The Incredible Shrinking Man
Release year: 1957
Director: Jack Arnold
Screenwriter: Richard Matheson (based on his novel)
Starring: Grant Williams, Randy Stuart, April Kent, Paul Langton, Raymond Bailey, William Schallert
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #324, week 38 2020
Six months after being exposed to a mysterious mist, Scott (Williams) finds his clothes is suddenly to big for him. After seeing the doctor a couple of times, it becomes clear that he is shrinking! He is referred to a medical center where the staff works hard on finding out why and come up with a cure, meanwhile Scott shrinks every day.
The feature film screenplay by the legendary sci-fi writer Matheson (I Am Legend, 2007) is a movie which relies heavily on the special effects and in a time before computer effects. Luckily the team behind this 1957 classic succeeded and even with today’s eyes, the effects are impressive. With well-build and imaginative sets used to show the different sizes of the main character, you must remind yourself he is not actually shrinking. Williams (The Doomsday machine, 1972) does a brilliant work, both as the charming untroubled husband over the sulky teenage-like man struggling with his new destiny to the tiny man fighting for his life. As his loving wife Stuart (Star in the Dust, 1956) is equally great and one of the most heartbreaking part of the story, is the loving relationship the beginning of the movie shows between the two, a relationship torn apart as Scott literally disappears more and more out of sight. It is an interesting idea to keep the story kept so much in the family household, letting Scott fight against dangers in his own house. Dangers that are only dangers because of his size and which brings a thrilling sensation with its mixture of familiarity and fantasy-like monsters. It is a bit like a kid playing adventure in the comfort of the house, except here the house is transformed into a dessert of immediately danger. The ending differs from other sci-fi movies from the 1950s, though not necessarily in a good way, but the ride to the tame ending is a thrilling adventure and ensures this movies place among the finest classics of the sci-fi genre.
Several of the gigantic props (the scissors, nails, and mousetrap for example) were part of the Universal Studio tour for several years.
Scott Carey’s cat was played by feline actor Orangey which alsos tarred in movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and The Comedy of Terrors (1963).
Richard Matheson had originally written a screenplay for the sequel called The Fantastic Shrinking Girl in which Louise Carey begins to shrink herself. Universal had planned to produce it but the project was eventually scrapped.