Timeslip / The Atomic Man (1955)
The police drag the near lifeless body of a man from the Thames, a bullet lodged in his back. On the operating table his heart stops, to all intents and purposes the man is dead for seven seconds before the adrenaline shot kicks in and his heart starts beating again.
Investigative reporter Mike Delaney (Gene Nelson) thinks he has a scoop on his hands when he identifies the patient as Stephen Rayner (Peter Arne), a nuclear physicist, only Rayner appears to be alive and hard at work on a secret project. Meanwhile back at the hospital, the identical Rayner has regained consciousness, but the police are baffled by the answers he gives to their questions. Just as baffling, he fogs photographic and X-Ray films and sets off the radiography suite’s Geiger counter.
Thankfully, when Delaney plays back a recording of Rayner being questioned, his photographer girlfriend Jill (Faith Domergue) works out that Rayner is actually answering the questions before they are asked, yes it was mighty strange what radiation could do to you in the post-Hiroshima era. As the plot thickens, Delaney and Jill realise that someone put that bullet in Rayner’s back to conceal a darker and more dangerous event and they don’t have much time left to stop it.
Made in 1955, Timeslip is a cut above the average quota quickie (films made to fulfil the 20% quota of home-produced movies shown in British cinemas imposed by the 1927 Cinematograph Films Act, often financed by US distributors who insisted on US leads). Sure it’s low budget, but it’s nicely acted and shot, and the daft ideas about the effects of radiation on the brain are no worse than many other 1950s Sci-Fi potboilers.
A touch of 1950s Noir with a Sci-Fi edge, I give Timeslip a 444/666.
Trivia: Watch out for an early appearance by future Carry On star Charles Hawtrey as the uppity office boy at Delaney’s magazine HQ.
Timeslip was reissued on DVD as part of The British Film collection on October 13 by Network price £9.99.
DVD extras include:
- Theatrical trailer
- Image gallery
Review by Simon Ball
Connect with Simon: @RealShipsCook or here