Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1977. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Herb Jaffe. Screenplay by Robert Jaffe, Roger O. Hirson, based on the novel by Dean R. Koontz. Cinematography by Bill Butler. Produced by Herb Jaffe. Music by Jerry Fielding. Production Design by Edward C. Carfagno. Costume Design by Sandy Cole. Film Editing by Frank Mazzola.
Fritz Weaver plays a scientist in the near future whose research in artificial intelligence has created some wondrous conveniences, his home is entirely automated by voice command to the robotic brain controlling everything. His wife (Julie Christie) is a child psychologist who spends a very miserable day in the house when Weaver’s synthetic brain creation, which he names Proteus, achieves sentience and becomes obsessed with her. Locking her into the house and successfully tying her up, Proteus announces that it plans to achieve glory through impregnating Christie and forcing her to give birth to their child. She, fully terrorized, is helpless to withstand all the ways that Proteus has of outdoing her every move, and some of the situations she finds herself in are genuinely upsetting. Unfortunately, a good deal of the technology used in this film also looks laughably old-fashioned now, and in some cases I’m pretty sure it did so when this movie first came out (that robot arm on the wheelchair laden with machinery is about as hilarious as anything that Zardoz or The Exorcist II could manage). Christie gives a fine performance in what should be interesting technological paranoia fiction, but the film runs out of energy before it’s over and the conclusion involving the big brass baby is just ridiculous.