Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE


ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE (1958). Director: Bert I. Gordon.

"He turned your fiance into a doll!"

Gordon, who had already helmed The Amazing Colossal Man and its sequel War of the Colossal Beast -- not to mention The Cyclops -- switched from gigantism to miniaturization in this very lower-case Incredible Shrinking Man. A lonely, dotty toy maker, Mr. Franz (John Hoyt), doesn't like anyone -- even his secretaries -- to leave him, and shrinks them down to doll-size, where they stay in suspended animation in cases until he decides to revive them for parties and the like. [There are hints that Franz has shrunken the old mail man, but we never see the guy thereafter.] Franz' latest victims include receptionist Sally (June Kenny), salesman Bob (John Agar), and Laurie Mitchell, the Queen of Outer Space herself. Franz has an old friend, Emile (Michael Mark), who is a puppeteer, and the climax takes place in a theater where Emile is performing. [Emile is also a bit batty. He suggests that he and Franz have a night cap and says "I'll pick you up at noon." The cinematographer is Ernest Laszlo (!) and the score is by the ever-reliable Albert Glasser. There are a couple of mediocre songs, and an strange little girl who shows up at the toy maker's without any parents in sight. There's some suspense, the pic is watchable, and the effects are typically fair-to-middling.

Verdict: For those who think small. **1/2.

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