4D Man


1h 25m 1959

Brief Synopsis

Scientist Robert Lansing discovers a way to pass through solid matter but the side effects are no fun. To keep from aging rapidly, he must suck the life force from the living.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Fourth Dimensional Man
Genre
Romance
Horror
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Nov 1959
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fairview Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Pennsylvania, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)

Synopsis

Electrodynamics scientist Tony Nelson experiments with the fourth dimension, a dimension defined as the intermingling of atoms so they take up the same space at the same time, by attempting to push a wooden pencil into a steel block with the aid of a radiated force field. His experiments, although briefly successful, result in a fire that destroys his laboratory. After his boss fires him, Tony is forced to visit the Fairview Research Center, where his brother Scott leads a team of physicists struggling to perfect cargonite, an impenetrable metal. Although the brothers have quarreled in the past, the staid Scott welcomes Tony and introduces him to the woman he plans to marry, his assistant, Linda Davis. Tony is entranced by Linda but, trying to deny his attraction to her, refuses her suggestion that he stay in Fairview and work alongside Scott. Over the next few days, however, Scott, absorbed in his work, leaves the two alone frequently, and one day they find themselves in an embrace, although Tony soon tears himself away. The next day, Scott's group exposes cargonite to radiation in order to prove that it cannot be destroyed, but the experiments fail. In his frustration, Scott continually checks the metal, exposing himself to radiation. Tony interrupts to announce that he is leaving town immediately, and although he tries to explain his real reasons, Scott assumes that Tony is not dedicated enough to his work. Just then, Linda announces that the experiments have finally succeeded. At a press conference the next day, Theodore J. Carson, Fairview's owner, takes credit for the invention, which, as it is impervious to heat, bullets and bombs, will reap a fortune in building and government revenues. At home, however, Tony declares to Scott and Linda that his experiments prove that any metal can be penetrated, and describes how he pushed the pencil through steel by concentrating on it intensely. Because Tony has not been able to repeat his accomplishment, Scott scoffs at its scientific value, causing Tony to storm off in anger. Linda follows him outside and there declares her love for him, and although Tony returns her feelings, he explains that years earlier he ran off with Scott's fiancée, causing a rift between the brothers that he dares not repeat. At Linda's urging, however, they kiss. Soon after, Tony accepts a job at Fairview, where he continues his 4D experiments clandestinely. One day, Scott visits Dr. Brian Schwartz, who informs him that radiation exposure has caused his brain impulses to become stronger than is normal. When Scott overhears Linda and Tony discuss their affair, Tony tries to talk to him about it, but Scott refuses to listen. Instead, that night he asks Linda to marry him, leaving angrily after she suggests that their relationship is merely habit. He returns to the lab, breaks into Tony's locker and, ignoring the searing pain in his head, begins experimenting with Tony's force field, not realizing that his conniving assistant, Roy Parker, has stolen Tony's notes off his desk. Soon, Scott calls Tony to inform him that he has succeeded in passing his hand through a cement block. Tony rushes to the lab to check his findings, and there discovers that his force field has been inert, indicating that Scott has achieved his 4D experiment through brainpower alone. Scott then forces Tony to promise not to tell anyone of their discovery so Carson cannot steal it, and ignores his brother's pleas for him to visit the doctor once again. During his walk home, Scott, intoxicated with his new power, robs a series of stores and banks by passing his hand through glass windows and steel safes. Realizing he is losing his mind, Scott staggers to Brian's house and begs him to help, but when he touches Brian, the doctor immediately ages dozens of years and dies. Scott realizes that, although the extreme exertion of using his powers ages and weakens him, by killing others he can absorb their energy and replenish his strength. Meanwhile, Parker brings Tony's notes to Carson and, claiming them as his own, demands his own research team. Carson, however, doubts that the ideas are Parker's, and the next morning calls in Scott, who denies any knowledge of the 4D notes. To protect his powers, Scott then hides the force field in the radiation machine, and later visits Carson and kills him sadistically. Police captain Rogers investigates the deaths, and when he informs Tony that he has found a thousand-dollar bill embedded in a safe wall, Tony realizes Scott is the culprit. That night, Scott wakes Linda and demands she accompany him, but leaves after she faints in terror. At the same time, Tony searches Scott's apartment and finds the stolen money, which he brings to Rogers. Together, they plan to trap Scott while he is not four-dimensional, a state that renders him impervious to ammunition, but before they can find him, he kills several more strangers. When the police finally find and surround Scott, he walks through building walls to elude them. Hours later, Scott returns to the lab, where Tony and Linda are waiting, to retrieve the force field device. When Tony discovers his presence, he turns up the power in the radiation machine in an attempt to kill Scott, but Scott spots Tony and chases him out of the area. Scott then turns his attentions to Linda, and in order to kiss her, reverts to a non-4D state. Linda submits to Scott's kiss but then pulls out a gun and shoots him. Wounded and weakened, Scott nonetheless raves that he is indestructible and climbs through a wall. Tony and Linda watch as Scott slowly pulls his hand through to the other side, his strength, and perhaps his life, exhausted.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Fourth Dimensional Man
Genre
Romance
Horror
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Nov 1959
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fairview Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Pennsylvania, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)

Quotes

That's what you've done with your force field. You've compressed the energy of years into a moment.
- Scott Nelson
But... that's like... the fourth dimension.
- Linda Davis
I don't believe it. I'm a cop. I work with facts. Now I have to start looking for something that saps the life out of a man like juice out of an orange.
- Captain Rogers
Nothing can stop him. Can't imprison him or surround him with men or guns or tanks. No walls thick enough or guns strong enough. A man in the fourth dimension is indestructible.
- Tony Nelson
I'm psychic.
- Linda Davis
Is this why I sent you to school? To become a mystic?
- Scott Nelson
Two objects *can* occupy the same space, under the right conditions.
- Narrator
Cargonite, huh? As in Carson.
- Tony Nelson
Anything developed in this lab is likely to have his name on it.
- Scott Nelson

Trivia

A very young Patty Duke has a small cameo as one of the 4D Man's victims.

Jack H. Harris was able to begin production by using the advance he received for distribution of Blob, The (1958).

The large map on the police office wall says, "Delaware - Chester County".

Notes

The working title of this film was The Fourth Dimensional Man. Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.'s onscreen credit reads: "Co-produced and directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr." The film ends with the onscreen words, "The End?" suggesting that "Scott Nelson" might still be alive. Daily Variety reported in December 1958 that Yeaworth and independent producer Jack. H. Harris were "dickering" over a distribution deal whi Paramount, the studio that released the team's first production, The Blob. According to an September 8, 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, Universal subsequently acquired the American and Canadian distribution rights. 4D Man was produced in Pennsylvania. The picture marked the feature film debut of actor Robert Lansing. Modern sources note that Harris appeared in the film as a man in the nightclub, and that the film was re-released in 1966 under the title Master of Terror.