DR. CYCLOPS (director: Ernest B. Schoedsak; screenwriter: from the story by Henry Kuttner using the pseudonym Will Garth/Tom Kilpatrick; cinematographer: Winton C. Hoch/Henry Sharp; editor: Ellsworth Hoagland; music: Gerard Carbonara/Albert Hay Malotte/Ernest Toch; cast: Albert Dekker (Dr Alexander Thorkel), Thomas Coley (Bill Stockton), Janice Logan (Mary Robinson), Charles Halton (Dr Rupert Bulfinch), Victor Killian (Steve Baker), Frank Yaconelli (Pedro), Paul Fix (Dr. Mendoza); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Merian C. Cooper/Dale Van Every; MCA/Universal Home Video; 1940)
“Albert Dekker is marvelous as the eccentric biologist.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A mad scientist Technicolor B horror film directed with delirious charm byErnest B. Schoedsak (“Mighty Joe Young”/”The Son of King Kong), who was codirector of “King Kong.” It’s based on the story by Henry Kuttner using the pseudonym Will Garth, the screenplay is by Tom Kilpatrick. Albert Dekker is marvelous as the eccentric biologist, the world’s greatest living authority on organic molecular structure, Dr. Thorkal a.k.a. Dr. Cyclops (the one-eyed Titan in Homer’s cave myth), who is in the Amazon jungle, in Peru, doing research on the invite of his former student Dr. Mendoza (Paul Fix). Through the use of uranium deposits found nearby in a mine, the scientist discovers a method to shrink people and animals to only a few inches. When Mendoza accuses him of trying to play God and rails against the experiments, Thorkal eliminates him. Because of failing eyesight, the Coke bottle bespectacled noted scientist invites scientists Dr. Mary Robinson (Janice Logan), Dr. Rupert Bulfinch (Charles Halton), and engineer mineralogist Bill Stockton (Thomas Coley) to come from faraway to his workplace in the jungle and look under the microscope to detect a flaw in his experiment. Also tagging along on his own insistence is adventurer Steve Baker (Victor Killian), whose mules are used to take them into the remote jungle laboratory of Thorkal’s. The scientists look at the slides and give Thorkal the answer he’s looking for to correct his mistakes. When they refuse to leave as he abruptly requests, they are tricked into going into his chamber in his cellar along with Thorkal’s servant Pedro (Frank Yaconelli) of the last five months and are shrunk to miniatures. When the scientist learns that soon the vic’s will regain their original size, he suffocates to death Bulfinch and the frightened others escape. It boils down to the miniatures breaking the scientist’s specs, except for one lens in his last remaining pair. The mad one-eyed scientist chases after the remaining survivors, until they get him to fall to his death down a mine shaft.
The film is enlivened by the brilliant performance of Dekker, even though the supporting cast offers little support. It’s one of those bad films that is good because it’s so much fun, and its noteworthy trick photography is effectively used for its dazzling special effects–way before the use of CGI. It serves as a minor horror classic.
REVIEWED ON 10/8/2006 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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