When virtually all of the residents of Piedmont, New Mexico, are found dead after the return to Earth of a space satellite, the head of the US Air Force's Project Scoop declares an emergency. Many years prior to this incident, a group of eminent scientists led by Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill) advocated for the construction of a secure laboratory facility that would serve as a base in the event an alien biological life form was returned to Earth from a space mission. Stone and his team - Drs. Dutton, Leavitt and Hall (David Wayne, Kate Reid, and James Olson, respectively)- go to the facility, known as Wildfire, and try to first isolate the life form while determining why two people from Piedmont (an old wino and a six-month-old baby) survived. The scientists methodically study the alien life form unaware that it has already mutated and presents a far greater danger in the lab, which is equipped with a nuclear self-destruct device should it manage to escape.Written by
Screenwriter Nelson Gidding broached the idea to director Robert Wise that one of the four scientists should be a woman. Wise initially envisioned female character being something like Raquel Welch in "Fantastic Voyage (1966)" and objected strenuously to the change. However, after Gidding described in detail the character eventually played by Kate Reid, and after Wise conferred with actual scientists, he became convinced that it was a positive addition to the story. See more »
When they first subject the lab animals to the virus, on the right hand side of the screen in the reflection of the metal walls you can see the crew rushing towards the monkey cage to revive him right before they cut back to the shot of the scientists. See more »
I have always been attracted by science, since my early childhood. I remember seeing this movie and being fascinated by the science and technology on display in it. Today, as a MSC EE, I can see that the science in "Andromeda Strain" is accurate. In fact, it's the most accurate of all Sci-Fi movies I have ever seen (and I have seen the great majority of Sci-Fi cinema).
That's one reason I love this movie.
But there are other, probably subjective reasosn for my adulation of "Andromeda Strain": believable people and believable situations (no "last microsecond decision/action/occurance", no over-the-top behaviour, just human quirkyness, no one-man-does-it-all but teamwork and birth of ideas) and the avoidance of the cliche of only-1-will-survive. So, yes, I liked the script a lot.
I also thought the actors were good and the setting was brilliant. I am not put off by dated computer technology: the film clearly illustrates the computing capabilities at the beginning of the '70, and I find something educative and strangely reassuring in that.
I give it 10/10, and am sad that nobody produced a Sci-Fi as scientificly accurate ever since.
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