Directed by: Jack Arnold
Cast: Grant Williams, Randy Stuart, April Kent
The Incredible Shrinking Man is one of the late, great Richard Matheson’s finest tales. It’s original and harrowing on a number of levels. It also provides man a demoralizing and fleeting glimpse of what it is to be truly superior. What happens when that strength is negated? What happens when you wake to learn you’ve fallen far from grace. What happens when you begin shrinking, on a regular basis. No longer are you a healthy 6’ tall All-American, you’re essentially disappearing.
In a world full of rabid pets and intimidating insects, Scott is in trouble. Can he convince his girl of the truth? Will anyone alive believe the man? The proof is visible, but the extras and supporters fade away into the background, very few worthy of investing in the mysterious occurrence. As time goes by, Scott undergoes a slew of tests and studies, and the doctors working on the man seem to have an answer to his problem. But are they right or wrong? Could Scott be destined to remain tiny for the remainder of his life, where ants are colossal and a foot feels like a mile?
I happen to adore this book, and I’ve seen this film as well. The ending is interesting, a little sad, a little triumphant, but totally and completely exhausting in regards to the emotional toll it takes on viewers.
We were never going to get stronger performers for this film, and that’s fantastic, because there’s a ton of refined visionaries behind the camera and involved in the crew. Jack Arnold, Richard Matheson, Grant Williams, and Randy Stuart are all studs who did this mesmerizing story complete justice. There’s a stellar blend of frenetic energy and low-profile demeanor. And that combination works, even if the emphasis is on the drama of the story as opposed to the humor manages to do a fair job of taking center stage.
A big hats off to the cast of the film, who all do a terrific job. The performances are still a tad cardboard cutout, but this was a different time for film, it was a time in which that wooden style wasn’t just expected, it was welcome. So, the dialogue hits the mark in The Incredible Shrinking Man. And, before I put this brief little review to bed, I must also praise the special effects crew, who showcase talents far ahead of their time. Makeup maestro Bud Westmore may not have gone on to build an enormous fanbase, but his work is more than worth it.
The Incredible Shrinking Man is a top-notch, must-see flick!