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At Los Alamos, New Mexico, the maximum-security "atomic city" of U.S. nuclear-weapons research, top atomic scientist Frank Addison has a normal, middle-American life with his wife and son...until the boy is kidnapped by enemy agents to extort H-bomb secrets. Result, a fast moving chase thriller with some parental soul-searching. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The Atomic City refers to the community of Los Alamos in New Mexico where nuclear scientists live and work. It's a self contained private community with right security as tight as when it began during World War II. But on a school trip, Lee Aaker son of atomic scientist Gene Barry, is kidnapped and held for ransom for the secret of the newly developed hydrogen bomb.
This film was made in 1952 at the time when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's case was on appeal and front page headlines. So it was a timely film back during the McCarthy era.
It's a tightly edited little noir thriller. I recommend it highly as an antique of bygone days.
What was amusing to me is the way the FBI is portrayed. In this day and age I'm not sure too many people really care other than for political posturing as to how terrorists are treated. Back then though the FBI had this all American image. They don't do things like torture prisoners.
When Leonard Strong one of the kidnappers is nabbed, he laughingly flings the Bill of Rights and the FBI's code of conduct in their faces and won't divulge anything. Then Milburn Stone, the FBI agent takes a break and father Gene Barry goes in with the prisoner alone. Needless to say, Strong coughs up what they need but quick.
J.Edgar Hoover was most concerned about the image of his bureau and his agents, so the third degree for the FBI couldn't be shown. Kind of laughable today.
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