BOY, HAVE WE GOT A VACATION FOR YOU…
Some time in the future, two tourists (Richard Benjamin, James Brolin) go to Westworld, a theme park built like a city in the Old West where the gunslingers are played by lifelike robots. After a string of successes, writer Michael Crichton made his directing debut and it has plenty in common with Jurassic Park (1993); the robots are not supposed to malfunction, but of course they do. Watching the characters get in touch with childhood in a bloody way is both amusing and a little eerie, leading up to an exciting finale where the robots get even after years of being shot by tourists. Casting Yul Brynner as the flip side of his Magnificent Seven character is brilliant.
1973-U.S. 88 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Paul Lazarus III. Written and directed by Michael Crichton. Cast: Richard Benjamin (Peter Martin), Yul Brynner (The Gunslinger), James Brolin (John Blane), Norman Bartold, Alan Oppenheimer, Victoria Shaw.
Trivia: Followed by Futureworld (1976) and two TV series, Beyond Westworld (1980) and Westworld (2016-2022).
Last word: “I think I got the idea for Westworld because I was very interested in the astronauts. I was fascinated by the fact they were being trained to be machines. Then I was also fascinated by the animated figures at Disneyland. The two tendencies toward making people as machine like as possible and machines as human as possible are creating a lot of confusion. That’s what suggested Westworld to me. The tendency to make concessions to machines can only grow. Zip codes, for example, are a concession to machines. There are advantages and disadvantages to this tendency. I don’t think that people are strongly threatened by zip codes; it’s inevitable that we accommodate ourselves to the machines we need to support our existence.” (Crichton, MichaelCrichton.com)