September 21st, 2011: The Invisible Man (1933)

Cast and Crew
: James Whale (Director); Preston Sturges (Contributing Writer); Carl Laemmle Jr. (Producer); Jack P. Pierce (Make-up Artist); Una O’Connor, E.E. Clive, Walter Brennan, John Carradine, Dwight Frye

What It’s About:  A scientist (Claude Rains) takes an experimental chemical in an attempt to impress his boss, Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers), into giving him approval to marry Flora Cranley (Gloria Stuart).  The serum works, makes the man invisible, but he can’t reverse the process.  The Invisible Man goes into hiding in an inn, hoping to find a cure, but what he does not realize is that Cranley’s serum drove all the test animals insane.

The Invisible Man begins terrorizing a small town with simple pranks which escalate into an attempt to force ex-associate Kemp (William Harrigan) to aid him in ruling the world.  When Kemp balks the Invisible Man goes ahead with his plans alone.  Can the police stop the Invisible Man before he kills Kemp?

Why Watch it Today?:  H.G. Wells, who wrote the original novel today’s film is based upon, was born today in 1866.  Wells was responsible for a great many of the sci-fi tropes and ideas now considered classic and/or routine. The Invisible Man was one of the earliest films based on his work, with amazing-for-the-time special effects by John P. Fulton and an outstanding, if mostly vocal, performance by Claude Rains as the title character.

Where to Get It: Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and Vudu

3 comments on “September 21st, 2011: The Invisible Man (1933)

  1. Danny says:

    I was thinking about writing something about this myself this month for Halloween. Raines gives such a great performance that’s only vocals, and a lot of the visuals (that don’t involve strings) still look good.

    • professormortis says:

      It’s been a long time since I last watched it, but I do remember being impressed by the non-string effects. I don’t think I’ve seen a bad performance by Raines yet.

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