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Entry updated 9 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

1. Film (1968), based on the novel The Artificial Man (1965) by L P Davies (whom see). This is unrelated to the 1987 film of the same title. [DRL]

2. Film (1987). Amercent Films-American Entertainment Partners/Twentieth Century Fox. Directed by Jonathan Kaplan. Written by Stanley Weiser, based on a story by Weiser, Lawrence Lasker. Cast includes Matthew Broderick, Helen Hunt, Johnny Ray McGhee and Bill Sadler. 103 minutes, cut to 91 minutes. Colour.

A trainee airman (Broderick), in trouble for joyriding, is sent to work in an experimental USAF establishment where chimps are being trained in flying simulators; the sinister premise (gradually uncovered) is that, if successfully taught, they can be used on operations where pilots would be subjected to heavy radiation. Several chimps are deliberately irradiated to death. The young airman, who has bonded with an intelligent chimp that understands sign language, helps foment rebellion, escapes with the chimps, and en passant prevents a nuclear meltdown; of course, the chimps themselves finally save the day – by flying a plane to safety. Wholly absurd, emotionally manipulative and anthropomorphically sentimental, the film is nevertheless very neatly crafted, evoking with real panache, through its jittery, unnerving imagery, all kinds of subtexts that are more intelligent than the plot would suggest. [PN]

see also: Uplift.


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