One day left until Halloween. I figured today would be another good day to watch a class Universal monster film. This time I went with The Invisible Man. It stars Claude Rains who was also in The Wolf Man as well as Gloria Stuart. She played the old lady in Titanic. She’s not quite as old here. Her father is played by Henry Travers who most people remember as Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life. Today is a spoiler filled review so no running commentary. Let’s get right to it.
Jack Griffin has made himself invisible. He stays at an inn to work on his experiment some more to become visible again. Jack is covered with bandages and has dark goggles on so we can’t tell he’s invisible. The people working at the inn become annoyed with Jack since he’s kind of a jerk. Jack starts to abuse the people working there a little bit so they get the police. This leads to one of the best scenes of the film where Jack reveals he’s an invisible. I love the cop named Jaffers. “He’s invisible.” He says it so nonchalantly. Jack escapes to Dr. Kemp’s place. He tells him of his plans to kill world leaders and stuff. According to Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers) a drug he used in his formula has altered his mind in a negative way. The perils of science. Dr. Kemp agrees to help Jack for a little bit, but he doesn’t like having him there. Dr. Cranley’s daughter (Gloria Stuart) is the romantic interest of Jack. It’s hard to see their relationship in this film though (pun intended). The police are hunting for Jack. I just realized that Gloria Stuart must have something for guys named Jack. Many attempts are made at Jack, but the police are pretty incompetent. Use your guns! Fools! Jack threatens to kill Dr. Kemp, so the police try to plan a trap for them. It doesn’t go well and Dr. Kemp is send down a hill in a car. Jack makes the mistake of sleeping in a barn where an old guy finds him. The cops surround the barn and light it on fire. It was snowing outside so they could see his tracks. They finally shoot him! He dies in the hospital telling Rose Dawson that he’ll never let go. Actually, he says he shouldn’t have tampered too much with science. He dies and becomes visible again. We finally get to see Claude Rains’ face!
This film actually has a lot of fun characters. Claude Rains is awesome as Jack, the Invisible Man. He has a high energy level, and all his little speeches are outstanding. He has a perfect voice for the part. I already mentioned that I liked Jaffers. Dr. Kemp and Dr. Cranley play their parts well. It was neat to see Henry Travers play something besides Clarence. There’s a really annoying woman that worked in the inn. Every time something happened she would scream. It’s so fucking annoying that it’s hilarious. What’s her problem haha. The Invisible Man should have killed her. He actually gets a pretty good body count during this film. I think they said he killed a hundred in a train crash.
They are amazing. This is 1933. Talkie films had just started only a few years before. The fact they could pull off so many great effects in 1933 is just mindboggling. I could be underestimating their talents. I often wondered throughout the film how they pulled off making him invisible. I know some scenes required wires and matte processes, but it’s cool to think about. I’m sure it’s a lot easier today with computers. Back then they had it rough, but they did it well.
This is an outstanding film. One of the best in the Universal catalog. Claude Rains performance really heightens the experience. I’m glad they didn’t go with Boris Karloff for this film. I love Karloff, but I don’t think he would have brought the energy that Rains did. I highly suggest checking out The Invisible Man. It’s on Netflix, so you people should watch it if you have that. Go buy the DVD or you have to as well. It’s worth it.
- Halloween Havoc 2013 Day 28: The Wolf Man (1941) (thegreatnodnarb.wordpress.com)
- The Icons of Fright and the House That Spawned Them (Column) (popmatters.com)
- Invisible Man Denies Being No-Show On Capitol Hill (grimmreport.com)