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Dr. Cyclops [VHS] (1940)

Albert Dekker , Thomas Coley , Ernest B. Schoedsack  |  Unrated |  VHS Tape
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Albert Dekker, Thomas Coley, Janice Logan, Charles Halton, Victor Kilian
  • Directors: Ernest B. Schoedsack
  • Writers: Malcolm Stuart Boylan, Tom Kilpatrick
  • Producers: Dale Van Every, Merian C. Cooper, William LeBaron
  • Format: Black & White, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Ho
  • VHS Release Date: August 27, 1992
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301257049
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,263 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Special effects took a clever step forward with the release of Paramount's Dr. Cyclops in 1940. This wasn't the first movie to deal with the miniaturization of human beings (The Bride of Frankenstein and The Devil Doll addressed the issue earlier), but it was the first to devote its visual effects to depicting the dangers of being tiny in a full-scale world. Introducing themes and images that would later be perfected in The Incredible Shrinking Man, the story is set in a remote Peruvian jungle, where the bald, bespectacled mad scientist Dr. Thorkel (Albert Dekker) uses his secret "radium machine" to reduce humans to one-fifth normal size.

When two American explorers stumble upon the doctor's lab, they're captured and shrunken, suddenly finding that cats, chickens, and even raindrops now pose a deadly threat to their survival. The doctor and his experiments must be destroyed, and the film winds down to a predictable conclusion. Dr. Cyclops is now merely a curio for science fiction fans, but it's blessed with the same spirit of adventure and innovation that was gloriously evident in director Ernest B. Schoedsack's best-known previous film, the original King Kong. Photographed in three-strip Technicolor, Dr. Cyclops earned an Academy Award nomination for its visual effects (losing the Oscar to The Thief of Baghdad), and remains an enjoyable milestone in imaginative cinema. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi classic of the 40's April 22, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This is a classic. If many of its themes are a cliche today, it is only because this film was one of the first to use them. The visual effects still hold up well. Conventional techniques like rear-screen projection were used to maximum effect and are not obvious despite the color photography, still a novelty in 1941. The basic concept of miniaturizing living creatures via exposure to radium is, of course, scientifically naive, but director Ernest Schoedsack did his best to give it a weird plausibility. The directing, acting and editing are all fine. On the other hand, the dialogue is rather weak (my reason for not giving it 5 stars) - one need only to compare it with the dialogue Schoedsack's own "King Kong" of 1933. Albert Dekker, as Dr. Thorkel, has the best lines and the best acting role; the others did well with the material they had. Overall, this is much superior to the movies of the fifties and sixties with similar themes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SURPRISINGLY GOOD EFFECTS FOR THE PERIOD November 2, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
There's simply no way you can compare a movie from the 1940's in terms of special effects with todays CGI-laden fare. That said Dr. Cyclops uses eveything it can to create this effective sci-fi thriller.

The story involves "Mad Scientist" Dr. Thorkel (Albert Dekker) who summons three scientists (Thomas Coley, Janice Logan, Charles Halton) to his remote South American laboratory to seek their advice on his secret project. Along the way they are forced to bring muleskinner (Victor Kilian) along.

It turns out that the evil doctor has discovered the secret of miniaturization. To prevent them from cashing in on his discovery Thorkel shrinks the three scientists, the muleskinner and nosey local Pedro (Frank Yaconelli) to miniscule size. The rest of the film chronicles their efforts to escape.

Again...the effects really take the game in this movie...utilizing clever camera tricks, miniatures, and over-sized props, the film really does a great job in showing these shrunken victims and the perils they encounter trying to escape.

This is a thoughtful, interesting, and fun film. Definitely keep more than one eye open when viewing this film!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
It's hard to believe that I never saw this film as a kid! I never missed the weekly sci-fi/horror films on TV Saturday night and afternoon but , for some reason I never got around to this one. I was in a nostalgic mood this Halloween and wanted to watch some of my old favorites. I decided to watch this film as a starter for my Halloween horror marathon. It is a nice surprise to watch something so old that you have never seen and for the most part this film did not disappoint me. It has good special effects and typical story line but it just wasn't familiar to me and that is why I give it 3 stars. I can understand other reviewer's giving this a higher rating because they grew up with it and it is special to each of them. This is available on DVD on Ultimate Sci-Fi classic collection volume 2. The DVD transfer and print are really nice!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Cyclops - Classic Stuff February 7, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I really like this movie. A little campy, but good story line, decent special effects... a classic. When will we get a DVD version with added features???
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining March 19, 2006
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this movie.

There are some really cool scenes like when Dr. Cyclops puts on his helmet and turns on his cool machine. It gives a really eerie effect.

The actor who plays the doctor is very well cast and must certainly go down as one of the classic villains in horror history.

The down side is it takes what could be a true story (shrinking people) and puts in things that are impossible.

For example Doc Cyclops first dresses his little friends in very simple clothes made out of hankerchiefs.

But somehow in just a few hours they inexplicibly stack up a bunch of books that are bigger than they are to open the door and then create all new cloths for themselves. These aren't just simple clothes either like the girl has a nice blue dress.

Also when they do this it seems like they are actually enjoying themselves like they are having a good time.

But after that it gets more realistic again.

Except for those few things I mentioned above this is a believeable story and could really happen.

Recommended further viewing:

The Manster
The Thing (from another world)
The Four Skulls Of Jonathan Drake
Horror Hotel
The Blob (with Steve McQueen)
The Flesh Eaters
The Indestructible Man
The Brain That Wouldn't Die
Not Of This Earth (original)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
IT ! (The Terror From Beyond Space)
Invasion Of The Saucer Men
The Hideous Sun Demon
The Fly / The Return Of The Fly / The Curse Of The Fly

Jeff Marzano

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
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