nauseum. Nevertheless, the fundamental weakness is in Crichton's script which fails to develop and does not resolve itself. Because of the weak and abrupt ending, the overall impact of the film is seriously weakened. – Margaret Tarratt

Views and Reviews vol.5 no.4 (Summer 1974) pp.40-41
This is a mole-hill of a film that may be interpreted into a mountain by clinging to it long enough, but it glances, strangely enough, back toward the past rather than to some sci-fi maudlin roboty future. In it Brynner holds the position of an archetype, a figure of Man, not simply an American life-force rigged out in cowboy suit to whoop in our faces what we no longer are, or have to sustain us, “to get us through”, but one of the ancient heroes of the earth, the fierce original men, the anthropophagi, exiled of necessity to an island we may think about, but can never visit. The analogies behind to rise to a flood in which even the Golem would go under. They're not important. What was important, for me, was seeing Benjamin's face as he progressively “killed” something he had killed in himself, or the world had killed for him, long ago, first with acid and then with fire, seeing the thing sprawled face down on the ground and dead, get up to one elbow for the final draw – Martin Shea

2008
Empire no.232 (October 2008) p.175
[A]t once a tart satire on the leisure industry where jaded executives live out cowboy fantasies by gunning down robots, and a lean, mean action movie […] Freezer-sized aside, Westworld hasn't dated […] Westworld is enduringly great, an action movie with a brain – Kim Newman

References

Periodicals

  • 3D World no.265 (2020) pp.32-39 – illustrated article (Real world revolt by Trevor Hogg)
  • American Cinematographer vol.54 no.11 (November 1973) pp.1394-1397, 1420-1421, 1436-1437; 1437-1438, 1474-1477; 1477-1480 – illustrated interview with Michael Crichton (Behind the scenes of Westworld); illustrated article (Westworld: A state of mind? by Gene Polito); illustrated article (Creating the special effects of Westworld by John Whitney Jr)
  • Animation Magazine vol.34 no. 3 (no.298) (March 2020) p.6 – illustrated note (March planner)
  • Cinefantastique vol.3 no.2 (Spring 1974) p.35 – interview with Michael Crichton (Westworld by Stuart Kaminsky)
  • CinemaTV Today no.10072 (2 March 1974) p.22 – review
  • Empire no.232 (October 2008) p.175 – illustrated DVD review (At home/DVD reissues: Westworld/Logan's Run by Kim Newman)
  • Films and Filming vol.20 no.8 (May 1974) p.45 – review (by Margaret Tarratt)
  • Focus on Film no.17 (Spring 1974) pp.4-6 – review (by John Baxter)
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.225 no.22 (9 March 1973) pp.3, 10 – credits
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.228 no.7 (18 September 1973) pp.3, 10 – review
  • Jump Cut no.7 (May/July 1975) pp.12-13 – article (Westworld: Fantasy and exploitation by by Gerald Mead and Sam Applebaum)
  • The Listener vol.121 no.3097 (19 January 1989) p.59 – illustrated article (Films on TV: Planetary influences by Richard Combs)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.41 no.482 (March 1974) p.56 (UK) – credits, synopsis, review
  • Radio Times 14-20 December 1985 p.26; 52 – review (by Geoff Brown); credits, synopsis
  • Take One vol.3 no.11 (May/June 1972) p.31 (Canada) – review
  • Total Film no.75 (April 2003) pp.76-77 – illustrated interview with Bob Black (Extra! extra! by Kevin Murphy)
  • Variety 15 August 1973 p.12 (USA) – credits, review (by Murf)
  • Views and Reviews vol.5 no.4 (Summer 1974) pp.40-41 – illustrated review (by Martin Shea)

Books

  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.316
  • BFI Screen Guides: 100 Science Fiction Films by Barry Keith Grant pp.197-198
  • Film Review 1974-75 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.212
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.428
  • Horror Films of the 1970s by John Kenneth Muir pp.240-244  – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.534 – credits
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.516-518
  • Science Fiction Films of the Seventies by Craig W. Anderson pp.56-61
  • Variety Science-Fiction Movies by Julian Brown (ed.) p.125-126  – illustrated credits, review
  • The World of Fantasy Films by Richard Myers p.102-3