During the Cold War, the Defense Department's War Games team smuggles 48 nuclear bomb parts into the USA to test the nation's readiness for a subversive attack but an unexplained 49th bomb part mysteriously shows up.
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U.S.Security Investigation Division chief Paul Reagan (Richard Denning) assigns John Williams (John Ireland) to hunt down a subversive group that has been smuggling A-bomb parts into the United States in specially designed cases. Williams traces the ring to Marseilles, France, where he meets Margo Wayne (Suzanne Dalbert) at a waterfront café and discovers she is part of the plot. When recalled by Reagan, Williams is informed that he has been engaged in a "war games" security check to test America's atomic defense, but he proves to Reagan that enemy agents are actually using the "war games" as a front to smuggle an A-bomb into the country.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although the film is taking place in contemporary 1953, vintage stock footage of San Francisco is of an earlier era, about fifteen years previous, revealing pre-WWII automobiles and streetcars all of which had long since disappeared by the time the film was made. See more »
Cold War paranoia reaches its heights in The 49th Man, an obvious bow to the British film, The 49th Parallel in title. Would that this film be half as good.
A kid tooling down a New Mexico highway crashes his hotrod in the desert and gets killed. There's a strange looking object in a lead case which the local sheriff brings to the attention of local FBI guy John Ireland who in turn brings it to Los Alamos on a hunch. I guess it was handy to have Los Alamos around. Anyway it turns out to be part of an atomic bomb.
With the assignment from his superior Richard Denning, Ireland goes on a manhunt which takes him across the USA and to Montreal and Marseilles. The depth of this Red conspiracy reaches into the United States Navy and beyond. But the FBI in peace and war does its thing.
Oddly enough with the development of nuclear technology and the well documented problems today of protecting our borders, The 49th Man does have a curious relevance for today. Still it is a prime example of McCarthyist paranoia at its heights.
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