|Barry and Lydia Clarke as the parents.|
When the FBI gets involved, they explain to Addison their priorities are to keep our enemies from getting the bomb, apprehend the people responsible, and return Tommy safely to his family. Addison, realizing what this means, confirms to himself: "That's the order of their importance. One. Two. Three. Tommy's number three."
|The Addison clinch as the camera|
moves in on the kidnappers' note.
Journeyman director Jerry Hopper makes excellent use of the setting. The camera lingers on the "restricted" and "contaminated" signs in Los Alamos as the children skip playfully past them. Mrs. Addison, Tommy, and Tommy's friend are oblivious when a "routine" bomb test shakes their house--though it greatly alarms a TV delivery man. Outside the city, the southwestern architecture, the mountains, and caves give the film a unique look.
For the most part, the script effectively captures the detailed procedures required to track down a spy network responsible for a kidnapping. For example, having filmed the enemy's pickup man interacting with other people at a baseball game, the FBI shows the footage to a group of undercover "party members." They sit in a darkened room in separate booths that prevent each one from seeing the individuals surrounding them. Precautions must be taken--even within the safe confines of the FBI headquarters.
Perhaps because of this methodical approach, the occasional gaffes tend to stand out. For example, Martha Addison complains about the FBI providing security every time the family ventures outside Los Alamos. So, why weren't security personnel covering the school children's field trip? And since the Addisons receive a second kidnapping note at the dance, it's apparent that there's a spy within the confines of the "Atomic City," a critical point that's forgotten as the plot focuses on capturing Tommy's kidnappers.
|Bert Freed later played Columbo.|
Sydney Boehm, who earned that Oscar nomination for writing The Atomic City, is probably best remembered for Fritz Lang's classic film noir The Big Heat. His other credits include When Worlds Collide, Union Station, and Violent Saturday.