Andromeda: Deadly Dust from Space (1971)

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German title Andromeda - Deadly dust from space
Original title The Andromeda Strain
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1971
length 131 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Robert Wise
script Nelson Gidding
production Robert Wise
music Gil Mellé
camera Richard H. Kline
cut Stuart Gilmore
John W. Holmes

Andromeda - Deadly Dust from Outer Space is a science fiction film based on the novel Andromeda by Michael Crichton .


A military spacecraft crashes in New Mexico . An unknown and fast-acting phenomenon kills all residents of the nearest town Piedmont, the only survivors being an alcoholic and an infant. The soldiers who are tasked with recovering the probe also die within seconds and allow their blood to clot completely.

A team of scientists is now supposed to try to clarify the threat and develop countermeasures on behalf of the government. For this purpose, four top researchers from different disciplines are brought to Nevada under the highest security precautions to an underground laboratory called "Steppenbrand" (in the original "Wildfire"), which was set up for possible biological threats from the space program. Going through five levels of increasing quarantine levels and security procedures, with which the highest possible sterility of new employees is to be guaranteed, takes almost a day before the research work can begin.

Meanwhile, the decision to contain the disease through nuclear incineration is being postponed by the President of the United States for 24 to 48 hours. The following day, a military plane crashes over New Mexico after all of the Polycront parts (a plastic with rubber-like properties) on board have dissolved. When examining the wreckage, a connection with the events in Piedmont is soon suspected. The laboratory team is not informed of these events because an undiscovered technical defect prevents the acoustic signal that should be triggered when messages arrive from the outside world. The scientists later found out about it by chance and vehemently demand that the atomic bomb be dropped because of the risk of the disease spreading.

In lengthy investigations, the scientists finally discover the cause of the deaths and name them “Andromeda”. It is a unicellular organism with a crystalline structure that is infectious when inhaled and can utilize any form of energy. According to this knowledge, it is still just possible to avert the previously decided dropping of the atomic bomb over the affected region and thus prevent the uncontrolled spread of Andromeda. While simulating this scenario, the researchers discover that Andromeda did not get into the probe by accident, but was the result of a targeted search for extraterrestrial organisms in order to acquire weapons for biological warfare .

The doctor of the research team discovers how Andromeda works and finds out that an organism cannot do anything if the pH value of its blood is too far in the acidic or too far in the alkaline range - which is also the survival of the old, alcoholic man and the mostly crying infant explained. At the same time it turns out that Andromeda has mutated in the meantime and is gradually decomposing the seals of the laboratory, which are made of polycron, as it did in the plane crash. The mutation makes Andromeda harmless to humans, but the contamination of the facility is registered by the central computer, which then initiates the self-destruction sequence using a nuclear explosive device located in the foundation of the laboratory facility - ten seconds before the end, the team's doctor manages the emergency shutdown. The Andromeda organisms still in the atmosphere drift from New Mexico to the Pacific and are washed into the ocean by artificially generated rain , where they are neutralized by the alkaline seawater.


  • The film takes on the original title of the novel The Andromeda Strain (The Andromeda strain; the word strain stands for bacterial strain and strain) and thus explains a little more of the plot before the plot gets to this point. The German film title maintains the tension for the viewer up to the corresponding scene in the laboratory.
  • The special effects come from Douglas Trumbull , known for his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey and later Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blade Runner . The representation of the organism alone cost $ 250,000.
  • In the hospital scene where Dr. Mark Hall is appointed to the company "Steppenbrand", Michael Crichton has a cameo as a surgeon.
  • Due to the moon landing that had taken place shortly before , the novel and the film triggered increased attention and sensitivity to the topic.
  • The unspecified high-performance computer, with which calculations and simulations are carried out in the film, shows Error 601 as a result of the determination of the growth rate of the organism, in order to indicate an overload. In fact, the rendezvous computer of the lunar landing module displayed error message 1202 (i.e. exactly double the value) during the first moon landing due to an overload.
  • The film premiered in the United States on March 12, 1971 and was first shown in West German cinemas on January 5, 1972.


The German version was created by Berliner Synchron under the direction of Ottokar Runze .

role actor Dubbing voice
Dr. Jeremy Stone Arthur Hill Lothar Blumhagen
Dr. Charles Dutton David Wayne Ernst Wilhelm Borchert
Dr. Mark Hall James Olson Christian Rode
Dr. Ruth Leavitt Kate Reid Anneliese Römer
Karen Anson Paula Kelly Ursula Herwig
Major Manchek Ramon Bieri Heinz Giese
Dr. Robertson Kermit Murdock Franz Nicklisch
Grimes Richard O'Brien Martin Hirthe
General Sparks Peter Hobbs Konrad Wagner
Air Force Major Richard Bull Dietrich Frauboes
Cpt. Morton John Carter Heinz Petruo


  • 1972 Oscar nominations for Best Editing and Art Direction


"With impressive technical effort, perfectly staged, exciting science fiction thriller."

“A somewhat lengthy laboratory thriller [...]. Based on a bestseller by Michael Crichton, the first bio-disaster film to be directed by many worse followers. "

“Robert Wises The Andromeda Strain is the 'purest' science fiction thriller that hit the big screen for years. This purity is based on the fact that it is closer to reality than to fantasy, plus the thematic density without sex and kitsch accessories, such as those reduced to Marooned to soap opera and The Forbin Project to a B-film hoax its high-quality production and, finally, its terrible timeliness in terms of bacteriological warfare or the military objectives of conquering outer space. The film shows clinical microbiology, epidemiology, pathology and electrolytic chemistry in the light of breathtaking suspense and yet retains its quasi-documentary form. "

The Wiesbaden film evaluation agency awarded the production the rating of particularly valuable .


For the beginning of 2008, the science fiction channel had announced that it would broadcast a self-produced remake of Crichton's book. Benjamin Bratt played the lead role. The director took Mikael Salomon .

Contrary to the announcement, the miniseries premiered in the US on May 26th and 27th, 2008 on A&E cable channel . The series previously aired in Australia and the UK.

The remake was broadcast in Germany on October 20, 2010 on RTL II and repeated on February 22, 2012.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Apollo 11 Program Alarms (accessed January 8, 2017)
  2. Andromeda - Deadly Dust from Space. In: German dubbing file , accessed on March 2, 2017 .
  3. CD-ROM edition, Systhema, Munich 1997
  4. Rating: 2½ stars (above average); Lexicon "Films on TV" (extended new edition). Rasch and Röhring, Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-89136-392-3 , p. 42.
  5. ^ Rolf Giesen: Lexicon of the fantastic film. Horror - Science Fiction - Fantasy (Vol. 2) . Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-548-36509-4 , p. 344.