Working in Dr. Cranley's laboratory, scientist Jack Griffin was always given the latitude to conduct some of his own experiments. His sudden departure, however, has Cranley's daughter Flora worried about him. Griffin has taken a room at the nearby Lion's Head Inn, hoping to reverse an experiment he conducted on himself that made him invisible. Unfortunately, the drug he used has also warped his mind, making him aggressive and dangerous. He's prepared to do whatever it takes to restore his appearance, and several will die in the process. Written by
garykmcd / edited by statmanjeff
In order to achieve the effect that Claude Rains wasn't there when his character took off the bandages, James Whale had Rains dressed completely in black velvet and filmed him in front of a black velvet background. See more »
When Griffin first visits Kemp, he locks the library door and puts the key in his pocket, but when Kemp leaves at the end of the scene, he easily opens the door which is now unlocked. See more »
Man in Pub:
Did you hear about Mrs. Mason's little Willy? Sent him to school and found him buried ten-foot deep in a snow drift.
Man in Pub # 2:
How did they get him out?
Man in Pub:
Brought the fire engine 'round, put the hose pipe in, pumped it backwards and sucked him out.
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The opening credits appear out of thin air. See more »
It was his first major film role, and he only appeared at the tale end of the movie for a minute - as a corpse! But Claude Rains was made as of that moment, though it would be awhile before he actually ceased being a villain in all of his films.
James Whale's THE INVISIBLE MAN is possibly the best of the early Universal horror series of the 1930s. FRANKENSTEIN and Dracula (both English and Spanish versions) are great films too, but the threat of Jack Griffin's discovery of invisibility makes the other two seem quaint as threats. One can run from Frankenstein, and one can stay indoors at night with a handy cross or garlic available. But how does one fully protect oneself against someone who is physically strong, mentally smart, and totally determined to kill you if you cannot see him? It's not easy, especially if the goal of this monster is to rule over others. As he puts it, he wishes to have the world grovel at his feet.
In the novel, Griffin's personality is shown to be so selfish from the start that one can tell that no matter what discovery he would have made he would have misused it for power. He has no redeeming features at all. However, his omnipotence is sort of curbed in one way that is not the case in the film. A character is invented by Wells (who is not in the movie) that Griffin frightens into serving as a slave or servant. The character manages to run off with Griffin's chemistry lab and chemicals, as well as Griffin's notebooks. As a result he is trapped in his invisibility, and can't get out of this situation until the novel ends.
The film does have some classic moments of humor (Whale liked to add black humor to his films). When a woman runs screaming down the lane at night followed by an empty pair of pants skipping along reciting "here we go gathering nuts in May" is one. So (more darkly) is during a massive search for Griffin, after he causes a train disaster. One of the volunteers, slightly apart from the others, is grabbed and thrown down and choked. Rains/Griffin, in speaking, says, "Here I am...AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU FOUND ME?!!" It is a chilling moment.
A wonderful blend of thrills and comedy, surrounding a science fiction tale of constant interest, this film never disappoints. I give it a 10 for entertainment value. For helping awaken viewers to reading the works of Herbert George Wells, I'd give it a 12.
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