Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Invisible Man (1933)

The Invisible Man

Written by R.C. Sherriff
Directed by James Whale
Based on the novel by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man...Claude Rains
Flora Cranley...Gloria Stuart
Dr. Arthur Kemp...William Harrigan

Scientist Jack Griffin likes to dabble in things “that man should leave alone.” Instead of concentrating on his assignment—helping to prevent botulism—he’s been focusing his attention on a secret experiment that can turn a man invisible. Forget nausea, headaches and insomnia. The only side effects here are the inability to become visible and an ever-so-slight twinge of insanity.

Griffin enlists the help of his frightened co-worker Kemp as he plots a reign of terror the likes of which the world has never seen. And never will see, if you get my drift. But after he murders a policeman, a lynch mob is organized to bring him down.

The horror element is a bit tame by today’s standards, but you can only imagine the audience’s reaction when this film was originally released and Griffin removed his bandages for the first time. They had probably never seen anything like it. The special effects are actually quite astonishing considering the era, especially when the invisible man sparks up a cigarette.

The dialogue, unfortunately, suffers by Griffin’s need to narrate his actions while he’s invisible so that the audience is clued in to what’s going on: “I think I’ll throttle you now” and “I’ll strangle you. I’m strong, you understand?” But the most memorable line has got to be from the police chief as Griffin reveals his invisible visage: “Look! He’s all eaten away.”

It’s also very well thought out, describing the nuances of invisibility. Digesting food can be seen in his stomach, rain and acclimate weather can give away his position, etc. These are, for the most part, discussed and not demonstrated, as they would later be by Chevy Chase in Memoirs of an Invisible Man.

This is one of my favorite Universal classic monster flicks, and a damn good grassroots spookshow.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: Screaming Mimi; Mouth off; Beaten by a book; Lion’s head; Invisible Hef; Hotwheels;

Not Rated
71 Minutes
Black & White
United States

"The drugs I took seemed to light up my brain."

1 comment:

  1. Great pick, man... one of MY fave Universal pics, too. Great J's think alike.


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