Dr. Cyclops (1939)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/20/15
Cast: Albert Dekker

"Go away, you ridiculous fowl."

A technically impressive, but uninteresting science fiction adventure about a mad scientist named Dr. Thorkel (Albert Dekker) who invites some specialists to visit his lab in the jungles of South America and assist with his experiments. When the other scientists suspect that he's up to no good, Thorkel uses radiation to shrink them to a height of thirteen inches, and much mayhem ensues. Refusing to be used as guinea pigs for Thorkel's continued experiments, the shrunken people escape into the jungle and face a whole new set of problems.

The film uses a very effective combination of rear projection, optical printing, and practical sets to achieve the illusion of Thorkel interacting with the shrunken people, and Albert Dekker gives a delightfully menacing performance. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast plays it for laughs, which seriously diminishes their plight. The light-hearted tone is offset by Thorkel's violent outbursts, as he has no qualms about killing his guests, and the ferocity of his attacks is frightening at times. It's just unfortunate that none of the supporting characters are likable, which makes it hard to take the film seriously.