Film produced by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union -- featuring several well-known Broadway actors -- recreates Triangle Fire of 1911 and compares working conditions of the 1910's with the 1950's.
Scott Carey and his wife Louise are sunning themselves on their cabin cruiser, the small craft adrift on a calm sea. While his wife is below deck, a low mist passes over him. Scott, lying in the sun, is sprinkled with glittery particles that quickly evaporate. Later he is accidentally sprayed with an insecticide while driving and, in the next few days, he finds that he has begun to shrink. First just a few inches, so that his clothes no longer fit, then a little more. Soon he is only three feet tall, and a national curiosity. At six inches tall he can only live in a doll's house and even that becomes impossible when his cat breaks in. Scott flees to the cellar, his wife thinks he has been eaten by the cat and the door to the cellar is closed, trapping him in the littered room where, menaced by a giant spider, he struggles to survive.Written by
Richard Matheson's book was written as a series of flashbacks so that you got into the cellar with Scott quickly. Universal insisted on a linear story. They also vetoed key sequences, such as Scott spending the night with the female midget, a drunk homosexual who abuses Scott, a gang of teenagers who terrorise him, and Scott becoming a Peeping Tom secretly spying on a teenage girl baby-sitter. These were obviously rejected as too risqué for 1957! See more »
After Scott and Louise argue in the living room and she leaves, a line running from the rug to the table legs is visible on the floor. This is the edge of the forced perspective set. See more »
A strange calm possessed me. I thought more clearly than I had ever thought before - as if my mind were bathed in a brilliant light. I recognized that part of my illness was rooted in hunger, and I remembered the food on the shelf, the cake thredded with spider web. I no longer felt hatred for the spider. Like myself it struggled blindly for the means to live.
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When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'A' rating. All cuts were waived in 2006 when the film was re-rated with a 'PG' certificate for home video. Note: The running time on the BBFC website for the 1957 theatrical release mentions a run time of 91 minutes 48 seconds with an indication this is the submitted run time prior to any cuts. It is not clear if this was a longer version of the film which is widely known to run just 81 minutes (77 minutes on PAL media). See more »
Instead of the typical blood and gore screaming sensationalism of many 1950s sci-fi films, this is an amazingly well thought-out film that is underplayed and even philosophical.
There are some amusing moments in the film, such as when we discover Scott in a dollhouse, but much of the story is handled seriously -- the topics of being different, surviving in an unsympathetic world, crass commercialism, and loneliness are well portrayed.
The theme of the film is what is really amazing. Despite the rather schlocky title, we are given a view of humanity's place in the universe. The final sequence is an imaginative portrait of the balance between the macrocosm and the microcosm.
The film is more than it first appears. Definitely see this one.
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