Skip to main content


Masters & Restorations | Feature
D Saul Bass | UK,USA, 1974
Tags: 35 mm, Animals, Art, Drama, Head Trip, Retrospective, Science-Fiction

"A strange, stoned, bordering on surreal science fiction story about hyper-intelligent ants in the Arizona desert … It's a creepily effective thriller, a heady philosophical trip." – Badass Digest

Made in 1974, Phase IV is the only film directed by Saul Bass, the mastermind behind the opening titles of Psycho, North by Northwest and Vertigo. It is a beloved cult classic, despite its ending being trimmed by fearful studio execs unsure of what they had. Two years ago the original ending was discovered at the Academy Film Archive, and the film is finally presented as Bass originally intended.

The dreamlike story revolves around a scientist teaming up with a mathematician to prevent a war between humans and hyper-intelligent ants. Featuring astonishing, unequalled footage of real ants from specialist nature cinematographer Ken Middleham, and the original psychedelic ending, the digitally reconstituted version of Phase IV is a surreal, visually stunning cinematic gem.

New 35mm print from the Academy Film Archive of the original theatrical release and DCP of the alternate ending created for the Academy Film Archive's collection, with thanks to Paramount Pictures. Special thanks to Jennifer Bass

Presented in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

D Saul Bass P Paul Radin S Mayo Simon Dist Paramount Pictures TD 35mm (feature) DCP (alternate ending)/1974

Presented by

Back to list

You might like