To My Eyes…THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN from Arrow in the U.K.

I am glad I waited for this release, as I think it is, at this point, the definitive one. 4 Stars

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I have not seen the German Koch edition, which was discussed in a separate thread. This one is a fully-loaded disc that contains almost everything from the Koch (the interview with Jack Arnold was not included here), plus a boatload of other extras.

The black and white film from 1957 is presented here with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. For the most part it looks very good, but the image is variable. What I think represents reel 2 is a bit softer than the rest. Occasionally in motion the grain does not look natural, particularly in the early sequence aboard the yacht at which time an odd, metallic mist covers the protagonist, leading to his shrinking woes. But, for the most part everything seems very acceptable, even excellent. Black levels and shadow detail are good.

Hidden from view on the cover art is the fact that this edition features a commentary track by Tim Lucas, which is wall-to-wall, well-researched information, typical of his contributions. There is a lengthy documentary about Jack Arnold’s Universal career, narrated by Tom Weaver. As with the Koch edition, there is a 10-minute silent Castle Films digest edition that is in pretty rough shape — too bad they didn’t use the 17-minute Universal 8 sound edition. There are two trailers for the film, and an interview with Jack Arnold’s son. Finally, there is a beautiful 24-page booklet that includes an essay by Kim Newman.

The audio is uncompressed PCM mono. Optional English subtitles can be accessed. This is Region B locked.

I am glad I waited for this release, as I think it is, at this point, the definitive one. Perhaps Arrow will put out a U.S. edition that matches this

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Kevin Collins

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11 Comments

  1. Your description sounds to me exactly like the German release. There are a lot of opticals in this film, which means some shots will look better than others. It goes with the territory with a film like this. I would bet that they're the exact same transfers.

  2. Johnny Angell

    According to the product details on Amazon UK one of the extras is original super 8 home cinema version. I assume this means the films was released on super 8 to the home market. Not sure I see the value of this extra.

    Nostalgia for those of us who used to collect films this way pre-VHS and Laserdisc days. I have seen several discs including these over the past year so it seems to be a new trend in special features.

  3. Johnny Angell

    According to the product details on Amazon UK one of the extras is original super 8 home cinema version. I assume this means the films was released on super 8 to the home market. Not sure I see the value of this extra.

    As mentioned in my OP, this is the Castle Films 9 or 10-minute silent digest edition. It was later re-issued by the re-named Universal 8 at twice the length with sound, but that is not included on this Blu-ray.

  4. Bruce is 100% correct.

    Several years ago, we ran an original 35mm print from 1957. I was truly surprised at the level of grain throughout the film. The opticals were especially noisy.

  5. Bob Furmanek

    Bruce is 100% correct.

    Several years ago, we ran an original 35mm print from 1957. I was truly surprised at the level of grain throughout the film. The opticals were especially noisy.

    In that case, this disc looks excellent.

  6. Over the past three decades, I've handled and/or projected original 35mm year-of-release prints of the following U-I 1950's B&W features: Abbott and Costello Go To Mars, The Glass Web, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Land Unknown, The Mole People, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops, Tarantula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, Here Come the Nelsons, The Price of Fear, Man of a Thousand Faces, The Monolith Monsters and The Thing that Couldn't Die.

    I'm not sure what lab was doing their opticals (possibly Pathe) but they were always grainy. This dupe footage is edited directly into the 35mm camera negatives from cut to cut, thereby eliminating a visual jump in quality by suddenly appearing mid-scene. In other words, the intermediate footage lasts from the scene preceding to the scene immediately following the optical. Some of these shots can last well over a minute in duration and you can spot a fade or dissolve coming from a mile away.

    Shrinking Man is loaded with them!

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