The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

Article #835 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-28-2003
Posting Date: 11-25-2003
Directed by Joe May
Featuring Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price, Nan Grey

A man about to be executed for the murder of his brother becomes invisible in order to get free to prove his innocence.

Title check: The title is a bit misleading, as the invisible man in this one is a different person than the one in the original, but I don’t see how they could have come up with a title that reflected that concept that wouldn’t have been pretty clumsy.

This sequel to the original THE INVISIBLE MAN has some nice points and some weak points. I’m a little disappointed with the cast; Sir Cedric Hardwicke never really develops a character (the script really doesn’t give him much of a chance), and Vincent Price is only so-so in the title role, though I think at later stages in his career after he had more experience under his belt, he would’ve been excellent. As it is, the scenes of his madness are never as convincing or enticing as Claude Rains’s scenes in the original; in fact, overall, I think this movie is largely better when it follows its own path and ignores the original movie than when it tries to emulate that one. On the plus side, the police investigation shows that the police have learned a thing or two from having dealt with an invisible man in the past (the policeman’s trick with the cigar smoke makes for a very effective scene), and there are at least two other memorable sequences here, one involving a fight on a track hauling bins of coal, and another in which the invisible man borrows the trappings of a scarecrow (Price’s most effective scene here). All in all, a fairly uneven sequel to a classic.

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