Nat, Cody, and Robert take time off from our beach reading to bring you a special bonus episode focusing on three films directed by Michael Crichton from the 1970s; Pursuit, Coma, and The Great Train Robbery. Crichton wrote the source material for two of the films and adapted the screenplay for another, so they clearly bear his mark.
Pursuit (1972) was a made for television movie based on a novel by Michael Crichton under his pseudonym of John Lange. Ben Gazzara portrays a government agent in pursuit of a rich, right-wing nutjob portrayed by E. G. Marshall who plans to unleash a nerve gas attack on the 1971 Republican convention in San Diego. Everyone has to start somewhere, and this was Michael Crichton’s start as a director.
By 1978, Michael Crichton had won his spurs as a director with success under his belt with Westworld. Which brings us to his adaptation of Robin Cook’s Coma.
Coma was a big hit for Michael Crichton. He worked with big stars, on material that was familiar to him, and crafted a 70s paranoid conspiracy thriller with at least one stand out visual setpiece that still lingers in the memory. Certainly there’s more to talk about.
Finally, we divert from Michael Crichton’s interest in medicine and science fiction, to a dive into history with a classic heist film in The Great Train Robbery. With Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland, in front of the camera is well under control. And Michael Crichton keeps the verbal wordplay playful, populates the screen with lots of period detail, and the plot keeps on finding new complications and challenges. We have a lot to say about that.
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PURSUIT Discussion: 0:00 to 41:23
COMA Discussion 41:23 to 1:07:09
THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY Discussion 1:07:09 to End
Later this month, we take on Brian DePalma and his big budget MISSION TO MARS. We hope you’ll join us.