This is my personal 'Web tribute to one of the most remarkable–and supremely underrated–films of the '70's—Phase IV.

      The film was the directorial debut of noted graphic designer Saul Bass—and the film is visually stunning:

Picture credit

Picture credit

      And the cinematography is . . . AMAZING:

      "The remarkable close-up and detailed ant footage may remind you of the 1971 documentary 'The Hellstrom Chronicle' and that's because Ken Middleham was the insect cinematographer on both films."

(Turner Classic Movies)

The Hellstrom Chronicle

      But what REALLY sells this one—is the story.  This is an amazing tale—it (strongly) implies, that we [humans], are NOT the ones who are going to make it.  We're not even the ones who deserve to.  The INDIVIDUAL–who I value SOO highly–may not even be the best [approach] suited to the survival of the species.  (!!) To quote Dr. Hubbs:

"Ha ha ha. No, no, they are not individuals, they are individual cells, tiny parts of the whole. Think of their society, James, perfect harmony, perfect division of labour. Think of them building elaborate structures, according to plans which they know nothing of, but which they execute perfectly. So defenseless in the individual, so powerful in the mass."

Source: (Dot Dot Dot 11)

      YEARS later (on 3/24/19 Sunday), I found a link to such:

Dr. Hubbs' monologue on ant society

      Such a view almost deifies (and, very effectively, I might add) socialism—if not out-and-out communism, at a time when it was soo not popular, to do so. –(And–if one takes a look into Saul Bass's life circumstances, at the time. . . .)

      This is weighed against what the humans have to offer:

            Hubbs is, well . . . Hubbs is a . . . bag with which on douches.  (There—I said it!  :p ;) )  [He is] Arrogant, ruthless, almost devoid of compassion—and yet, he is brilliant, insightful, and doesn't hesitate to take action (with a grenade laucher, no less! :) ;) ).

            Kendra, on the other hand, is (I believe) an almost quintessential examplar of humanity: Though in a state of shock (That, apparently, causes her to (briefly) lapse into a British accent.  ( :) ;) )), she is willing to sacrifice her very life (for two people she had only recently met)—in an–ultimately mistaken–belief that this would free them, and in, what is to her, personally, the most horrifying way: being eaten alive by what she most fears. . . .  (By the way, "Kendra" is NOT her real name: You have to be quick, but this is–actually–the name of her beloved horse (hers is never given), which she adopts in her grief and shock—making all this all the more poignant.  (. . . .))

            Lesko is also, in his way, very noble—going on a one-way trip, to take out The Queen, in a pis aller attempt to save humanity.  His only regret, being that he was the one, who had to do it—and that mankind and the ants, could not find a (peaceable) solution, to their differences.

      All this is dwarfed, squashed–and like a tsunami (!)—by what the ants have to offer.  (. . . .)

      –And the ENDING!!


      :) ;)

      The ending is NOT what you would expect.  This is NOT another "killer ant movie."

      I'm not the only one—who was/is taken with the quality of this film.  Here are some links, of others who have been/are:

      Turner Classic Movies

      And here is another one: (I wasn't sure to include it or not—the scales tipped, when it mentioned "Silent Running.")

      :) :) ;) ;)

      Maybe. . . .



      And if you only read ONE of these links. . . .

      And here is a review, found on 4/20/19 Saturday, that I thought you might really appreciate: Phase IV–Screen Critique.

      (I did.)

      And here is the (totally misleading) poster, for the film:

Picture credit

      The poster is a nod to (Buñuel–Dali's) "Un Chien Andalou"—a short film, that was very popular, in midiaeval France, 'n stuff.  Now, thanks to the miracle of the Internet—it is available on YouTube.  (This just blows my mind.  (!!))

      (It's up to you—whether ya' want to see the movie first, or read the article, to see what the bleep is going on, 'n stuff.  (I, of course, saw the short film first.  :) ;) ))

      The wikipedia article: Un Chien Andalou.

