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JACK H. HARRIS & IRVIN S. YEAWORTH JR. PRESENT '4D MAN'

Robert Lansing's got mail in 4D MAN Year: 1959
Robert Lansing can make just about anything believable. His performance in director Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr. and producer Jack Harris's sophomore vehicle 4D MAN is slowburn, natural and patient: Like THE BLOB, the plot takes time to not only build, but to make things understandable since the hard-to-explain science isn't a gooey space alien...

As close to Noir as these filmmakers got, 4D MAN is about flawed humans like Lee Meriwether and James Congdon as the assistant and brother of our leading man, Lansing's Dr. Scott Nelson: the latter busy at a corporate lab to make what's called "Cargonite" stronger than steel. In the acting department, Congdon's Dr. Tony Nelson, though high-spirited and intense, seems either miscast, acting more like a small town quarterback than a brilliant scientist on the verge of a literal breakthrough; or perhaps he's just underwhelming compared to Lansing, who's broodingly tortured even before it becomes literal...

Robert Lansing as Dr. Scott Nelson in 4D MAN
Meanwhile, to an extremely annoying level, little bro and Mariwether... as tall and pretty Linda Davis... flirt way too obviously from the get-go, especially given that her boss/workmate is understandably smitten. Then again, Congdon's b-character is the most important; a sort of White Rabbit who seems the lead at first: Introducing the concept of breaking into the fourth dimension by, at first, sticking a pencil through metal: a fluke he wants to successfully recreate and perfect.

A jazz score with slinky xylaphone provides a semi-beatnik vibe, as if a jovial game show were held in a coffee shop full of bearded bongo players, and yet it does move the story along: especially as both the jazz and suspense perks up when Lansing, pushed to the edge because of a double dose of paranoia that's obviously true... especially to the audience, who witnesses the young couple's budding romance... makes the kind of leap that changes everything i.e. the point of no return...

DVD Signed by Lee Meriwether FILM SCORE: ****
Though this 11th hour revenge-driven push feels a tad late, it's better late than never as the now sinister scientist goes from curiously crooked to downright lethal: First reaching his hands through a mailbox, and then through a jewellery store window, and then scoring at a bank: and inevitably having the power to kill by touch and, at this point it's the characters no one really cared about who become 11th hours heroes...

And while audiences usually root for the central antagonist in any Thriller concerning a sympathetic mad and/or simply frustrated scientist type, it's somewhat irritating when our man's bad luck brother speaks the final line, looking into the future BATMAN second Catwoman's eyes and saying: "It was beauty who killed the beast." Which he doesn't actually say — but he might as well have. And while 4D MAN is probably the least known picture of the one-hit BLOB makers, it's arguably their best since it starts with a strong point and purpose and never loses touch.
Lee Meriwether whips towels in 4D MAN
James Congdon and Lee Meriwether flirt like obvious idiots in 4D MAN
Robert Lansing in 4D MAN
Robert Lansing in 4D MAN
Robert Lansing in 4D MAN
Robert Lansing and Chic James in 4D MAN
Robert Lansing and Chic James in 4D MAN
Patty Duke in 4D MAN
Lee Merriwether in 4D MAN
James Congdon and Robert Lansing in 4D MAN
REVIEW OF 4D MAN BY JAMES M. TATE
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