Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the inhabitants. It is up to two scientists and a stray girl they rescue from the ants to destroy them.

Director:

Saul Bass

Writer:

Mayo Simon

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Nigel Davenport ... Dr. Ernest D. Hubbs
Michael Murphy ... James R. Lesko
Lynne Frederick ... Kendra Eldridge
Alan Gifford ... Mr. Eldridge
Robert Henderson ... Clete
Helen Horton ... Mildred Eldridge
Edit

Storyline

Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the inhabitants. It is up to two scientists and a stray girl they rescue from the ants to destroy them.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Adapt or die. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During pre-production make up tests, producers attempted to make Lynne Frederick look younger by braiding her hair and dressing her in a vintage button up farm dress with Mary Jane shoes. These concepts were later scrapped. See more »

Goofs

The ant-queens seen are actually a species of wasps. This choice has been most probably made as to not seriously disturb several ant-states. However, ant-queens shed their wings when going into pregnancy and developing the huge white abdomen. It needs to be remarked that the choice for not ripping out the wasps' wings speaks in favor for the film makers. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Ernest D. Hubbs: You did your major work applying game theory to the language of killer whales.
James R. Lesko: Well, it seemed cheaper than applying it to roulette
Dr. Ernest D. Hubbs: Did you actually *succeed* in making positive contact with the whales?
James R. Lesko: Only with the emotionally disturbed.
Dr. Ernest D. Hubbs: How were you able to determine that?
James R. Lesko: We talked!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title is not revealed until the end credits. It is divided into segments "Phase I," Phase II," and "Phase III," and only at the very end when Phase IV is reached is the title ever given. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the book "Future Tense" by John Brosnan, an alternate ending to the film was described: "Bass originally filmed a spectacular, surreal montage lasting four minutes, showing what life would be like in the 'new' Earth, but this was cut by the distributor." A preview version with this ending intact was shown to some audiences in 1973-4; clips of it showed up in film's the theatrical trailer, and in Saul Bass' title sequence to Martin Scorcese's Cape Fear (1991). The alternate ending and preview version did not resurface until 2012. The 35mm original footage of the ending was scanned and color corrected (it had faded to magenta) by the Academy Film Archive. Beginning in 2013, repertory showings of the film (for instance at Cinefamily and Anthology Film Archives) have shown a DCP of this alternate ending after the main feature. Because Paramount would not license the footage, the 2015 Blu-Ray release by Olive Films doesn't include this alternate ending (or the theatrical trailer). It hasn't been until 2020 that the alternate ending has been made available officially outside theatrical revival showings. It is included as an extra on the Apple TV release of the film, and on 101 Film's Blu-Ray release in the UK. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks: Dogs (2015) See more »

User Reviews

 
Trippy & Ambiguous Sci Fi
2 July 2006 | by raegan_butcherSee all my reviews

I have seen this film numerous times, starting when I was ten yrs old and it has always had a peculiar fascination for me. It moves a bit slower than most modern viewers are used to but it is pretty compelling stuff.The ant photography is amazing. When I was a small boy and I heard about this I was expecting something along the lines of THEM! and anyone who has seen this knows it is about as far from that as you can imagine. But even as a youngster wanting something more un-subtle and action-oriented, I was not turned off by PHASE IV's slow art-film qualities.It is a shame Saul Bass never directed again because this was a valiant effort to do something a little different. I say bravo! Seen in widescreen for the first time after years of TV viewings and the panned & scanned VHS the new DVD of Phase IV is a revelation. The compositions and use of color are masterful.


90 of 93 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 102 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

September 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Phase IV See more »

Filming Locations:

Rift Valley, Kenya See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed