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Dr. Cyclops (1940)

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A mad scientist working in the South American jungle miniaturizes his colleagues when he feels his megalomania is threatened.


Tom Kilpatrick (original screen play)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Albert Dekker ... Dr. Thorkel
Thomas Coley Thomas Coley ... Bill Stockton
Janice Logan ... Dr. Mary Robinson
Charles Halton ... Dr. Bulfinch
Victor Kilian Victor Kilian ... Steve Baker
Frank Yaconelli Frank Yaconelli ... Pedro
Paul Fix ... Dr. Mendoza
Frank Reicher ... Professor Kendall


Four explorers are summoned to Peru by the brilliant physicist Dr Thorkel. They discover a rich source of radium and a half-mad Thorkel who shrinks them down to one-fifth their normal size when they threaten to stop his unorthodox experimentation. Written by Steve Hill <shill@harper.cc.il.us>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The mightiest thrill picture ever made! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 April 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Doctor Cyclops See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"Dr. Cyclops" was Albert Dekker's signature part, and virtually all of his obituaries mentioned the film. See more »


After the fivesome are shrunken down, Thorkel goes to sleep and leaves them to wander around aimlessly. Later, Thorkel wakes up and finds the fivesome outside in his yard, making clothes. Sure, they need this stuff to wear, but why didn't they take the materials, then run off to the woods to make their clothes? For that matter, they made their new clothes in the short time Thorkel took his nap. See more »


Dr. Alexander Thorkel: Now you can call me "cyclops", because I have one good eye.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Paramount logo has a flashing green mist over it just before the main titles (which also have it). See more »

Alternate Versions

The scene where Dr. Thorkel murders Dr. Mendoza is missing from many TV prints. See more »

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User Reviews

DR. CYCLOPS (Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1940) ***
23 January 2010 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I had watched this as a kid on a now-defunct Sicilian TV channel, but it seems to have vanished off the face of the Earth in the interim – that is, until the recent DVD release from Universal as part of their second "Sci-Fi Collection". The film was yet another infrequent genre entry from Paramount – after 1931's DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and the trio from 1933 ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, MURDERS IN THE ZOO and SUPERNATURAL; interestingly, it was a Technicolor production – the first to be shot in this process after Warners' two earlier experiments DOCTOR X (1932) and MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933). Plot-wise, DR. CYCLOPS was a variation on the "shrinking" theme explored in MGM's THE DEVIL-DOLL (1936) – which proved quite popular over the years, as can be attested by the likes of THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957), ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE (1958), CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE (1961), etc. The titular character – for which underrated character actor Albert Dekker is probably best-remembered and his most notable genre contribution alongside the dual role in AMONG THE LIVING (1941) – would, of course, fit in with the era's virtually interminable parade of mad scientists; though, typically, he means well by his experiments, his approach to science (and his fellow man) is utterly ruthless. Working in seclusion but deterred by his failing sight, he invites three eminent colleagues to confirm his findings without actually divulging the nature of his experiments; when they begin to get curious and decide to stick around, he does not shrink {sic} at the prospect of using them for guinea pigs! Soon enough, they are fighting for their lives – and not just from the wily doctor, as everyday objects become inaccessible (a door-knob) or otherwise take menacing proportions (a cat)!; on the other hand, they take advantage both of their current dimension (hiding in places where Dekker cannot get at them) and the doctor's own physical drawback (breaking the spare sets of lenses, kept handy in a drawer, while he is sleeping). Interestingly, the shrinking process eventually halts and the subjects start reverting to normal size – which is how the heroes, having gotten rid of "Cyclops" in the very well where he stores his all-important ray-gun, are able to return to civilization after several months of 'convalescence'. The handsome-looking film, an entertaining and efficient 76 minutes, makes for a worthy addition to director Schoedsack's genre resume' (which includes seminal titles like THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME {1932} and KING KONG {1933}, notable ones like SHE {1935} and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG {1949}, not to mention the lesser but endearing SON OF KONG {1933}).

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