THE SWARM: Allen, AMC's Academy 8, Hillside Drive-In, Jenifer Cinema, Landover 6, Marlow, Pike, Rob Yank, Roth's Tysons Corner, Springfield Cinema and Waldorf. "The Swarm" is neat. Look at all you get -- and all in just two short hours.
Drama: "General! Thank God you got here in time!"
Imminent doom: "Oh, Paul dear. Will you walk over to the car and get the picnic basket while Daddy and I set the table?"
Man against beast: "The bees aren't touching the poison pellets! They seem to think it's something that will kill them!"
Ecology: "You want to use . . . Nutricide?? General, if you use that pesticide nothing will grow out there for the next 10 years!"
Heroism: "You go ahead. I'm gonna go back for Helena!"
The thrill of victory: "Dr. Krim! Your heart rate's going down! The mass antidote is working!"
And the agony of defeat: "I was afraid of this - they've become immune to any pesticide!"
You also get one kindly old doctor, one brash young doctor and one quietly beautiful doctor, one maddeningly obtuse general ("Are you trying to tell me . . . bees killed those men? You're crazy! Millions of people get stung by bees every year!"), one sleepy Texas town, one well-meaning, befuddled mayor, one freckle-faced tyke (the soon-to-be tragically orphaned Paul), one steely woman network correspondent, and one pregnant waitress whose boyfriend had JUST decided to marry her when he goes and gets killed by the bees. Wouldn't you know it.
Of course you also get your big-name movie stars - Michael Caine, Katherine Ross, Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, Lee Grant, Olivia de Havilland and Fred MacMurray. Plus, you get to see whatever happened to Richard Chamberlain and Patty Duke Astin.
The disasters are first rate, lots of fiery helicopter crashes, elaborate train wrecks and runaway cars. Very entertaining and in very good taste - no intestines spilled all over the screen and no annoying bee sting swellings on the victims.
What more could anyone ask of a disaster flick? At $3.50, "The Swarm" is definitely one of the entertainment bargains of the summer.