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DIRECTOR JACK ARNOLD'S 'THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN'

Title: THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN Year: 1957 Rating: ***1/2

Director Jack Arnold had a way of taking the most fantastical stories and making them seem completely grounded, even normal... from aliens landing in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, a giant arachnid attack for TARANTULA, or in this case, a grown man shrinking as THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN...

In the first act, when Grant Williams goes from doctor to doctor, trying to figure out why his work-clothes keep outgrowing him, it's like a separate movie... a kind of intentionally uncomfortable melodrama told in a slow-burn, semi-nightmarish, page-turning fashion... much different than the suspenseful action-packed survival-tale involving a comparably gigantic cat and spider the movie's most famous for...

Small girl girlfriend April Kent in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN

And those scenes are fantastic, as Grant becomes a miniature Robinson Crusoe inside a basement crowded with makeshift weapons and random nibbles of food... but it's also a bit exhausting... 

If only the middle half was more expanded, fleshed-out, like when Grant meets the perfect tiny carnival girl in an adorable April Kent, who makes a far more attractive and worthwhile ingenue than sulking miscast wife Randy Stuart, seeming a decade older than the youthful Williams...

Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN

An underrated b-actor who steals his own show: as effectively timid by the rudimentary SHRINKING process as he's bravely intense and adventurous in a role he never surpassed...

Meanwhile, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON director Jack Arnold would eventually semi-retire into mostly television so, overall, both actor and auteur deserved a much longer science-fiction-cinema run.

Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN with William Schallert
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Small Girl Girlfriend April Kent in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
April Kent in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
April Kent in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
April Kent in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams and April Kent in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN with Orangey the Cat
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN with Orangey the Cat
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN with Randy Stuart
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN with wife Randy Stuart
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN with Randy Stuart
Criterion Collection of THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Randy Stuart in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Tarantula director directs a spider in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Credits for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Credits for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
April Kent for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Randy Stuart and Paul Langton in THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN with April Kent
Grant Williams for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN
Grant Williams for THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN

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