November 13th, 2014: The Invisible Woman (1940)

The Invisible Woman

Cast and Crew: Curt Siodmak (Story); Edward Brophy, Donald MacBride, Margaret Hamilton, Shemp Howard

What It’s About: Professor Gibbs (John Barrymore) puts an ad in the paper looking for a human test subject for his invisibility treatment.  Dress model Kitty Carroll (Virginia Bruce) responds to the ad, hoping to earn a few bucks (and get revenge on her boss).  Gibbs has troubles with his own boss-playboy Richard Russell (John Howard), who is busted after one too many lawsuits from women he burned.  The process is a success-but it’s not long before mobster Blackie (Oskar Homolka) sends his goons to kidnap the Professor and steal his machine, in the hopes that he will be able to return from exile in Mexico once he’s invisible.  Can Carroll use her new-found power to stop them?

Why Watch it Today?:  The original Invisible Man was released on this date in 1933.  The Invisible Woman was the film’s second sequel, and far more enjoyable than The Invisible Man Returns, which was a rehash of the first, only with a young Vincent Price in the Claude Rains role and a more heroic take on the lead.  Here the basic invisibility premise is married to a screwball comedy farce, with comedy gangsters and John Barrymore hamming it up for all he can, and the result is delightful, if not particularly groundbreaking.

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