      On YouTube: Un Chien Andalou (WARNING–whilst . . . strangely captivating–this (short) film is NOT for the faint of heart. . . .  –The dude has both ants in his pants—and his hand, for instance.  Yeah—and it's a real eye-opener, too.  And give that woman a hand!)

      ;) :P

      Phase IV lost ending:

      The original cut of Phase IV, had a positively surrealistic ending, whispered about reverently by cinephiles (like me), that had been lost . . . for decades.  It had been cut by IDIOTS (I think we're supposed to call them . . . "executives")—who thought that viewers would put off by the ending of the movie.  What it [the removal of the scene] did achieve—was significantly detracting from Saul Bass' powerful–and unique–artisitic vision.  It has even been speculated—that the reason he never made any more movies, was because of the cutting of the ending of his directorial debut.  One can only wonder—how much richer our movies archives would be, had he continued.

      Some links on the missing end:

      (Strangely enough, I found the last one via a picture search for "Beyond the Black Rainbow."  :) ;) )

      Now . . . thanks to the miraculous age we live in—here it is on YouTube:

Here it is!!

      (As of 1/8/14 Wed-nes-day :) , the date of the posting of this link, I haven't yet had the courage to watch it. . . .)

      My personal experiences with "Phase IV". . . .

      The lowest form of logical discourse is to relate one's personal experiences on a subject—however, I'm going to do just that.  I saw "Phase IV" as a kid—and was totally blown away by it.  I couldn't WAIT to see it again.  But we lived in a different world, then.  As Tom Baker said, "There were no podcasts back then.  If you missed something, you had to wait for it to come around again.  TV used to unite us. . . ."  Well, that time came for me, over a decade later—when I was an undergrad at Rectal Pain Induction.  (I believe they prefer it if you call it something like "Rennsapoly Institechnitute"—or even RPI.  However, anyone who's actually been there. . . .)  As I was channel surfing–as I was wont to do–it came on.  I couldn't *BELIVE* my luck.  I tucked in for a chance to see it again!!  Then, a guy from upstairs, came down–and even after several pointed explanations that I had been waiting over 10 years, to see this film again–insisted on reading to me, in a loud, excited voice, over fifteen minutes of nothing important, or even remotely interesting.  Strangely enough, his soliloquy, ended right when the credits began to roll.  I don't think I was ever so angry that entire year.  Even after ALL these years, I won't give you his name—but his nickname (in the fraternity) was "Wa-wa. . . ."

      I am now working a postdoc—and have yet to see the film again in its entirety.

      What the "Phases" mean:

"The Phases -- It's easy to miss the text-on screen intervals that label the four "Phases," but they're there. The movie opens with Phase I: the awakening of the ants. Phase II is the ants asserting their sovereignty over the area. Phase III is the assault, siege and conquest of the human holdouts. Phase IV, where the movie ends, is the assimilation of humans (which starts with Lesko and Kendra) into the any (sic) empire."


      A glitch that no one else seems to notice:

      Although the movie is supposed to take place in Arizona (actually filmed in Kenya (Wikipedia))—both trucks can be seen, clearly, to be driving on the left side of the road. . . .

      Interesting. . . .

      And here is a mention of Phase IV in some weird artsy-fartsy thing:

      A bare-bones DVD is available from Legend Films.  (Mine is on the way.  :) ) The site also contains, "Glen or Glenda," "Student Bodies," and "The Singing Detective"—so it can't be all bad; in fact, it may become my fav movie site, 'n stuff.

      The site is a little difficult to navigate—so here is the explicit link, 'n stuff: Phase IV.

      Of interest—"Phase IV" is the first ever mention of "crop circles" (!!)—in fact, it is generally accepted, that the film was the motivation for the first ones made, 'n stuff.

      :) :)

      "Saul Bass wasn't just an artist who contributed to the first several minutes of some of the greatest movies in history – in my opinion his body of work qualifies him as one of the best filmmakers of one of this, or any other time."

– Steven Spielberg


      Saul Bass, if you ever read this—I want you to know that I not not only "get it" . . . but am a bit in awe.  In fact, I'm going to take the rare (if not unique) step—of leaving an email address, that actually works:

      :) ;)

      John's email address