Film (1940). Paramount. Directed by Ernest B Schoedsack. Written by Tom Kilpatrick. Cast includes Thomas Coley, Albert Dekker, Charles Halton and Janice Logan. 75 minutes. Colour.
A Mad Scientist in the Peruvian jungle is using radioactivity to Miniaturize living things, and shrinks some US explorers who find his laboratory to an average height of 12in (30cm). Made by the director of King Kong (1933), Dr Cyclops is a fast-paced, visually inventive film (though the dialogue is leaden), largely taken up by desperate efforts to survive a series of perils. Dekker's portrayal of the ruthless Dr Thorkel – shaven head, bulky body, thick-lensed glasses – as the "god" toying sadistically with his little creations before casually destroying them is truly menacing; whether by design or accident, he resembles what was to become the caricature of the "beastly Jap" during World War Two. The illusion of miniaturization – supervised by Farciot Edouart, one of the innovators in that area of trick photography – is very convincing. The novelization, Dr Cyclops (1940), was published under the House Name Will Garth, and was probably the work of Alexander Samalman. [JB/PN]
see also: Great and Small.
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