Coma (1978)

coma“Doctors make the worst patients. They know too much.” – Nurse

Number of Times Seen – 1 (9 Mar 2016)

Brief Synopsis – A young doctor uncovers a deadly secret when a friend of her’s expectantly goes into a coma following a routine operation.

My Take on it – Being a fan of Michael Crichton’s work, I’d heard of this one, but never had the chance to watch this film before or read the original Robin Cook story before now.

Crichton is both director and screenwriter here and boy am I glad I finally did.

I really enjoyed the premise here and the way that they slowly raise the tension and suspense little by little til it reaches a point where the viewer can’t bear it anymore.

This movie has a superb cast – Michael Douglas, Rip Torn, Genevieve Bujold and Richard Widmark are excellent here.  Look for a young Tom Selleck and an even younger Ed Harris in two small but pivotal roles.

It’s interesting to see this and think about how much has changed and also stayed the same in the field of medicine over the past nearly 40 years.

It is quite easy to actually believe that things like this can actually happen and that raises the amount of suspense even higher  because we all at some point in our lives must go to the doctor.

The fact that they are able to keep us in suspense for so long and not know who is trustworthy and who isn’t helps make this even more suspenseful.

Bottom Line – Loved how they kept us in the dark for so long about who should be trusted and who shouldn’t be.  The suspense rises slowly throughout and reaches a boiling point by the end. Excellent cast helps make this feel even more realistic because you never know who to trust.  Great cameos by Selleck and Harris. Even with the advancements in science in the nearly 40  years since this was made, it’s still quite easy to believe that this kind of thing can occur both back then and even now. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Producer Martin Erlichman first read the film’s source novel when it was in galley form. Erlichman once said that for this movie he wanted to do for hospitals what Jaws (1975) had done to people with the ocean and sharks. He said: “People have a primal fear of the ocean and Jaws titillated that phobia. In a similar manner, Coma (1978) accents one’s primal fears of hospitals. This is an even stronger phobia because a person can always refrain from going into the water, but cannot always avoid the necessity of going into hospital!”. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy


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5 thoughts on “Coma (1978)

  1. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z |

  2. Glad somebody else has seen this, and heard of the book, but unlike you, I didn’t like this one as much. Mind you, I can’t recall when it was I saw the Miniseries remake from 2012, but I do know I saw it when it aired. I could’ve been influenced by the miniseries if I saw it first. I can say with certainty, that the book was amazing. For something written in the ’70s, that reads like it is, and thus is very dated, it was quite exciting. I finished it in a mere two days and was hooked through every page. I wonder if this could be achieved after having seen the film. For the first book in the many Robin Cook has written, and he’s written some good ones, it’s not a bad way to begin.


  3. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1978 |

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