Saul Bass had a fascinating career as an animator and as designer of title sequences for a number of notable films, including Psycho, Vertigo, Anatomy Of A Murder and Seconds. However, Phase IV was his only credit as director of a feature film. A visually inventive science-fiction story, Phase IV concerns a group of research scientists working in the Arizona desert who find themselves confronted by an Army of super-intelligent mutant ants. The results are more intelligent than the description would lead you to believe, and Nigel Davenport and Michael Murphy turn in good performances as the embattled men of science.
“Fields of color whip across the frame, deep yellows and greens and browns. The ground falls away into chthonic horrors of design and danger. Human bodies are made into hollow, ant-infested abominations.” – Cine File
“It’s a movie that seems to have been designed more than directed, and edited around principles of color and line, rather than around performance or plot. Its perspective is impartial—which is what makes it so discomfiting. The soundtrack—which includes contributions from cult Japanese percussionist Stomu Yamashta and members of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop—only heightens the sense of alienating unease.” – AV Club
“Phase IV, lies somewhere in the middle between avant-garde whatsit and old-school genre filmmaking: It’s a monster movie shot like a science experiment. And it is unnervingly beautiful… [Bass builds tensout out of] the film’s unsettling imagery, its troubling and reflective mood, its very refusal to do the things we expect. You’ve never seen anything like it, and when it’s over you’ll wish Bass had made more features.” – Nashville Scene
- 7/11 | 8:00PM