Review: ‘The Satan Bug’

The Satan Bug is a superior suspense melodrama and should keep audiences on the edge of their seats despite certain unexplained, confusing elements which tend to make plot at times difficult to follow.

The Satan Bug is a superior suspense melodrama and should keep audiences on the edge of their seats despite certain unexplained, confusing elements which tend to make plot at times difficult to follow.

Based on a novel by Ian Stuart (nom de plume for Britisher Alistair MacLean), producer-director John Sturges builds his action to a generally chilling pace after a needlessly-slow opening which establishes America’s experiments in bacteriological warfare at a highly-secret top-security research installation in the desert. The scientist who develops the deadly virus known as the Satan Bug, so lethal it can cause instant death over great areas, is murdered and flasks containing the liquid mysteriously spirited out of the lab.

Script projects George Maharis as a former Army Intelligence officer recalled to find the virus before it can be put to the use threatened by a millionaire paranoiac who master-minded the theft and claims to hate war.

Maharis makes a good impression as the investigator, although his character isn’t developed sufficiently due to overspeedy editing.

The Satan Bug

Production

Mirisch-Kappa. Director John Sturges; Producer John Sturges; Screenplay James Clavell, Edward Anhalt; Camera Robert Surtees; Editor Ferris Webster; Music Jerry Goldsmith; Art Director Herman Blumenthal

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 114 MIN.

With

George Maharis Richard Basehart Anne Francis Dana Andrews John Larkin Richard Bull
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