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Directed by Jerry Hopper
USA
1952

 

Nuclear physicist Frank Addison (Gene Barry, The War of the Worlds) and his wife are living every parent’s worst nightmare: their son Tommy (Lee Aaker, TV’s The Adventures Of Rin Tin Tin) has been kidnapped. The kidnapper’s ransom demands are the secrets behind the H-bomb! The desperate scramble to rescue Tommy unfolds at a rapid pace in The Atomic City… from the streets of Los Angeles to cliff dwelling of Santa Fe; the real-life locations provide the vivid backdrops for this taut and suspenseful thriller. Director Jerry Hopper (Pony Express) makes his feature film debut.

***

After the dawning of the nuclear age with the unveiling of the atomic bomb and the subsequent "Cold War" that developed between the United States and Russia, American movies began to reflect the growing fear of nuclear annihilation, Communist infiltration and the paranoia generated by the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations of the late forties. Among the many features inspired by these concerns in the early fifties were sci-fi thrillers such as Red Planet Mars [1952] and Them! [1954], allegories (Five [1951], Invasion, U.S.A. [1952]), crime dramas (Split Second [1953], The Woman on Pier 13 [1949]) and even comedies (Mickey Rooney as The Atomic Kid [1954]). Yet one of the most overlooked and underrated features in this unique group was The Atomic City [1952], a superior B-movie melodrama set in Los Alamos, New Mexico, within the high security and insular community of working scientists and their families.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 1st, 1952 

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Comparison:

Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Olive Film - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
Box Cover

Distribution Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:24:45 1:24:53.088
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.8 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 18,836,747,529 bytes

Feature: 18,640,183,296 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.97 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 875 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 875 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles None None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• none 

DVD Release Date:  August 30th, 2011

Keep Case
Chapters: 8

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 18,836,747,529 bytes

Feature: 18,640,183,296 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.97 Mbps

Edition Details:

• none

Blu-ray Release Date: September 17th, 201
3
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 9

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - September 13': You can certainly see the bump with Olive's new 1080P transfer. It is obviously the same source - still has speckles - but layered contrast adds to the improved image. There is some depth and generally looks quite good. Lossless sound, still no subtitles or extras. I don't think the film is enough to indulge in a bump IF you already own the DVD, but if you haven't seen it and like the 'B' genre - the Blu-ray is the way to go.

***

ON THE DVD: I'd never seen this and by the title was expecting some science-fiction yarn but The Atomic City is a very solid thriller / drama.

This is another Paramount release by Olive Films and like many of the others it is deserved of a digital release. There doesn't seem to be a viable reason why it has taken so long - the source is strong and we have a darn good film!

This is a typical Olive Films release - dual-layered, progressive and looking very strong for the SD format. It is bare bones with no extras nor subtitles offered. Audio is clear but unremarkable. This is competently transferred - notable is the contrast supporting some exceptional detail for DVD. It is reasonably clean with only some frame-specific speckles as a deterrent from a perfect score. Overall though - quite impressive.

Even beyond fans of vintage film - The Atomic City is worthwhile! It is reasonably short and would work as a good 'B' film for a home theater movie night. Certainly I consider it above-average and surprising in its pacing and story realization. Yes - we recommend!    

Gary W. Tooze


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