The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957, Jack Arnold)

screened Monday, February 19 2007 on VHS in Brooklyn NY IMDbThis film is a study in phases of cinematic storytelling, reflecting different stages of a man's progressive stages of physical degeneration and spirtual evolution. Once it gets past the talkative, expository setup, there's some rather compelling dramatic scenes where a surprisingly emotive Grant Williams plays out an impressive range of male frustration over his shrinkage. As his character becomes so small that he literally falls out of the view of his wife and friends, the male melodrama gives way to a more purely cinematic and action-packed storytelling mode, only intermittently intruded upon by his voice-over; human ego fulfillment gives way to sheer survivalism, battling against a cat and a spider. But even after those challenges have been surmounted, they are proven to be Pyrrhic victories... and then the film elides into an ending of unexpected transcendental splendor [spoilers]: [youtube]oH88FM4WaUQ[/youtube]

I was continuing to shrink, to become... what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being? Or was I the man of the future? If there were other bursts of radiation, other clouds drifting across seas and continents, would other beings follow me into this vast new world? So close - the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet - like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man's own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends in man's conception, not nature's. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist!

YES (#7 for 1957 between A KING IN NEW YORK and WHAT'S OPERA, DOC?)