The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

Dir. Jack Arnold

I don’t know if I can recommend this film, as I forsee most of your enjoyment will be mild. Grace and perhaps my brother have the best chance of liking this. My score is a bit higher partly because my low expectations, but this is solid film (smart script). I don’t know if it warrants a place in the 1001 movie guide, though.

Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is hit by a radiation cloud while on a boating trip one day, which combined with an earlier exposure to pesticide, has now casued his body to shrink. Supposedly this is a B-Film, but I’d list it as one of those B-Films that ends up better than many A-list films. The script is smart and while the effects are dated, they are still pretty effective. A shortened version the film would have made a good Twilight Zone episode. I liked the ending

Social critics could probably have a field day with this film (the shrinking man as a metaphor for the loss of male dominance and growing sense of helplessness at the advent of the atomic age), but unfortunately I haven’t put in the thought or time to analyze the film in that way.

I do want to write about the ending, which took me by complete surprise. The man keeps shrinking until he becomes so small that he’s really big; he becomes one with the universe. I thought that was brilliant way to end the film and I did not expect the filmmakers to resort to metaphysical solution to the film.

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