GenreAction, Crime, Drama Duration CountryUnited States
WriterHarry Essex, Ivan Tors Release date1953 ProducersCharles H. Schneer, Sam Katzman CastJohn Ireland (Investigator John Williams), Richard Denning (Chief Investigator Paul Reagan), Suzanne Dalbert (Margo Wayne), Robert Foulk (Commander Jackson), Mike Connors (Lt. Magrew (as Touch Conners)), Richard Avonde (Buzz Olin) Similar moviesBlood Diamond, Diamonds Are Forever, The Punisher, Babylon A.D., The Connection, Southland Tales
TaglinePLOT TO BLAST AMERICAN EXPOSED!
Several briefcases with mysterious contents come to the attention of FBI agent John Williams (John Ireland), who takes them to the atomic laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M. Confirming that the items are parts for detonating an atomic device, Chief Paul Regan (Richard Denning) assigns John to a clandestine hunt for the remaining parts. The investigation takes John across the country and into France, where he is aided by jazz musician Buzz Olin (Richard Avonde) and his mysterious friends.
The 49th Man is a 1953 American thriller film released by Columbia Pictures, directed by Fred F. Sears and starring John Ireland, Richard Denning, Suzanne Dalbert, Peter Marshall, Robert Foulk and Mike Connors (credited as "Touch Conners"). The Cold War thriller was based on a story by Ivan Tors and the screenplay written by Harry Essex.
The films title is a cryptic reference to the men in the film hired to smuggle 48 nuclear weapons components into the United States as part of a secret war game and the unexpected 49th man, using the war game as cover, smuggling in a real atom bomb as part of a plot to destroy an American city.
Two federal agents (John Ireland, Richard Denning) do not believe an atomic-bomb threat is just another war game.
After a fatal car crash in Lordsburg, New Mexico, investigators find a mysterious machine component that they turn over to the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory for identification. Scientists there declare that it is one component of an advanced portable nuclear weapon designed by an unknown, presumably hostile power. The discovery prompts Paul Reagan (Richard Denning), chief of the Security Investigation Division (SID), to send agent John Williams (John Ireland) to investigate the source of these components and to prevent them from being assembled into a functioning weapon. As more parts are smuggled into the United States, the investigation expands and a pattern begins to emerge which points to Marseilles, France.
After uranium is found welded to the hull of a U.S. Navy submarine in New London, Connecticut, Williams continues his investigation aboard that submarine, now bound for the French port, undercover as a naval officer preparing a training film. While in Marseilles, he learns that civilians Margo Wayne (Suzanne Dalbert) and her husband Leo Wayne (Peter Marshall) are working with clarinet player Buzz Olin (Richard Avonde) and an unknown member of the submarines crew to smuggle the parts in special metal cases built by Pierre Neff (George Dee). After a fight near the dock, Williams believes that Lt. Magrew (Mike Connors) and Commander Jackson (Robert Foulk) are in on the plot. He orders them arrested, only to be betrayed by his colleague, agent Andy (Robert Hunter), and taken into custody himself.
Arriving in Washington, D.C., Williams escapes from his captors and contacts Reagan at SID headquarters where he finds Jackson and Magrew waiting for him in Reagans office. The whole exercise was a war game, put on in secret by the Defense Department to test the nations readiness for a subversive attack. However, the Waynes and Olin are not part of the war game. They have used Neff to construct 4 cases, in addition to the 48 ordered by the naval officers, and smuggled their own portable nuclear weapon into the United States. With less than 48 hours before the bombs scheduled detonation at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Williams and his team track Buzz Olin and the Waynes to the San Francisco area. After a desperate attempt to escape with the bomb and destroy San Francisco by air, Leo Wayne is killed and Jackson has just two hours to attempt to defuse the bomb while Williams flies towards Nevada. This fails and with less than a minute to go the bomb is dropped from the plane to detonate over Frenchman Flat at the Nevada Test Site. Crisis averted, the film ends with the narrator intoning, "...and three oclock is just the middle of another afternoon in the life of a city."
John Ireland as SID agent John Williams
Richard Denning as SID chief Paul Reagan
Suzanne Dalbert as Margo Wayne
Peter Marshall as Leo Wayne
Robert Foulk as Commander Jackson
Mike Connors as Ensign Magrew (credited as "Touch Conners")
Richard Avonde as Buzz Olin
Robert Hunter as SID agent Andy, alias Andre
Tommy Farrell as SID agent Reynolds
Chris Alcaide as SID agent Manning
Jean Del Val as SID agent Maurice Leroux
George Dee as Pierre Neff
Notable actors in uncredited roles include Robert Bice as a detective, Heinie Conklin as a satchel courier, Boyd Morgan as Corrigan, Bud Osborne as the courier in the bar, Steve Pendleton as a technician, and Gerald Mohr as the films narrator.