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