Ultimate 70s Blogathon: Westworld (1973) by Riley on Film

Hello, friends!

Welcome to week 2 of the Ultimate 70s Blogathon! Starting off the week is Damien from Riley on Film. He also runs the Damien Riley Podcast, where he does 5 min film reviews, and Talking Stars Podcast, which he co-hosts with Darren and have a special guests for all kinds of movie topics. Damien offers a unique perspective on the films he reviews and is always up for having a discussion on a wide variety of movies. Go check him out at his various sites to see for yourself. Now, let’s get to what he is doing here as part of the blogathon. Damien comes to us with his review of the sci-fi thriller West World.

This film was hot in the 70’s. It made a lot of money! With a budget of 1.25 million, it took in well over 10 million. For 1973 that’s what you might call a “cash cow.” It a very 70’s way, it presents a western genre interspersed with a Roman one/ These two genres made blockbusters! Success was eminent.

Westworld movie posterPG | 1h 28min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 8 December 1973 (Italy)
A robot malfunction creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at a futuristic, adult-themed amusement park.
Director: Michael Crichton
Writer: Michael Crichton
Stars: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin

Picture a theme park away from civilization where robotic humanoids are used to meet the needs and grant the fantasies of the guests. It’s a little like Jurassic World and that makes sense because it was written and directed by Michael Crichton who wrote Jurassic Park. He is toying with the idea of human order and control over the drives of sophisticated robots the same way he toys with a similar idea in the Jurassic Park franchise.

The hapless guests try to have fun. Josh Brolin and a buffoon-like Dick Van Patten are two memorable actors here. There is a medieval world as well I almost forgot. They have their fun sleeping around and abusing the robots for their $1,000 a day. When things start to go wrong and the robots start killing, it feels like the end of civilization. We’ve seen artificial intelligence malfunction in many movies since Westworld but the way it’s done here is crisp and elegant. For me, it’s like watching a grand scale Twilight zone.

I have seen this film 3 or 4 times and it’s like new every time. I feel it represents the look and feel of  many seventies films very well and that’s why I picked it. As a personal favorite, I give it a 10/10.

If you’ve missed any of the entries, you can find a list of them all here.