12 August 2016

WESTWORLD. (1973) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




WESTWORLD. 1973. WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY MICHAEL CRICHTON. PRODUCED BY PAUL LAZARUS III. MUSIC BY FRED KARLIN.
STARRING YUL BRYNNER, RICHARD BENJAMIN, JAMES BROLIN, DICK VAN PATTEN, LINDA SCOTT AND ANNE RANDALL.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I absolutely love, love, love this science fiction western-thriller with a bit of sex thrown in. It was the brainchild of Michael Crichton, one of those writers you wish you were because of all the great stuff they've penned. In Michael Crichton's case, he can include the following little crackers in his awe-inspiring back catalogue:

THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN- 1969.
CONGO- 1980.
JURASSIC PARK- 1990.
DISCLOSURE- 1994.
THE LOST WORLD- 1995.

See what I mean about being jealous of him...? All of the above books were made into unforgettable films and that's only the half of what he's done. Yeah, this guy was seriously big-time, haha.

Anyway, WESTWORLD is one of my favourite films of all time. It was one of those films which I grew up watching and never forgot, films like PSYCHO, DUEL, PEEPING TOM, FRENZY, VERTIGO, ROPE, REAR WINDOW, THE STEPFORD WIVES, DON'T LOOK NOW and ROSEMARY'S BABY, to name a few. Yes, I was a grim and gruesome young 'un, haha.

Some of these films, PSYCHO in particular, scared me so much that I couldn't watch them again for twenty years. WESTWORLD isn't frightening in the same way that, say, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD would be but, if you've ever had visions of a nightmarish futuristic type of world where robots run amok and kill people, then you'll probably find this film deeply disturbing...

Good mates Peter Martin and John Blane are off on their holliers, as we say here in Ireland. They're off to Delos, a magical resort where you can go back in time to medieval days, Ancient Rome or the Wild West of the 1880s. It costs a whopping thousand buckaroonies a day, but it's totally worth it, as we'll find out in due course. You get to live out all your wildest dreams here. Who wouldn't pay a thousand bucks a day for that?

Peter, brilliantly played by Richard Benjamin, is as excited as hell about it because it's his first time, John outwardly less so because he's been there before. But you can bet your sweet butt he's still pretty darned excited. 

John is played by the incredibly handsome and sexy James Brolin, who's probably best known for his role as the real-life husband of singer/actress Barbra Streisand and the father of actor Josh Brolin. He's sooooo sexy and altogether too-cool-for-school as a hot cowboy.

The resort allows guests to live out their wildest dreams and longest-held fantasies as cowboys, knights of old or Ancient Romans. Their every wish and whim is indulged by highly-sophisticated robots whom they can kill or have sex with or do whatever the hell they want to with, and all without consequence or fear of retribution.

 Each night, the robots are simply hauled back to the repair centre, patched up and sent back out to work again the next day. Bob's your Uncle, so to speak.

The two lads have chosen Westworld as their destination of choice. The scenes where they're getting costumed up in full cowboy gear and being taken to their olde-timey hotel rooms in a hotel on a real Western street with saloons and feed-stores on it always make me grin like an idiot, much like the two lads are doing on-screen. They're having the time of their flippin' lives...!

What man wouldn't want to be a cowboy for a bit, shooting Injuns, robbing the bank, breaking out of jail to avoid the hangman, starting bar brawls and bedding hookers who have nice firm bosoms spilling out over the tops of their low-cut, tightly-corseted dresses?

It's every guy's dream, I would have thought, along with being an astronaut or a lion-tamer. Me, I wouldn't mind being a cowboy's girlfriend. I've always been deeply, deeply attracted to stubbly,
unwashed guys in chaps and ponchos who ride into town chewing on a toothpick before shootin' up the town, giving the bad guys their come-uppance and getting justice for the good guys. Oh, wait a minute. That's Clint Eastwood...! Yes, I've always been deeply, deeply attracted to Clint Eastwood in his cowboy movies, haha.

For a while, anyway, Peter and John have a high old time downing whiskey, bedding robot hookers, brawling in the local saloon- with robot cowboys- and living just like cowboys did back in the good old days. Then things start to go tits-up, as they say in... Well, I don't know where that particular phrase originates from, but it means that things turn bad. Real bad, real quick.

The robots all have some kind of freaky robot-disease, see? They start acting all weird and out of character. Over in Medieval World, a sex-robot (a beautiful girl called Daphne, played by Anne Randall who'd have made a great Hammer Horror beauty!) refuses a guest's sexual advances and then the same guest is stabbed to death by the Black Knight, also a robot. But it's over in Westworld that the real fun is happening...

Peter and John are aggressively pursued by a handsome, super-cool gunslinger dressed all in black and magnificently played by Yul (THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) Brynner. See what I did there...? Oh, never mind. 

Anyway, having 'killed' the same gunslinger twice already since they first arrived in Westworld, Peter and John are not too happy to have him turn up gunning for them on a morning when they've woken up cold and hungover on the floor of the saloon. Typical naughty cowboys, eh...?

John takes on the gunslinger, who shoots him dead. For realsies. The robots have taken over Westworld, or the lunatics the asylum, if you prefer. Peter is shocked, to say the least. He spends the rest of the film being hunted down by the gunslinger, who never gives up no matter what Peter does to him. 

Having acid thrown in his face and being set on fire by a desperate Peter seems to slow him down only momentarily. He just keeps coming. He's like some sort of non-giving-up school-guy, if you know your Simpsons quotes.

Does Peter manage to get the better of the cold-blooded, ruthless robot that is the gunslinger? Let's just say that he's certainly pushed to his limits by the disintegration of Westworld, the dream holiday destination that's a mere snip at a thousand bucks a night. A thousand bucks a night? Crikey. Peter needs to get on to his holiday rep ASA-feckin'- P, if you ask me.

This cracking little sci-fi/horror film, with an absolutely fantastic score by Fred Karlin, always reminds me of THE STEPFORD WIVES and HALLOWEEN 3, the only film in the HALLOWEEN franchise not to feature the white-masked legend that is Michael Myers. Both films feature robots that mostly pass for humans but when they get a glitch in them, well, you'd better watch out!

WESTWORLD spawned a sequel, FUTUREWORLD, which sadly is nowhere near as good as its parent film. What the hey, though, you can't win 'em all. I'd give WESTWORLD the full ten out of ten.

Dick Van Patten is a perfect fit as the banker-turned- Sheriff of Westworld who's probably waited his whole life to feel like such a big man and considers it cheap at the price. And Linda Scott, who plays Arlette the 'French' prostitute in Miss Carrie's bordello, is just drop-dead gorgeous. She's another lady who would have made a wonderful Hammer Horror beauty.

My one regret is that at no time do we get to feast our peepers upon the truly delicious James Brolin's naked butt. That would surely have been sweet. He's really quite, quite fit in this film. He certainly fills out those chaps nicely. And he's got such a handsome face too. He's so photogenic. Lucky, lucky Barbra Streisand...! Still, what was I saying about how you can't win 'em all...? It's a great film. Watch it. Several times. Then watch it again. That is all...

 AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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