Releasing on a single-disc Blu-ray package, the 1954 sci-fi comedy “The Atomic Kid” features a frenetic slapstick farce based on the story of filmmaker Blake Edwards.
This film directed by Leslie H. Martinson revolves around a young uranium prospector’s fate after surviving the radiation exposure in an atomic bomb testing site. It stars Mickey Rooney, Robert Strauss, and Elaine Devry.
The story begins with a uranium search in a remote part of Nevada. Coincidentally, when a man gets caught up in a restricted area he believes is rich in uranium, the Army is also scheduled to drop an atomic bomb there. After the explosion, the said man mysteriously emerges in perfect condition, seemingly untouched by the point-blank detonation. He quickly realizes the huge commercial potential of being the first human to ever survive an atomic blast, which makes him an instant celebrity. From here, the plot veers into Cold War territory with this man who now emits radioactive energy gets recruited by the FBI for a mission to break up a spy ring.
This 1950s offering didn’t undergo extensive restoration and remastering. As expected, it shows its fair share of damage on the transfer. From time to time, scratches, dust marks, and specks linger around random shots. It’s pretty obvious that the production utilized quite a bit of stock footage sourced from different shooting formats, which sometimes make the picture inconsistently softer or grainier in between scenes.
Contrast in this black-and-white film remains on the low end. A number of interior scenes look very murky. Special effects are totally outdated. At the very least, the transfer still offers serviceable sharpness and it maintains a relatively healthy layer of grain for its age.
Like with the picture, the film’s lossless mono mix suffers from considerable damage as well. As soon as the movie starts, there are already some noticeable speed fluctuations plaguing the track. Pops, cracks, hisses, and overt distortion readily appear in the presentation. Tonalities are very inconsistent and the sound gets seriously wobbly midway through. On the better side of things, the still easily understandable dialogue isn’t nearly as affected by the badly rendered elements in the dated mix.
This Blu-ray edition offers no supplements or even subtitle options for the film.
“The Atomic Kid” easily jumps from one silly sequence to another. This lackluster movie’s poorly branded comedy doesn’t save it from becoming entirely ridiculous. Primarily, the lame script is unable to sustain the basic needs of the story, as if it’s completely unaware of its extreme tastelessness. Its pointless, unimaginative way of treating radiation exposure and atomic bomb effects like fairy dust is an epic fail. There are some individual moments of workable slapsticks and satiric elements appearing here and there, but this film remains as a monumentally unfunny comedy that more often strives to wring some laughs for its despicable presentation.