Tomorrow: The Incredible Shrinking Man at The Belcourt

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Laugh if you want at the shrieking title, but the movie itself is a wonder — the most cosmic and visionary of ’50s sci-fi films, and the flip side of Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life as an expression of the decade’s dominant male fear of becoming small, insignificant and emasculated. Grant Williams plays the hero, reduced by a strange mist and a dusting of insecticide to a Ken-sized pocket warrior — prey for the family cat and a hungry spider in a dollhouse-scaled surrealist doomscape.

But in a staggering ending, the movie makes a leap into the realm of metaphysics as the hero becomes infinitesimal, and hence infinite: “The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet — like the closing of a gigantic circle.” The words are those of the legendary Richard Matheson, who adapted his own novel; Jack Arnold directed. Part of The Belcourt’s 100th anniversary celebration of Universal Pictures.

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