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directed by Fred F. Sears
USA 19

In this Cold War thriller, a car crash leads to police finding a suitcase containing pieces of an atomic bomb. Investigator John Williams (Academy AwardŽ nominated John Ireland, 1949, Best Supporting Actor, All the King’s Men) is brought in to figure out where the parts are coming from, and why. As more parts are found throughout the country, the chase leads Williams to Marseille, France, where he meets a mysterious couple and a jazz musician who might be involved.


U.S. security agent John Ireland suspects that someone is smuggling atomic devices into America. When he makes his report, Ireland is assured by his superiors that nothing untoward is going on. In fact, the higher-ups have had the wool pulled over their eyes by a clever Communist saboteur, who is assembling a super-bomb, with plans to detonate the doomsday weapon somewhere in the States. If we had to have cold-war thrillers, replete with Commie bad guys wearing baggy suits and calling everyone "Comrade", it's too bad that all of these films weren't as entertaining as Columbia's The 49th Man. The original story was written by Ivan Tors, later the producer of such classic TV series as Science Fiction Theater and Sea Hunt.


Theatrical Release: May 12th, 1953

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DVD Review: Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC

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Sony Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:13:00

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.57 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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


Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Keep Case

Chapters 8



The 49th Man is quite the young Cold-War adventure with plot devices like national security, smuggling of nuclear bomb material, a French submarine, uranium, briefcases-detonators, a jazz band, a murder and stock footage of mushroom cloud-producing explosions.

It's a Sony MoD (Made-on-Demand) product - standard single-layered and interlaced (see last capture) in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and looks decent enough. The image is consistent aside from the stock footage sequences. There is some grain texture and contrast levels are adept for SD. The disc supports the film with a watchable transfer with some interesting shadows and light cinematography.

The mono sound is decent but unremarkable and there are no subtitles, nor even a menu, offered. There are no supplements at all. You would buy this solely to see the film.

I wouldn't say The 49th Man is a great film, but it does have a lock on the early Cold-War atmosphere that was prevalent for years later and was certainly ahead of its time in terms of the story. We can't recommend the bare-bones disc to any but the few who would be very keen to see the film.  

  - Gary Tooze



Screen Captures























Combing from interlaced transfer


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:




Sony Pictures

Region 1 - NTSC


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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


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