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Literary Film Review: Michael Crichton’s Westworld

This month’s classic film review is an analysis of the 1973 film Westworld, a notable first in movie history

Michael Crichton published his most influential early novel, The Andromeda Strain, in 1969 while he was still in his twenties. Pleasingly, when the novel was adapted into a film two years later, Crichton was given a tour of the set by a young Steven Spielberg, who was on his first day at work as a film director. (Spielberg, of course, would later direct the film adaptation of Crichton’s Jurassic Park.)

But as well as being a writer of popular novels which lent themselves readily to film adaptation, Crichton was himself a director – most famously of Westworld, the 1973 film about an amusement park that is a re-creation of the Wild West of the 1880s. Westworld has a notable claim to fame: it was the first film to use CGI (or, more properly, digital image processing), which would become so crucial to later film adaptations of Crichton’s novels, such as Jurassic Park – another Crichton narrative about a theme park gone wrong. Read the rest of this entry

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Five Fascinating Facts about Michael Crichton

The life of Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton, told through five interesting pieces of trivia

1. While studying English at university, he caught out one of his professors. The precocious Crichton (1942-2008 – real first name John) began his writing career helping his classmates to write their school assignments. Later, while studying English at Harvard College, Crichton believed that one of his professors was unfairly marking down his work, and so the disgruntled Crichton devised an experiment: he plagiarized an essay by George Orwell, submitting it as one of his own assignments. Read the rest of this entry