1971 ... "The Andromeda Strain"

... "The Andromeda Strain" is a great movie that still holds up as a sci-fi techno thriller 43 years after it's release. Directed by Robert Wise ('The Day the Earth Stood Still') this classic is the original story of averting a doomsday from an alien virus. The camera work and sound-track are first rate. Most of the action takes place in a deeply buried bio-lab bunker. The climax comes when the bug gets loose, triggering an automatic nuclear self-destruct protocol. Realizing that instead of destroying the contagion the fission blast will only nourish it (yeh, well sci-fi) there is a nail biting race to disarm the self-destruct. Only one of the visiting VIP scientists has the key to halt the countdown. The explanation reads like a Strategic Air Command reliability study:

"Hall and Leavitt enter a conference room where Stone and Burton are already present. Stone explains that at the lowest level of the lab is a nuclear device. This is just in case that all five levels of the facility become contaminated. Stone has made it ready for detonation with his key, and his key cannot be removed. When detonation is ordered, there is a five-minute period during which it can be called off but only if Hall uses his key. No one else can do so. Hall is given this crucial role, Stone explains, because of the Odd Man Theory. He hands Hall the missing page from the Scoop file that explains the theory. Research showed that single men made more reliable and correct decisions than married men. Therefore the final decision on whether to detonate the atomic weapon rests with Hall, who is single."

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