This is a 1971 film based on a 1969 book with the same name. Together, they established Michael Crichton's reputation as a talented writer of techno-thrillers. His success culminated in his immensely successful Jurassic Park.
The plot is excellent and reflects Crichton's education as a physician. A returning spacecraft has brought back to earth a deadly organism, and a race begins to understand how it functions before it spreads to the rest of humanity.
I found the "odd man hypothesis" particularly intriguing. If you needed someone to make a decision that might require them to die to save humanity from a deadly plague, what sort of person should you select? For this tale, Crichton manufactured scientific research claiming that your best choice was the "odd man"'an unmarried man. Personally, I suspect you'd have to be careful to select the right sort of man.
Coming along after the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, this film helped to pioneer special effects in movies. In fact, the circular hallways of the underground laboratory in it reminded me of those in 2001. Here, however, the computers are impersonal and benign. In fact, to modern eyes, they seem distinctly primitive, displaying green text on terminals and printing to teletypes. You're getting a glimpse into the past. I worked with minicomputers in 1968, and that's how they looked. Don''t laugh. In thirty years or less, our computers will seem equally primitive.
--Michael W. Perry, editor of Eugenics and Other Evils : An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State