ABNA Winners and The Incredible Shrinking Man

Firstly, I was 0 for 2 in my ABNA winner predictions. The winner in the General Fiction category was East of Denver and in the Young Adult Fiction category, Spookygirl. So, even though I did say I picked Dog Christ narrowly over East of Denver, and Spookygirl would have been my second choice, still 0 for 2. Bummer.

Posting early this week, as an experiment to see if I can generate any more traffic in the middle of the week rather than on the weekend. If so, I’ll change my posting schedule. Now that I am Retired, (capital “R”), I can do that.

One of the people I follow on Twitter is Roger Ebert. He is a very good writer, and is straight forward about his condition and how it affects his life. He has a way of writing that is clear, unpretentious, and sometimes so beautiful and honest, it is very touching. He can also be mildly obscene and funny too. His blog today was called the Incredible Shrinking Man, and dealt with the fact that sometimes, well, almost always, we shrink as we get older, and he has lost about 2 ½ inches of his height.

The post was littered with pictures from the film, The Incredible Shrinking Man, filmed in 1957 and starring Grant Williams and April Kent. This is one of those movies that has always stuck with me, a true horror film, so unbelievably scary it makes my heart pound even now thinking how afraid I was when I watched it back then. Here is a snippet from the movie – Viewer discretion advised!

Scott Carey (who is 6 ft 1 in) is on a boat with his wife, Louise, when he is surrounded by a peculiar mist, which turns out to be an atomic waste fog. Louise is below deck, rustling up some “refreshments”. Wasn’t that always the way in the 50’s? The womenfolk providing the vittles, while the guy stayed above board? But in this case, Louise is the clear winner, because she avoids the mist.

Six months later, Scott notices his shirts seem too big. He suspects it must be a dry cleaner malfunction at first and doesn’t think much of it. But he continues to get shorter, and lose weight, until he can no longer deny it. He’s shrinking. He is told that all of his cells are shrinking and there is no cure, he will always be the size he now is (about three foot tall at this point) but is given an antidote, which may halt it and seems to work. But the antidote stops working after awhile and he continues to shrink.

He sells his story to the media, and so becomes a curiosity, with reporters lurking in the front lawn day after day. Finally, he lives in a doll house, and is accosted by the family cat, gets chased into the basement where he has to fight a spider to the death. In the end, he crawls through a square in a screen and the ending narrative says, basically, I may be small, but I still matter.

This movie is effective because many scenes start with a shot of Scott, and then pans away so you see him in relation to other people, furniture, etc. and you see how much smaller he’s become since the last scene. It’s shocking, done that way. The movie is funny in that 50’s way we laugh at now, but this movie is one that I have never forgotten, probably because it scared me so much when I was a little kid.

It’s a great piece of film noir, I just had to share it. Movies have come a long way, but this one still has impact, and, in fact, has a bit of a cult appeal. Even watching the sample here, made me feel the way I did back then. Scary!

This brought to mind other movies I had watched at The Haven Theater in Olean, New York, with my grandmother. I can remember snippets of some of them but not enough that I can Google to find out what the actual titles were.

One I’ve never forgotten starred a dark-haired actress, and she was evil and an alcoholic. There was also a lovely blonde woman (Doris Day maybe?) in the film and the Evil Brunette and the Good Blonde (oh, isn’t that always the way), are in love with the same man, and when the EB learns the man has chosen the GB, she throws something and it overturns a candle, starts a fire and the house burns down and she dies (I think). But GB’s house is right next door and I think it’s called The Pink Palace. It burns too. Does anyone remember this movie?

One thought on “ABNA Winners and The Incredible Shrinking Man

  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than
    that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I will
    certainly be back.

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