In The Satan Bug Richard Basehart plays Dr Hoffman, a mad, rich scientist who infiltrates a top-secret laboratory and steals a deadly virus that can wipe out humanity. His demand is an end to war and if the world doesn’t lay down its arms, he will start by destroying Los Angeles. On his trail is govenment agent Lee Barrett (George Maharis, who, as the star of the Route 66 TV series was the George Clooney of his day), accompanied by Ann (Anne Francis, probably best known as Altaira Morbius in Forbidden Planet), daughter of Barrett’s superior officer Dana Andrews. Can Barrett stop him before the Satan Bug is released.
Producer/director John Sturges, who also directed The Great Escape , The Eagle Has Landed and Ice Station Zebra , also based on an Alistair MacLean novel, keeps the tension wracked up through the film with the final climax over LA seeing Hoffman and Barrett struggling for control of the vital vial in a helicopter high over the city is suitably gripping.
USA / 1965
Director: John Sturges
Writers: Edward Anhalt, James Clavell from Alistair MacLean’s novel (writing as Ian Stuart)
Cast: Richard Basehart, George Maharis, Anne Francis, Dana Andrews, Ed Asner