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Directed by John Sturges
USA 1965

 

John Sturges directed this sizzling suspenser about a nerve-racking chase to recover flasks of a lethal virus which were stolen from a government lab by a deranged and dangerous scientist, who has decided that now it is his turn "to play God"...

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Adapted from an Alistair MacLean novel, The Satan Bug is one of the best efforts in the "deadly virus at large" genre. Insane scientist Dr. Hoffman (Richard Basehart) steals several vials containing a lethal germ culture from a government lab. Hoffman has been unhinged by the notion of the government playing God and now it's his turn to do the same. Hot on his trail are Lee Barrett, a scientific investigator (George Maharis) and Ann, a general's daughter (Anne Francis). The climax, which seems to have been borrowed from the 1939 Bela Lugosi serial The Phantom Creeps, finds Maharis wrestling with the controls of a runaway helicopter, wherein the deadly vials are being jostled about.

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Theatrical Release: March 26th, 1965

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DVD Review: MGM (Limited Edition Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution MGM - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:54:36 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Trailer (2:07)

DVD Release Date: January 28th, 2011

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Comments:

The Satan Bug is a kind of fractured, disjointed sci-fi thriller that never makes it off the runway with enough steam to get airborn. Great potential for the plot as our minds venture from The Andromeda Strain through Outbreak and then on to Contagion. Unfortunately, expectations for anything on that scale is easily dashed.

You know what is coming when the DVD starts with the caveat: "This film has been manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available" which usually means 'don't bother complaining - this is the best we can do'.

The stingy MGM made-on-demand DVD shows plenty of weaknesses - the single-layered transfer exports a very soft image. The puny bitrate produces a poor representation of the film - with colors bordering on bleeding and an overall waxiness to the visuals that looks more like 3rd generation video. It is anamorphic and progressive - but it doesn't seem to help the image. The audio is unremarkable but not as big a factor in the poorness of the presentation as the murky video. There are no subtitles and only a trailer as an extra on the region free NTSC disc.

Despite such sterling actors as George Maharis, Richard Basehart, Anne Francis, Dana Andrews, Edward Asner and Simon Oakland and helmed by John Sturges - The Satan Bug is poorly written for the screen. Tack-on the lackluster SD appearance with no extras and this gets a definite 'pass'. Great title - poor film and DVD. 

Gary W. Tooze


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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution MGM - Region 0 - NTSC



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