The Satan Bug


1h 54m 1965
The Satan Bug

Brief Synopsis

A mad millionaire bribes a scientist to steal a deadly virus.

Film Details

Genre
Action
Thriller
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
Cleveland opening: 24 Mar 1965
Production Company
Kappa Corp.; Mirisch Corp.
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Satan Bug by Ian Stuart (New York, 1963).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Special government investigator Lee Barrett is sent to Station Three, a top-secret biological research installation in the desert, to investigate the disappearance of a flask which contains a newly-discovered virus known as the "satan bug" and of several flasks of botulinus organism. He learns from the general in charge of the investigation and from Dr. Hoffman, joint originator of the virus formula, that the satan bug is so virulent that if it were released in the atmosphere it could set off a chain reaction that would ultimately destroy all life on earth. Barrett eventually locates the stolen virus, but he and the general's daughter, Ann, are taken prisoner by Veretti and Donald, accomplices of Ainsley, a depraved millionaire who plans to use the virus to acquire power. Before the two accomplices are captured, they use some of the botulinus to wipe out a small community in Florida. Ainsley then threatens to destroy the entire city of Los Angeles with another flask of botulinus. Through frantic search efforts, the police find and disconnect the timing device which is set to spread the organism; but Ainsley remains at large with the flask of the satan bug. Barrett discovers that Ainsley and Dr. Hoffman are one and the same, and his pursuit of the madman climaxes in a struggle aboard a helicopter flying over Los Angeles. Hoffman falls to his death, and Barrett reaches safety with the flask of the satan bug still sealed.

Film Details

Genre
Action
Thriller
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
Cleveland opening: 24 Mar 1965
Production Company
Kappa Corp.; Mirisch Corp.
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Satan Bug by Ian Stuart (New York, 1963).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

The Satan Bug


An alarming addition to the epidemic thriller genre, The Satan Bug (1965) was based on a popular best seller by Ian Stuart, the nom de plume of novelist Alistair MacLean. It was also one of the first espionage films to follow the lead of the wildly popular James Bond films that set the tone for action/adventure films of the '60s and early '70s. In contrast with the Bond spy thrillers, however, The Satan Bug was a serious attempt by director John Sturges to go in a different direction from his previous all-star blockbusters (The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape ,1963). Indeed, while it is hard to conceive of a film like Goldfinger (1964) without a major star in the lead role, The Satan Bug actually benefits from the lack of big name stars.

George Maharis, a product of the Actor's Studio, is an effectively laconic hero who uses his brain, not his fists, against a lunatic carrying a lethal virus. The Satan Bug is, in essence, a "thinking man's" spy thriller. However, as noble an effort as it was, The Satan Bug failed at the box office and remains largely underrated.

Aside from the source novel's author, the aforementioned Alistair MacLean, the screenwriters of The Satan Bug are worth noting. Edward Anhalt was a natural choice for The Satan Bug, since his original story for Panic in the Streets (1950) involved a potential outbreak of the deadly pneumonic plague. That story, co-written with his wife Edna, won the pair a joint Academy Award. While there are obvious plot differences between the two films, as well as the span of 15 years, the fears surrounding a life-threatening plague capable of wiping out the human race was lock-step in line with those surrounding nuclear war.

The other screenwriter that worked on The Satan Bug was James Clavell, who co-wrote John Sturges' The Great Escape (1963). Clavell is now better known as a best-selling novelist, with three of his novels, King Rat(1962), Tai Pan (1966), and Shogun (1975), having been adapted into films by others.

Director/Producer: John Sturges
Screenplay: Edward Anhalt, James Clavell, based on the novel by Ian Stuart
Cinematography: Robert Surtees
Editor: Ferris Webster
Art Direction: Herman A. Blumenthal
Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Cast: George Maharis (Lee Barrett), Richard Basehart (Dr. Gregor Hoffman), Anne Francis (Ann Williams), Dana Andrews (Gen. Williams), John Larkin (Dr. Leonard Michaelson), Edward Asner (Veretti), Simon Oakland (Tasserly), John Anderson (Agent Regan), Richard Bull (Eric Cavanaugh).
C-115m. Letterboxed.

by Scott McGee
The Satan Bug

The Satan Bug

An alarming addition to the epidemic thriller genre, The Satan Bug (1965) was based on a popular best seller by Ian Stuart, the nom de plume of novelist Alistair MacLean. It was also one of the first espionage films to follow the lead of the wildly popular James Bond films that set the tone for action/adventure films of the '60s and early '70s. In contrast with the Bond spy thrillers, however, The Satan Bug was a serious attempt by director John Sturges to go in a different direction from his previous all-star blockbusters (The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape ,1963). Indeed, while it is hard to conceive of a film like Goldfinger (1964) without a major star in the lead role, The Satan Bug actually benefits from the lack of big name stars. George Maharis, a product of the Actor's Studio, is an effectively laconic hero who uses his brain, not his fists, against a lunatic carrying a lethal virus. The Satan Bug is, in essence, a "thinking man's" spy thriller. However, as noble an effort as it was, The Satan Bug failed at the box office and remains largely underrated. Aside from the source novel's author, the aforementioned Alistair MacLean, the screenwriters of The Satan Bug are worth noting. Edward Anhalt was a natural choice for The Satan Bug, since his original story for Panic in the Streets (1950) involved a potential outbreak of the deadly pneumonic plague. That story, co-written with his wife Edna, won the pair a joint Academy Award. While there are obvious plot differences between the two films, as well as the span of 15 years, the fears surrounding a life-threatening plague capable of wiping out the human race was lock-step in line with those surrounding nuclear war. The other screenwriter that worked on The Satan Bug was James Clavell, who co-wrote John Sturges' The Great Escape (1963). Clavell is now better known as a best-selling novelist, with three of his novels, King Rat(1962), Tai Pan (1966), and Shogun (1975), having been adapted into films by others. Director/Producer: John Sturges Screenplay: Edward Anhalt, James Clavell, based on the novel by Ian Stuart Cinematography: Robert Surtees Editor: Ferris Webster Art Direction: Herman A. Blumenthal Music: Jerry Goldsmith Cast: George Maharis (Lee Barrett), Richard Basehart (Dr. Gregor Hoffman), Anne Francis (Ann Williams), Dana Andrews (Gen. Williams), John Larkin (Dr. Leonard Michaelson), Edward Asner (Veretti), Simon Oakland (Tasserly), John Anderson (Agent Regan), Richard Bull (Eric Cavanaugh). C-115m. Letterboxed. by Scott McGee

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Copyright length: 104 min. Filmed in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring March 1965

Released in United States Spring March 1965