Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Incredible Shrinking Man

"The Incredible Shrinking Man" (1957, Jack Arnold, Universal International) is a classic 50s sci-fi film based on the book and screenplay by Richard Matheson.

Scott Carey (Grant Williams) and his wife, Louise (Randy Stuart), were enjoying a short holiday on his brother's boat when a strange mist engulfed their vessel. Luckily for Louise, she was inside the boat at the time, but Scott was completely covered. Some months later he notices that he is losing weight and height and that none of his clothes are fitting him!

Doctors find a possible cure which seem to halt Scott's decrease for a time, but soon he begins to shrink again! As well as affecting his relationship with his wife and drawing a lot of unwanted attention from the media, Scott also soon learns that the home can be a dangerous place when you are the size of a borrower!

A surprisingly emotional film with good dialogue, sympathetic characters and amazing effects for the time! I felt completely drawn in to the action and could easily believe that Williams was truly shrunk. The action scenes with the cat and the spider are truly inspired.

I love a good classic sci-fi horror, but am more than aware of some pretty terrible films from the era. "The Incredible Shrinking Man", however, is not one of these. The film still stands well today and is extremely watchable.

The outlandish subject matter does have some glaring flaws: how would a doctor make the connection so easily between the shrinking symptoms and their cause? But the film remains surprisingly provocative and thoughtful, with a haunting ending.

Although the film makes fun use of props and proportions to enhance the physical impact upon our protagonist, it actually maintains quite a cerebral subject matter, focusing more on the psychology of this change. A quite disturbing film.

[Image: Universal International]