Closing Credits: Michael Crichton
The author Michael Crichton has passed away aged sixty-six after a long battle with cancer.
Crichton is most famous for being a world best selling author, but many of his novels have made it to the big screen, with severe variance in success, yet his novels were his real talent.
Looking to Michael Crichton's film career, since this is a film site, I have to say that his adaptations have had a varied success, but a couple have really hit the box office well. Here's his film writing career:
1971 - The Andromeda Strain - novelist
1972 - Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues - novelist
The Carey Treatment - novelist
1973 - Extreme Close-Up - screenwriter
Westworld – director and screenwriter
1974 - The Terminal Man novelist
1978 – Coma – director and screenwriter
1979 - The First Great Train Robbery – director, novelist and screenwriter
1981 – Looker - director and screenwriter
1984 – Runaway – director and screenwriter
1993 – Jurassic Park – novelist and screenwriter
Rising Sun - novelist
1994 – Disclosure - novelist
1995 – Congo - novelist
1996 – Twister – screenwriter
1997 – The Lost World: Jurassic Park – novelist
1998 – Sphere - novelist
1999 – The 13th Warrior – reshoot director and novelist writer
2001 – Jurassic Park III – original novelist and original screenwriter
2003 – Timeline - novelist
2009 – Westworld - original screenwriter
2010 – Jurassic Park IV – original novelist and original screenwriter
There are some good films in there such as The Andromeda Strain, Westworld, Coma, The First Great Train Robbery, Jurassic Park, Rising Sun, Disclosure and Twister, and there are some not so good ones, and a few duds.
However he was responsible for Westworld which remains one of my favourite Yul Brynner films, and Jurassic Park which was a landmark event in cinema. However both those films, the Jurassic Park sequels, and now the Westworld remake have soured the experience for me, for they are without a doubt the same story.
Man creates a theme park with man-made creatures for visitors amusement and to make money. Man is essentially playing god in this environment, and it's not long before things go wrong and the attractions turn on man to exact the moralistic revenge. Innocents are caught up in the middle and fight back.
That's all six stories right there.
However there are other good films there, and while Hollywood may not have been kind to his adaptations, they have delivered some good films across a range of genres.
For me the big surprise came many years after watching Westworld and realising that he had written and directed the film, as well as Coma and The First Great Train Robbery. However his love, it was clear, remained in writing and he never had the chance of directing a big Hollywood feature after those.
However his novels were adapted to film time and time again after that point and by a string of well known directors and featuring some very well known and top lining actors.
It was strange to think that at the beginning of his career he wrote and directed such films as Westworld, Coma and The First Great Train Robbery before becoming the novelist that he is now known for, more often you would see that happening the other way around. Not only that but for those three films to be so renowned is an achievement in itself.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.