Plot: Scott (Grant Williams) is a normal man with a normal life or at least he was, until he was bathed in a strange solar mist, then sprayed by accident with a pesticide, though he didn’t know anything was wrong at first. Soon however, his clothes start to feel loose and his wife seems to be taller, which everyone brushes off at first, until a doctor confirms that Scott is indeed shrinking at a consistent rate. As his condition precludes him from his usual work in the ad business, Scott is marketed as an attraction and sells his stories and pictures to the press. But when he hits a breaking point, he becomes a shut in and turns bitter, even toward his beloved wife. He is convinced things can’t be worse, but he learns that wasn’t the case when a confrontation with a house cat puts him in a desperate bid for survival…

Entertainment Value: This kind of shrunken human narrative was fairly common in sci/fi b movies, but it was normally just an excuse to throw in some miniatures and little else. But in the case The Incredible Shrinking Man, everyone involved seemed to have known there was something special about this material and as such, it turns out to be one of the best sci/fi pictures from the 50s. The story is from Richard Matheson, Jack Arnold stands in as director, and Grant Williams has the lead, in a serious, sincere effort that lets his talent shine. In other words, there is immense talent involved in this one and it shows, as this feels like a serious movie and doesn’t use the shrinking man as a gimmick or creative crutch. Scott’s evolution as a character is a dynamic, natural one that takes a darker, more profound path than most films of this kind, so it really stands out not just for special effects, but depth and development. But the special effects are a lot of fun and deliver some iconic moments, not to mention a wealth of various cool looking interactions.

As I said before, Grant Williams turns in a serious performance here that packs some real dramatic impact. As his life begins to crumble around him, he is able to convey the frustrations and desperation within Scott, who is still around, but feels as though he simply doesn’t matter at this point. This really manifests when it comes to his wife, as he struggles to maintain his relationship with her, but feels as if his masculinity is all but gone and by turn, tries to overcompensate. The movie has to imply a lot when it comes to his feelings of inferiority here, but it is touched upon more or less, just in more subtle, but evident ways. Randy Stuart is also quite good as his loving wife, who tries to cope with the situation and remains dedicated, even as Scott’s mind breaks down and he pushes her away. I just love how sincere the movie is and how it refuses to play by the usual b movie rules, especially when it comes to how it all ends. The finale is one that divides audiences, but I think it works well and given Scott’s situation, is about as satisfying as a conclusion could be. If you are someone who appreciates horror or sci/fi, this is must see entertainment.

Use this Amazon link to purchase The Incredible Shrinking Man (or anything else) and help support my site!