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The Incredible Shrinking Man Criterion Blu-ray Review

“The Incredible Shrinking Man” is a memorable 50’s sci-fi film.

Written by Richard Alan Simmons and famed author Richard Matheson (and based on his own novel), “The Incredible Shrinking Man” is a 1957 adaptation that revolves around a married man (Scott Carey) whose life takes a major turn. While out on a boat with his wife (Louise) relaxing, a mysterious cloud/mist washes over him. Months later, Scott discovers that he is starting to shrink. Distraught and frustrated, Scott begins to lose himself as he essentially becomes miniature. While staying inside a dollhouse, Scott faces off against his pet cat and finds himself in great peril. Louise and the world think he is dead, but he’s just trying to survive inside the house.

Directed by Jack Arnold (who helmed other genre classics like “Creature From The Black Lagoon”), “The Incredible Shrinking Man” is a sci-fi movie that is ahead of its time. On the surface it might seem like a gimmicky atomic era sci-fi movie with grand special effects. There’s no denying the fact that this movie had pioneering special effects with its elaborate oversized sets, forced perspectives, trick shots, and rear screen projections. Truth be told, the effects hold up well and make for a real visual treat. How can you not like a giant spider and a water heater leak that looks like a flood? If you look past the surface, however, you’ll find a decidedly mature movie.

What’s really striking about ‘Shrinking’ is that it doesn’t play out like you’d think. There’s no happy ending where things return to the way they were. Instead, this story delves into weighty topics about insecurities, masculinity, survival, acceptance, overcoming obstacles (figuratively and literally) and finding your place in the world. It’s a truly unexpected journey and not the typical Hollywood movie you saw back in the 50’s.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W movie has been given a 4K digital restoration and the result is nothing short of spectacular. 

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? This is an all-around clean audio track.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring credits and an essay by author/critic Geoffrey O’Brien.
* A new commentary by film historian Tom Weaver and horror music expert David Schecter.
* A teaser and trailer narrated by Orson Welles.
* An archival 1983 interview between German journalist Roland Johannes and director Jack Arnold.
* “Let’s Get Small”- Director Joe Dante and writer/comedian/actor Dana Gould talk about their love of “The Incredible Shrinking Man.”
* “Terror At Every Turn!”- Interviews with visual effects supervisor Craig Barron and sound designer Ben Burtt who talk about sci-fi, the designs, special effects, sounds and more.
* A “Suspense” radio drama titled “Return To Dust.” Always love seeing radio dramas included as extras. Underrated art form.
* “The Lost Music Of The Incredible Shrinking Man”-  David Schecter returns for another extra. In this one he discusses lost and unused music from the film.
* 16 ½ minutes of 8MM Home -Cinema Versions  of the film.
* “The Infinitesimal: Remembering The Shrinking Man”- An 11 minute retrospective that covers the history of the film, its themes, the folks involved in it and so forth.
* “Amateur On The Campus: Jack Arnold At Universal (Director’s Cut)”- A featurette on the filmmaker and his years with Universal.

October 13, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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