Most Dangerous Man Alive is one of those atomic age, science-fiction movies that were quite popular during the fifties and though you would think that they would run out of things to radiate or blow up or show the consequences of, filmmakers kept on making them for many years after that golden decade. Suffice it to say, the only thing that mutates in this movie is a man – no ants or spiders or lizards or what have you, simply a man who is on the run after escaping prison. Why did he break out in the first place though? It was simply because he was framed and as such, he means to get his revenge on his former comrades in any way possible. Thankfully that is made much easier due to the radiation of the bomb that went off when he was crossing the testing site. Now his body is changing, turning into something akin to steel. The only problem is that he can no longer feel anything, emotions included as his brain is changing along with the rest of him. He cannot feel pain or cold, heat or love, simply hate and while he puts it to good use, he would like to be human once again if that is even possible.
While the film might ride the paranoia wave and the fear of nuclear bombs/testing, the writers of this film and director Allan Dwan have crafted a pretty decent outing that calls for little in the way of special effects other than acting. Some have felt that Ron Randell was a little wooden in this role, but if you take into account the way his brain is undergoing physical changes, that would explain away his demeanor, actions and words. Opposite him was Debra Paget and Elaine Stewart and they too would put in a good performance as women doomed to know him. In fact, everyone who knew him before the accident are not in a good place, for if he cannot control himself, then they will pay the price. What is most interesting about this film is that it tries to mix genres by adding in a crime element, Randell’s character being a mobster out to put the hurt on the other members of his gang. Strange as it may seem, the mixing of the two created a fairly suspenseful film at times and while there was the occasionally cheesy moment, the film never lagged or begged for your attention as you were only too happy to give it.
The movie definitely picked up by the last third as Randell started to take care of business. A little bit of you wished that the good guy would win out in the end, Randall being the good guy, and in a way he did though not quite how you would expect. For a film featuring mobsters and their molls, atomic testing and the scientists who conceive them, Most Dangerous Man Alive from 1961 turned out to be quite a decent picture, especially as it could easily have gone so wrong. Worth a watch for the curious and for those that like may like the particular aspects of the genres involved.
3 out of 5