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The Swarm

Killer bees periodically interrupt the arch writing, stilted direction and ludicrous acting in Irwin Allen's disappointing and tired non-thriller.

Killer bees periodically interrupt the arch writing, stilted direction and ludicrous acting in Irwin Allen’s disappointing and tired non-thriller.

Stirling Silliphant gets writing credit, based on an Arthur Herzog novel. It’s the kind of screenplay where characters who supposedly are familiar with certain technical work spend most of their time explaining it to each other.

Then there’s the sub-plot romance between schoolmarm Olivia de Havilland (with the worst phony southern accent imaginable) and either Fred MacMurray or Ben Johnson.

Michael Caine heads the cast as a scientist who must contend with killer bees as well as with Richard Widmark, once again playing one of those cardboard military officers. Lots of other familiar names crop up.

Allen was smarter on The Towering Inferno to have a partner handling the dramatic sequences. By the time the bees get to Houston, and the city is torched, few will care.

1978: Nomination: Best Costume Design

The Swarm

  • Production: Warner. Director Irwin Allen; Producer Irwin Allen; Screenplay Stirling Silliphant; Camera Fred J. Koenekamp; Editor Harold F. Kress; Music Jerry Goldsmith; Art Director Stan Jolley
  • Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1978. Running time: 116 MIN.
  • With: Michael Caine Katharine Ross Richard Widmark Richard Chamberlain Olivia de Havilland Ben Johnson
  • Music By: