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The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 17 May 1957 (France)
When Scott Carey begins to shrink because of exposure to a combination of radiation and insecticide, medical science is powerless to help him.

Director:

Jack Arnold

Writers:

Richard Matheson (screenplay), Richard Matheson (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Grant Williams ... Scott Carey
Randy Stuart ... Louise Carey
April Kent ... Clarice Bruce
Paul Langton ... Charlie Carey
Raymond Bailey ... Doctor Thomas Silver
William Schallert ... Doctor Arthur Bramson
Frank J. Scannell Frank J. Scannell ... Barker (as Frank Scannell)
Helene Marshall ... Nurse
Diana Darrin ... Nurse
Billy Curtis ... Midget
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Storyline

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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Victim of weird mist ! Day by day he shrinks! Science is baffled! Cat becomes monster! Terror at every turn! Deadly spider attacks! Lost in a flood's fury! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 1957 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Die unglaubliche Geschichte des Mr. C See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Schallert ( doctor Arthur ) was the last surviving member of the cast until his death in 2016 . See more »

Goofs

After Scott struggles across the paint stick, it collapses. Later he descends from the top of the crate down to the floor again, but it is unclear how he made it, as the paint stick had fallen. It is later shown that he is able use his bent pin and thread to walk on the paint can ledge, so he may have used this method at that time as well. See more »

Quotes

Clarice: Maybe the best way to begin is to start thinking about the future.
Scott Carey: A future? In a world of giants?
Clarice: Hmm. I've lived with them all my life. Oh, Scott, for people like you and me the world can be a wonderful place. The sky is as blue as it is for the giants. The friends are as warm.
Scott Carey: I wish I could believe that.
Clarice: You've got to believe that, don't you?
See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »


Soundtracks

The Incredible Shrinking Man Theme
Written by Foster Carling and Earl E. Lawrence
Played by Ray Anthony
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Incredible Shrinking Man
22 July 2010 | by random_avengerSee all my reviews

When a businessman Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is infected by a mysterious cloud of mist on a boating vacation, little does he know how his life and whole way of existing are about to change. After six months of normal life he notices he has lost a little weight and height, and that this strange loss of size is continuous. He keeps growing smaller and smaller every day, to the amazement of doctors and to the chagrin of his wife (Randy Stuart). Soon everyday things become grave dangers to him and he has to completely let go of his old way of comprehending his place in life.

The over-sized props and the creative trick photography that is used to create the illusion of shrinking must have looked absolutely stunning in the 1950s when the film first came out, because they still look impressive when I'm typing this in 2010. Carey's struggles with unexpected sources of terror like a cat, a mousetrap or a spider haven't lost any of their charm over the decades: they are still edge-of-your-seat suspense, and I'm not saying this as any kind of affirmative action in favour of old movies – I genuinely haven't been this thrilled by a movie in a long time! Besides the visual effects, the riveting music is also perfectly in tune with the thrilling style of the film.

Even though the film can easily be enjoyed as a great sci-fi suspense film, there's also a deeper, more personal level to it. Carey truly develops as a character over the course of the film. He is aware of his frustration and changing moods and scolds himself for being rude to his wife and not being able to take the new challenges bravely head-on. The sense of loneliness, created excellently with beautiful black & white cinematography and camera angles, has been said to mirror the fearful atmosphere of the Cold War and the nuclear era. This is a valid interpretation, but it's also possible to see Carey's journey as a symbol of Man's existential despair and feelings of inadequacy in life that is seemingly normal and mundane. The grandiose finale provides a majestic ending for the tale of new-found self-esteem; all my worries about a predictably tacked-on happy ending were proved unnecessary.

I wrote this review immediately after seeing the film for the first time. These words came out completely without effort and that is, to me, a sign of an honestly compelling cinematic experience. The Incredible Shrinking Man is a delight to watch, not the least bit goofy or dated like some other old sci-fi films. I recommend it for every fan of the genre, admirers of imaginative special effects and anyone interested in existential character studies.


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