First Hit: I saw why this film made me a fan of films. It opened a wonderful door to amazing story-telling.
In 1957 I saw this film. It was the first film I saw and as a young boy I was thoroughly moved. Last week I was able to see this film again and believe me – it holds up extremely well.
With all the modern technology of today to make things bigger and smaller I was worried that I would get caught up in the “how does it look” syndrome when comparing it to today’s technological abilities. This baby holds up well.
Yes there are scenes that are not as seamless as what could be done today, but overall it is well done. However, the real delight is that this story is told in a tight 81 minutes, covers all the bases, and ends with a philosophical statement and view that is spot on wonderful.
In brief, Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is enveloped for a few minutes in a cloud that may be radiation. When this film was made the cold war was in full swing and radioactivity from a nuclear bomb was ever present. What happens is that he begins shrinking slowly after a couple of weeks. He continues to shrink until he gets a temporary fix for a month or so.
But then he starts shrinking again until he is towered over by a matchbox. How he deals with this change, what he discovers about himself (at the very end) makes up this wonderful story. The special effects are very good and hold up extremely well.
Williams is extraordinary sublime and does an amazing job of having the audience believe he is truly shrinking and how it feels to be an outcast. Richard Matheson wrote the screenplay from his novel and it totally works. Jack Arnold directed this film with intelligence and his command of special effects and how to use them well is amazing.
Overall: This film solidified how a good film can stay with someone for many years. This one lasted 56 years and re-established that a great film can affect its audience for years to come.