“God’s silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of Man’s own limited dimension. I had presumed upon Nature. That existence begins and ends is Man’s conception, not Nature’s. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away and in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something too. To God, there is no zero.
I still exist.”
Robert, Nat, and Cody ponder the existential crisis of man in the 1950s with 1957’s THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN courtesy of Jack Arnold and Richard Matheson.
Richard Matheson was protective of his novel, THE SHRINKING MAN, and jumped at the chance to write the screenplay himself. Some selective edits and rearrangement from a flashback structure to a straight linear narrative aside, it remains a screenplay that is quite faithful to the original story and preserves much of Matheson’s language. It’s also a unique movie. It’s certainly a genre picture, but it’s neither fully horror or action adventure, but something quite unique. It’s also a film that wears its ideas and philosophy on its sleeve and is the stronger for it.
Exposed to a mysterious radioactive cloud, and then later to insecticides, Scott Carey (Grant Williams) begins to shrink. With no end in sight. And there’s nothing his wife Louise (Randy Stuart) or any doctor can do to help him. Soon even the family cat, Butch (Orangey the cat) is a mortal nemesis. And that’s not the end.
There’s a lot that’s notable about THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. Through a mix of compositing and oversize sets, there’s a very satisfying and memorable mix of state of the art special effects. But, it’s not only the physical journey that’s memorable, Scott Carey is also undergoing an emotional journey. He literally feels like he’s becoming less of a man. Less of a husband. And it’s devastating to him.
Jack Arnold balances the two halves, the physical and the emotional / spiritual, with great aplomb. There’s not a lot of dialogue in the latter half of the movie. And there doesn’t need to be as the story is so clear. Scott Carey is fighting for his life. And his sense of manhood. And the visuals speak for themselves.
We, of course, have a lot to say about this classic of the genre.
You’re not going to need to journey to where the infinitesimal meets the infinite to listen to this episode. You can also give us a play below or Download the episode. Also, feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below or Email Us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we appreciate feedback.
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN Discussion: 0:00 to 43:43
Next Film and Outro: 43:43 to End
Next month, we go camping with John Frankenheimer’s PROPHECY. We hope you’ll join us.
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