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re­leased OUT NOW! 1940 | PG | dVd

Di­rec­tor ernest B schoed­sack Cast al­bert dekker, Thomas Co­ley, Jan­ice lo­gan, Charles Hal­ton

“You are tam­per­ing with pow­ers re­served for God!” some­one tells the tit­u­lar bad egg of this pulpy romp – words to give a sense of ca­reer sat­is­fac­tion to any sel­f­re­spect­ing mad sci­en­tist.

Al­bert Dekker is the my­opic Cyclops, all bot­tle-top specs, shaved dome and per­fect man­ners. Ex­per­i­ment­ing with ra­dium de­posits in the Amazon jun­gle, he dis­cov­ers a way to re­duce hu­man be­ings to doll size. Honey, he shrunk the he­roes… then dressed them in hand­ker­chiefs, the fiend.

Based on a Henry Kut­tner tale in Thrilling Won­der Sto­ries, it’s helmed by Ernest B Schoed­sack, one of the team who brought King Kong to the screen. While Kong was a fever dream in black and white, this slice of sci­ence-hor­ror is more lurid, the use of three-strip Tech­ni­color lend­ing ra­dioac­tive am­bi­ence to the scenes of Cyclops in his lab, walls glow­ing sub-aquatic green.

It all be­comes a bit of a runaround, the pro­tag­o­nists dodg­ing ev­ery­thing from cats to al­li­ga­tors, and the movie’s light-hearted tone con­spires with Dekker’s oddly ge­nial per­for­mance to defuse the thrills. But the in­ven­tive trick photography ef­fects – nom­i­nated for an Os­car – still im­press, a re­minder of a world where cin­e­matic magic re­quired “a slide rule and blue­prints”, as Schoed­sack later re­called.

Ex­tras Trailer. Nick Setch­field

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