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Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

When a satellite crashes in a small New Mexico town, it kills all the inhabitants except two: a baby and an old man (George Mitchell). It seems the satellite picked up some sort of space virus and that virus is responsible for the deaths. How did these two survive? A crackerjack team of scientists (Arthur Hill, David Wayne, Kate Reid, James Olson) in a sterilized underground laboratory race against time in an attempt to analyze the virus so it can be destroyed before it spreads. Based on the best seller by Michael Crichton (JURASSIC PARK), director Robert Wise returns to the science fiction genre where he made one of his best films, DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. While ANDROMEDA STRAIN doesn't attain the iconic status of that film, it's still a thrilling well made piece of sci-fi. Wise goes for a sort of documentary approach to the film's subject matter so it takes awhile in getting set up as the meticulous exposition plays out. He also wisely cast relatively unfamiliar (mostly) theater actors for the central roles rather than big name movie stars thus furthering the realism of the film. While some may find it slow going, I applaud Wise for not turning it into action piece (until the very end anyway). With Paula Kelly, Ken Swofford and Ramon Bieri. 

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