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The Andromeda Strain
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Length:2 Hours 11 Minutes
Cast:Robert Wise, Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson

Based on the novel by best-selling science-fiction alarmist Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain (1971) combines nuclear fears with space-age technophobia and early-'70s paranoia. Though the action occasionally flags, director Robert Wise documents a diverse group of scientists' efforts to identify a mysterious killer organism and vanquish it with clinical precision, making the most of split-screen editing to show the complexity of the work and ratchet up the suspense. Mostly shot on an elaborate set with a cast of unknowns, The Andromeda Strain also showcases the power and allure of technology, reaching a visually trippy climax as a young doctor scales the core of the multi-level, underground "Wildfire" lab and dodges lasers to avert a nuclear holocaust. One of the period's many dire cautionary tales about the perils of overreaching and the potential nefarious motives of the government, The Andromeda Strain still earned attention for its sleek look, garnering Oscar nominations for art direction and editing. Lucia Bozzola

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