Format: streaming video from Amazon Prime on laptop.
The Cold War was an easy go-to for movie plots in the 1950s especially. With the onset of the Atomic Age, there was constant concern about those darn commies getting ahead of us in the space race. From the minute the Soviets launched Sputnik, Hollywood decided that the Russians getting ahead of us in space or stealing the secrets of the bomb was exactly what was needed to get butts in theater seats. Fear, after all, is a great motivator. And more important, when you can regularly show the Americans coming out on top, you reinforce the idea of American superiority. This is exactly what The Atomic City plays on.
The plot here is dead simple. Tommy (Lee Aaker), the seven-year-old son of Dr. Frank Addison (Gene Barry) is kidnapped. Why do we care? Because Frank Addison is one of the top scientists at Los Alamos and is the man in charge of the hydrogen bomb project. The kidnapping is extremely slick—Tommy is taken during a school outing, simply disappearing. Dr. Addison and his wife Martha (Lydia Clarke) are sent a telegram basically giving them instructions not to go to the police. The kidnappers, naturally, want the latest and best equations for the h-bomb, promising that Tommy won’t survive if they don’t get them.