The Andromeda Strain (1971) – 10 Behind the Scenes Facts

The Andromeda Strain (1971) – 10 Behind the Scenes Facts


[intense pulsing music] The sci-fi thriller The Andromeda Strain was based on Michael Crichton’s book that was published in 1969 when the author was only 27 years old. And one year later, Universal purchased the
rights to make it into a movie, which would be the first of 11 movies made from Crichton’s novels. A big thanks to MiKeSHaTtEr for the movie suggestion, and without further ado here’s 10 fun facts about the making of The Andromeda Strain. Universal Pictures hired Robert Wise to direct the movie because he had created some of the biggest films of the past century such as: The Sound of Music, West Side Story, and also the sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still. Not only was Wise a noteworthy director and
producer, but he was an editor on 18 movies, one of which was Citizen Kane that is often cited as the “greatest movie of all time”. Screenwriter Nelson Gidding was hired to write
the script and he did a lot of research by reading many sci-fi novels. He also wanted to research the bibliography
in the back of Crichton’s book. He tried to look up each of the sources and
came to find out they were all made up, which makes sense because The Andromeda Strain is
a work of fiction after all. So Gidding took the lesson to heart and began
making up all the tech jargon he needed to use for the screenplay on his own. Dr. Leavitt was originally a male character
in the book, but Nelson Gidding wanted one of the movie characters to be a woman. Robert Wise was reluctant about it at first
though because he wanted to make sure that they were being faithful to the book’s characters. But he eventually let Gidding do it because
he realized that, of all the costs for the movie, paper was one of the cheapest, so he
thought they might as well give it a try. The filmmakers invited Michael Crichton to the Andromeda set so they could ask him if their designs were what he envisioned in the book, and he came to find out there was a lot about the book he hadn’t pre-visualized before because he wasn’t able to answer many of their questions. While visiting the set Michael Crichton was
also invited to take a tour of Universal Studios, and his tour guide was none other than Steven Spielberg who he would collaborate with 20 years later to make Jurassic Park. Of all the Michael Crichton novels that were
made into movies, Andromeda is the only one where the author made an appearance. You can find him sitting down in the background during the scene when Mark’s surgery is interrupted. [intense pounding music playing] Jurassic Park was Michael Crichton’s most
successful movie-adapted novel. Click the YouTube card on the screen if you
want to see my fun facts video about it. Unlike Jurassic Park though the Andromeda Strain was made two decades before the use of CGI, so Andromeda’s visual and special
effects had to be made without using computers. One of the effects that was created without
computers was the 3D diagram of the facility. To make the effect they projected a colorized image of each floor onto a white piece of cardboard, and while the camera was rolling
they slowly raised the projection to create a transparent exposure. They then repeated the process for all the
other images and layered them on top of each other to produce the final image for the effect. The filmmakers had a complicated task to film
a real monkey dying inside the glass box without actually killing it. They reached out to some scientists at the
University of Southern California to find a solution, and they ended up putting a candle
inside the monkey’s box and filled it with carbon monoxide until the candle’s flame went out. Then they dropped the monkey inside the box
to film him squirming for lack of oxygen, and when he passed out, they had a vet with a gas mask swoop in immediately to wake the monkey up. They did all of this under the supervision
of an animal rights representative, but even still, because of the danger involved they were only allowed to do it once. The model of the facility’s core was made
of stainless steel and was about five stories high and the production designers had to break up the soundstage’s concrete floor so it could be built to fit inside the building. There are five different levels in the facility
and each was painted in a different way, but in reality there was only one hallway tunnel used for filming that was painted five times to look like each level of the building. If there’s a movie you’d like to learn
about next, please leave a comment below. And if you’re new to the channel don’t
forget to subscribe to learn more fun facts about your favorite films.

13 comments on “The Andromeda Strain (1971) – 10 Behind the Scenes Facts

  1. BandfromtheBand Post author

    THAT PROJECTION was made by no other than Douglas Trumbull and is often SLATED TO BE the first computer-generated scene ever filmed, however, whoever provided this video thinks otherwise.

    Reply
  2. Remousamavi Post author

    Does anyone know what the names of the alarms were near the end? Like I know the first one could just be called a "ringing bell" alarm but what kind is that low-pitched?

    Reply
  3. Geils Sila Post author

    I first saw it on TV on NBC in 71: And I know the real reason why Prof. Levett was turned into a female–its a an obscure Hollywood tradition of putting at lease one female or 2, in a film like The A-Strain so that audiences wouldn't think the rest of the male cast was gay

    Reply
  4. Raycheetah Post author

    Second creepiest film of my childhood (after Night of the Living dead). My family was on vacation in Puerto Rico when we saw The Andromeda Strain, in a very swanky theater, with Spanish subtitles! =^[.]^=

    Reply

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