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Jack Hertz

The Andromeda Strain

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The Andromeda Strain is a 1971 American science-fiction film produced and directed by Robert Wise. Based on Michael Crichton's 1969 novel of the same name and adapted by Nelson Gidding, the film stars Arthur Hill, James Olson, Kate Reid, and David Wayne as a team of scientists who investigate a deadly organism of extraterrestrial origin. With a few exceptions, the film follows the book closely. The special effects were designed by Douglas Trumbull. The film is notable for its use of split screen in certain scenes.

Arizona, almost all of the town's inhabitants die instantly. Suspecting that the satellite brought back an alien germ, the military activates an elite scientific team it had previously assembled for just this type of emergency.

Dr. Jeremy Stone, the team leader, and Dr. Mark Hall, the team surgeon, are dropped in Piedmont by helicopter, where they search the town for the project "Scoop" satellite in space-suit-type protective uniforms. In a primitive medical office, they find the town's doctor had opened the satellite out of curiosity. Stone and Hall retrieve the Scoop and find two survivors in the town — a sixty-two-year-old town drunk and a six-month-old infant.

The entire team of four core research scientists, including Dr. Charles Dutton and Dr. Ruth Leavitt, are summoned from their academic and research appointments to arrive at a massive, secret, high-tech underground laboratory in Nevada, named Wildfire, where they undergo a full day of decontamination procedures, descending through several disinfection levels of the lab.

Robert Wise wanted a special electronic music soundtrack to go with the film. Gil Mellé was hired to make something new and different using his own inventions such as the Percussitron and other electronic devices. The soundtrack was released by Kapp Recordsin 1971 as a deluxe 10" LP featuring a silver foil die-cut cover that folds open to expose the Hexagon shaped LP and artwork inside. One of most sought after and expensive soundtracks ever released. The soundtrack is said to be a historic first in electronic soundtracks with all electronic instruments specifically built by composer Gil Melle. It has been reissued by Jackpot Records in 2017 from the Original Stereo Analogue Masters in the original 10" format with facsimile packaging.

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