Professor Michael Heathley (James Donald) works at Port Amberley, a secret research and development facility in England.  Michael is a project engineer responsible for the development and testing of the Royal Air Force’s newest jet.  The jet, referred to as M7, is reported to be able to fly 2,000 miles an hour and can take off and land on water.  The jet is capable of being flown by either a pilot, or remotely on the ground.  So far, the tests being done are being handled by ground control.  If the tests go as planned, then Heathley will design and build the next version, the M8, a ship that can explore outer space.

Heathley wants to take the ship up himself and put it through pilot testing.  The head of the department, Professor Carrington (Maurice Denham), on the other hand, insists on doing just remote testing.  Heathley is frustrated with the way things are but has no say in it. 

An accident at the base injures Carrington.  Dr. Dennis Bord (Noel Willman) is a foreign agent.  He allows Carrington to die thereby allowing Heathley to do a piloted test of M7.  Bord tries to talk his way into having a seat on the jet, but Brian Jackson (Patric Doonan) is given the job as co-pilot.

The test using pilots ends up problematic.  Heathley and Jackson barely survive.  A problem with the pressure suits is blamed.  Sir Charles Craddock (Walter Fitzgerald), Carrington’s boss, decides that no more piloted tests will be done on M7.  With Carrington gone, he assigns Jackson to head the program instead of Heathley.  Heathley is irritated that he is once again grounded.  Dr. Bord cons Heathley into taking the jet up again to prove to everyone that the aircraft is fit.  He offers to co-pilot to make sure the pressure suits are working correctly.  What no one knows is that Dr. Bord plans on hijacking the jet and flying it to Russia.    

“The Net” AKA “Project M7” was released in 1953 and was directed by Anthony Asquith.  It is a British science fiction thriller with shades of cold war melodrama inserted.  The film was based on the 1952 novel by John Pudney.

Since we are talking about a film made in 1953, I’d say the special effects are on par.  The film came out a year after the film “The Sound Barrier” 1952, and of course, comparisons are made.  “The Sound Barrier” may be a bigger budgeted affair, but “The Net” has more of a science fiction feel to it.  “Sound Barrier” may have more bells and whistles in it, but “The Net” has a ship that looks a lot like a stealth bomber.   

I’m not really giving anything away when I mention that Bord is a spy.  Ten minutes into the film you realize that there is something fishy about the doctor.  When he lets Carrington die a few minutes later you know that he has an agenda and will let nothing get in his way.

Perhaps it’s not a great film, but it does have some tension and I found it to be interesting enough to keep my attention.

No comments

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User