Between 2001 a Space Odyssey (1968) and Star Wars (1977) Science Fiction Cinema made incredible advancements in both the quality and quantity of special effects. The studios discovered they could get a return on their investments and were willing to gamble on Science Fiction films. The Andromeda Strain (1971) was a best-selling novel by Michael Crichton and it is a good example of just how much Science Fiction had improved since the ‘Golden Age’ of Science Fiction movies in the 1950’s. It had a healthy budget for 1971 ($6.5 million) and a top notch director in Robert Wise. Robert Wise won the Academy Awards for Best Director of the Sound of Music (1965) and West Side Story (1961), he directed Paul Newman in Somebody Up There Like’s Me (1956), Steve McQueen in the Sand Pebbles (1966) and Susan Hayworth in her Oscar winning performance in I Want to Live (1958). Robert Wise was no stranger to Science Fiction. He directed The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) which is widely regarded as one of the best Science Fiction movies ever made.
Andromeda Strain is not a ‘Special Effects’ movie per se but the special effects were state of the art for 1970. Motion control camera technology was advanced as were early forms of computer aided animation. With an experienced director, an adequate budget, and effective special effects, the Andromeda Strain is a slick professionally produced movie with a plausible realistic plot and seamless unobtrusive special effects. It is a perfect example of how far Science Fiction Cinema had come in a very short period of time. Come join us for a showing of the Andromeda Strain Sunday June 12 at 2:00 at the Rogers Public Library. Admission and refreshments are free.