The Invisible Man (1933)

Article #79 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 6-3-2001
Posting date: 10-17-2001

A man who has managed to turn himself invisible is desperately searching for an antidote to his condition. Unfortunately, the drug that made him invisible is also causing him to go mad, and he turns to using his power to take over the world.

When I was a child, I discovered that one of the local TV stations was running a show called “Creature Feature” on Saturday nights. This show sounded like a lot of fun, and I decided I was going to stay up late and watch it. My first attempt to watch the show ended with my falling asleep, as the movie that night, though a classic, was deliberately paced and fairly adult. Undaunted, I tried again next week. This time, they showed THE INVISIBLE MAN, and I easily kept awake. I was hooked. This movie was my real entry into the world of horror/science fiction/fantasy cinema.

This is another fine James Whale movie, and one of the few invisible man movies that really explores the potential for both terror and comedy inherent to the theme. It made Claude Rains a star (though not an instantly recognizable face), and he has a field day with the role. One can see it as a transitional picture between the two Frankenstein movies Whale directed, and it can be as tense and serious as the original or as witty as the sequel. The special effects are outstanding, and it would be decades before any real advances were made in invisible man effects. Then there’s Una O’Connor, warming up for her role in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan (as the cowardly but doomed Dr. Kemp), and Henry Travers. And, if you keep your eyes and ears open, you can spot Dwight Frye, Walter Brennan, and John Carradine in small parts.

Though I can’t remember it word for word, it has one of my favorite quotes. “We’ll commit murders. Murders of big men, murders of little men. Just to show we make no distinction.”

Oh, and the classic movie during which I fell asleep? I’ll be touching upon that one shortly.

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