Dimension 5 (1966)
From the winning team of Franklin Adreon and Arthur C. Pierce, the men who gave us Cyborg 2087 in the same calendar year of 1966 comes this Jeffrey Hunter spy thriller with some nifty time travel mixed in to the proceedings. As spy thrillers were the rage of the day thanks to a fellow named Bond, it should come as no surprise that Oddjob himself, Harold Sakata, turns up as the chief villain looking to take out Los Angeles by way of a do it yourself hydrogen bomb.
Starting off with a car chase, Hunter quickly finds himself running through the all too familiar caverns of Bronson Canyon to evade some sort of military force who are firing guns in his direction. It gives Hunter a chance to try out his Time Converter and it damned well better work. Thankfully it does and Hunter evades the men looking to shoot him dead. He’s hauled out of the canyon by chopper and finds himself on a Pan Am Flight back to California from wherever that opening was supposed to be taking place.
Bronson Canyon you ask? Most any low budget sci-fi film utilized it as a backdrop and fans of the genre can easily name a handful of cult favorites that were filmed there in part. Flicks like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Robot Monster and The Brain From Planet Arous. Not to be undone, even the great John Ford filmed part of his western classic The Searchers there that starred none other than Jeffrey Hunter.
Hunter heads back to his home office of Espionage Inc. where he’s ogled over by the attractive secretaries on duty. Looks like he’s a ladies man who can take his pleasures as he pleases. Donald Woods serves as the organizations version of M. It seems that the firm is going after The Dragons. The evil empire that is subbing in for SPECTRE for this secret agent affair. Woods lets Hunter know he’s going to be teamed with a new partner. A partner that turns out to be the sexy France Nuyen.
Miss Nuyen who made her film debut in 1958’s South Pacific and played key roles in Diamond Head and Satan Never Sleeps is an agent that Hunter is never quite sure of. Could she be a double agent? Possibly but she has her own doubts about Linda Ho and Kam Tong who own and operate a restaurant that Hunter frequents and he numbers them among his friends. Fans of TV westerns might recognize Kam as Richard Boone’s valet for 5 of 6 seasons on Have Gun Will Travel. Linda would only make one more feature film before retiring from the screen, the 1967 has to be seen to be believed, Hillbilly’s In A Haunted House.
Our pair of secret agents are trying to prevent Sakata from acquiring the necessary components to put together that hydrogen bomb. To do so, Hunter and Nuyen are going to put the Time Converter to good use. What the mechanism does is give the user the power to move ahead in time up to a period of three weeks. To prove it works to his attractive partner, Hunter rewinds time by just a few seconds to demonstrate. I’d like to say here and now this would make for one heck of a gadget to take to the horse races. Hunter is quick to point out they mustn’t kill anyone if they go backwards in time. It could throw off the present. So the pair are future bound to face off against Sakata and his right hand goon, Lee Kolima. A sure fire look-a-like for Tor Johnson.
With the finale taking place three weeks in the future, Hunter and Nuyen are going to have plenty of time for some R&R by going back to the present leaving Woods to clean up the bodies in the future. Lose you? See the film and it’ll all make sense.
Thanks again goes to Kino Lorber for issuing this one on blu ray with Cyborg 2087. New to me, I had great fun watching this low budget spy thriller that again plays like a TV episode of some 1960’s sci-fi flavored show. Handsome leading man Hunter fits the secret agent genre perfectly and it’s sad to know that in just three short years he’d die at the age of 42 from complications associated with a stroke. Miss Nuyen, long retired from the screen moved mainly into television through the 70’s and 80’s and also scored a featured role in the critically acclaimed The Joy Luck Club in 1993. Hunter and France had previously appeared together in the 1958 military drama, In Love and War.
Hunter’s boss, Donald Woods’ career goes back to the early 1930’s in roles opposite the likes of Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur and he had a featured role opposite Lupe Velez in the Mexican Spitfire series.
Other faces you’ll recognize alongside Kam Tong, Linda Ho and Harold Sakata include Robert Ito who has appeared in most anything from Rollerball to episodes of MASH and starring opposite Jack Klugman for years on Quincy MD.
Dimension 5 is one of the countless spy thrillers from the swinging sixties that may not have been penned by Ian Fleming but offers plenty of fun escapism and is one I’ll easily revisit in the coming years.