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X the Unknown (Warner 1956, Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman)

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Leslie (father of film critic legend Barry) Norman directs British sci-fi mystery X the Unknown. Scottish soldiers are on maneuvers when two of them are fatally burned by a radioactive sludge that bubbles out the earth, and then disappears. Scientist Dr. Royston (Dean Jagger) and his young apprentice (Edward Chapman) investigate while the killer mud begins to move, as if searching for radioactive material in the area, including that stored at Royston’s own lab. As Royston is joined by an atomic energy expert (Leo McKern) in his investigation, the mud pursues its victims: lusty nurses, kids and cops. The film’s uncertain conclusion makes one wonder: Has the sludge has really been tamed, or is it merely lying in wait?

X The Unknown features a young Anthony Newley in a minor role. Newley would go on to co-write the hit song “What Kind Of Fool Am I?” and to score such films as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).

production details
UK / Warner / 81 minutes / 1956

Director: Leslie Norman

cast
Dean Jagger as Dr. Adam Royston
Edward Chapman as John Elliott
Leo McKern as Insp. ‘Mac’ McGill
Anthony Newley as LCpl. ‘Spider’ Webb
Jameson Clark as Jack Harding
William Lucas as Peter Elliott
Peter Hammond as Lt. Bannerman
Marianne Brauns as Zena, the Nurse
Ian MacNaughton as Haggis
Michael Ripper as Sgt. Harry Grimsdyke
John Harvey as Maj. Cartwright
Edwin Richfield as Soldier Burned on Back
Jane Aird as Vi Harding
Norman Macowan as Old Tom
Neil Hallett as Unwin

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