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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"...

***

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.

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 26th, 1965

Reviews                                                                 More Reviews                                                          DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

MGM (Limited Edition Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

Distribution MGM - Region 0 - NTSC Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:54:36  1:54:57.765 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   

Disc Size: 23,074,591,529 bytes

Feature Size: 22,555,840,512 bytes

Total Bitrate: 22.89 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1562 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1562 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

Subtitles None 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

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Lorber

 

Disc Size: 23,074,591,529 bytes

Feature Size: 22,555,840,512 bytes

Total Bitrate: 22.89 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by Glenn Erickson

Trailer (2:10)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters: 8

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray September 15': Substantial improvement over MGM's lackluster SD treatment. We can see how poor the DVD colors are and how dull and lifeless the image quality beside the 1080P. Tighter lines, more realistic colors, more information in the frame, superior contrast etc. etc. . This single-layered Blu-ray looks solid... notably so beside the drab SD.

Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1562 kbps and it exports the films effects quite adeptly - flat but with some buoyancy. Jerry Goldsmith (Seconds, Hoosiers, The Blue Max, Breakheart Pass, The Burbs) does another great score and its brooding and mysterious via the lossless. I think it definitely adds to the film's thriller component. There are no subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.

A trailer as an extra and kudos for the new audio commentary by Glenn Erickson adding further appreciation to this suspenseful 'Bio-terror' sci-fi flic. He is extremely professional adding more than you can imagine to a discussion of the production. Bravo!

I've seen this 3 times now and I must say this last viewing, with commentary, has been the most satisfying. The Satan Bug is a kind of fractured, disjointed sci-fi thriller that is bogged down by its pacing. Great potential for the plot as our minds venture to 'Germ warefare' from The Andromeda Strain through Outbreak and then on to Contagion. I think the Blu-ray is certainly worth the spin for the dramatic advancement in a/v and the Erickson commentary supplement. Great Pre-order price at present (62% OFF!) - so now if the time to pull the trigger.

***

ON THE DVD: 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 paced. Tack-on the lackluster SD appearance with no extras and this gets a definite 'pass'. Great title - weak film and no-sale for the DVD. 

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


 

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 

Box Covers

   

Distribution MGM - Region 0 - NTSC Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray



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