Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Irvin Yeaworth|
|Produced by||Jack H. Harris|
|Written by||Jack H. Harris|
|Music by||Ralph Carmichael|
|Cinematography||Theodore J. Pahle|
|Edited by||William B. Murphy|
|Distributed by||Universal International|
4D Man (UK title: The Evil Force; reissued in the US as Master of Terror) is a 1959 American science fiction independent film, produced by Jack H. Harris from his own original screenplay and directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.
Brilliant but irresponsible scientist Tony Nelson (James Congdon) develops an electronic amplifier that he hopes will allow any object to achieve a 4th dimensional (4D) state. While in this state that object can pass freely through any other object. However, Tony failed to pay attention to the overload, which sparks an electrical fire that burns down his lab, resulting in the university terminating his contract. Now unemployed, Tony seeks out his brother Scott (Robert Lansing), a researcher working on a material called cargonite that is so dense as to be impenetrable, to help him with his experiment.
Scott is underpaid and unappreciated at his job but does not have the drive to challenge his employer, Mr. Carson, for greater recognition, especially since Scott has been the driving force behind the development of cargonite (named after Carson, showing he is grabbing much of the credit for Scott's work). When his girlfriend (Lee Meriwether) falls for Tony, an enraged Scott steals Tony's experiment and starts playing with it, eventually sending himself into a 4D state. When demonstrating this to Tony, Scott does not turn on the amplifier power yet successfully passes his hand through a block of steel, meaning Scott can now enter the 4D state via his own will. Tony is amazed but warns Scott not to reveal this until he can further test it for any side effects.
While in the 4D state, Scott can pass through any solid object. The downside is that, while in that state, Scott ages at a greatly accelerated rate. He soon learns how to survive however, when an aged Scott visits the company doctor, who, while examining him, suddenly drops dead. Simply by touching others, Scott can drain their lifeforce, thereby rejuvenating himself. One night, Scott experiments with his abilities by being able to shoplift a piece of fruit from a grocery store window. Scott also notices a diamond necklace on display in a jewelry store window, but decides against stealing it. However, when Scott sees the bank, his face breaks into a sly grin.
The police are wondering about a bizarre crime, over $50,000 was stolen from the bank with no forced entry nor video footage of wrongdoing, and a $20 bill was found protruding from a piece of tempered steel. Tony realizes Scott is abusing his power and tries to convince the police of the experiment.
Scott starts using his new found power to acquire all the things he felt he was denied: money, recognition, power, and women. Scott then confronts Mr. Carson, revealing the experiment, then taking his revenge "for the life drained from me" by literally draining Carson's life force to rejuvenate his. After killing Carson, Scott then proceeds to a sleazy bar. He gets some toughs to back down, and his new found bravado combined with his ill-gotten money to impress a bar girl. Later in a car, when they kiss, Scott does not kill her, but drains her life force to the point where she becomes old, frightening her into running away.
The police have to find a way to stop a man who is practically unstoppable. Looking old now, Tony returns to the nuclear lab where they are also unable to stop him. The girlfriend catches him when he is solid and shoots and wounds Scott after they kiss (which does not drain her life force). Bleeding and feeling betrayed, Scott maniacally proclaims his invincibility and defiantly phases his body through a wall embedded with supposedly impenetrable cargonite, his hand, slowly and with seeming difficulty, phasing lastly through the wall. "The End" then appears on the screen. A moment later, a question mark appears turning the closing phrase into an interrogative statement leaving into question whether Scott has died or survived.
- Robert Lansing as Dr. Scott Nelson
- Lee Meriwether as Linda Davis
- James Congdon as Dr. Tony Nelson
- Robert Strauss as Roy Parker
- Edgar Stehli as Dr. Theodore W. Carson
- Patty Duke as Marjorie Sutherland
- Guy Raymond as Fred
- Chic James as B-girl
- Elbert Smith as Capt. Rogers
- George Karas as Sgt. Todaman (como George Kara)
- Jasper Deeter as Sr. Welles
Production and release
Jack H. Harris was able to begin production of the film with the money he had received from distributing The Blob (1958). This was the film debut of Lee Meriwether and Robert Lansing. Young Patty Duke also makes a small cameo appearance in the film.
The film was released in the United-States on October 7, 1959.
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