Village of the Giants (1965)

Article #140 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-3-2001
Posting date: 12-17-2001

Several juvenile deliquent teens steal a substance concocted by Ronny Howard, boy genius, that causes animals to grow to many times their natural size. They consume the substance, and then use their new-found stature to take over the town.

That sound you hear is H.G. Wells rolling over in his grave. I haven’t read the novel on which this movie was based, but I’m willing to bet that very little of the novel ended up on the screen. It’s like one of those Disney comedies of the period (which I call shopping cart movies, in reference to a movie watched by some kids in the Joe Dante movie MATINEE), only with the emphasis on female anatomy; when the teens grow, the camera is clearly most interested in the girls popping out of their clothes, there is an overabundance of close-ups of wiggling derrieres during the dance scene (not to mention the shots of ducks wiggling their tale feathers), and the scene where the giant woman dances with the normal sized Johnny Crawford (he has to hang off her bra) is enough to cure you of several sexual fantasies. For the Disney crowd, there’s Ronny Howard and Tommy Kirk. Beau Bridges and choreographer Toni Basil are also on hand. Blame it all on Bert I. Gordon, who, not content with running this Wells novel through the wringer once, would go back to it eleven years later. Now I don’t have any real illusions about Bert I. Gordon; when I see his name in the credits, I adjust my expectations accordingly. But in general, he tended to set his vision to a somewhat higher level of sophistication and taste than he did this time around.

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