Film titles can be something of a trap. Take Timeslip, for instance, a British b-movie whose title suggests one thing but actually turns out to be referencing something else. The film opens at night, with a man being chased until he is shot and falls into the Thames. Subsequently the man is pulled out of the water by police, barely alive. A news reporter Mike Delaney (Gene Nelson), recognises the man from another news story- its Dr. Stephen Rayner (Peter Arne), an Atomic scientist from a research lab nearby. However, Delaney’s claims are discounted by police who later check and find Dr Rayner busy working in the lab- which raises the obvious question, who is that man recovering in hospital, who is too dazed and incoherent to properly communicate?
Well its certainly an intriguing premise and suggests an interesting mystery. My immediate theory, encouraged by the films title, was that perhaps the wounded man was indeed Dr Rayner, but somehow from the future, attempting to warn of some danger about the experiments in the Atomic lab but thwarted by his assailant. Its all very Twelve Monkeys really, when you think about it. Alas, I was way off the mark, even though the solution to the mystery was possibly even dafter than my own (and considering mine featured time travel, that may indicate how wild this films plot proves to be, involving plastic surgery, a maniac South American industrialist, and a near-death experience knocking someone’s brain out of whack).
The film was retitled The Atomic Man (for US markets, presumably) which in hindsight is probably a better and more fitting title (at last it would have saved me from wasted speculations about time travel). Its really a pretty preposterous, badly executed effort that just gets dafter as it goes along- there’s some dated sexual attitudes which gets cringeworthy and gains a few unintended titters, endless smoking etc. The most notable thing about the film was Donald Gray in the cast, whose voice is instantly recognisable from Gerry Anderson’s 1960s Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons, in which he voiced Colonel White. Other than that, an instantly forgettable effort which further proves that there’s often a reason why some films are so obscure.