The Invisible Man (1933) Poster


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On the DVD short documentary, Claude Rains' daughter tells of a time when the two went to see this movie in the theater years after it was made. It was bitterly cold and his face was completely covered by a hat and scarf. When he spoke to ask for the tickets, the attendant immediately recognized his voice and wanted to let them in for free. Rains was quite upset at this and demanded that he pay full price.
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.
The first time Claude Rains' daughter ever saw her father in a movie was in 1950, when he took her to a showing of 'The Invisible Man' in a small Pennsylvanian theater. While the film was playing, Rains was telling his daughter all about how it was made. The other theater patrons stopped watching the movie and instead listened to Rains tell how it was made.
When screenwriter R.C. Sherriff came to Hollywood to write this film, he asked the staff at Universal for a copy of the H.G. Wells novel he was supposed to be adapting. They didn't have one; all they had were 14 "treatments" done by previous writers on the project, including one set in Czarist Russia and another set on Mars. Sherriff eventually found a copy of the novel in a secondhand bookstore, read it, thought it would make an excellent picture as it stood, and wrote a script that, unlike Universal's Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931), was a closer adaptation of the book.
According to the March 1975 issue of 'Films in Review', Robert Florey, Cyril Gardner, and Ewald André Dupont were all considered as director before James Whale was finally assigned.
Part of the original 'Shock Theater' package of 52 Universal titles released to television in 1957, followed a year later with 'Son of Shock', which added 20 more features.
Boris Karloff and Colin Clive were both originally considered to play the lead.
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By the calendar on the wall of the police station, around 1:01:28, it's the month of January. In the novel, the story begins in early February.
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Chester Morris was initially considered to play Dr. Arthur Kemp.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

According to information given on TCM before the movie is shown, Claude Rains was also chosen for the role because he spoke with such clarity and could be easily understood. This was important since his face was covered for almost the entire film.
Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains) is one of the most bloodthirsty villains of the old Universal horror films, with a total of four murders depicted directly on-screen, the murders of eighteen search-party members off-screen, and the derailment of a train which results in one hundred deaths. In total, Dr. Griffin kills 122 people before he is killed.
Although he has the lead in the film and his character is onscreen for 95% of the film, Claude Rains never actually "appears" onscreen until the very last moment.
Boris Karloff had been Universal's original choice for the role of the Invisible Man. He turned it down because he would not be seen on screen until the end. Director James Whale wanted someone with more of an "intellectual" voice than Karloff. He selected Claude Rains after accidentally hearing Rains' screen test being played in another room - until this film, Rains had primarily been a stage actor. Although he had appeared in one silent movie (Build Thy House (1920)), this was his first sound film.
The basic framework of the story and the characters' names are largely the same as in H.G. Wells' novel, but there are several great differences, including:
  • The novel takes place in the 1890s; the film takes place in 1933.
  • In the novel, Griffin remains almost a completely mysterious person, with no fiancée or friends; in the film, he is engaged to a woman and has the support of her father and his associate.
  • In the novel, Griffin is already insane before he makes himself invisible; in the film, it is the invisibility drug that causes his madness.
  • In the novel, Kemp lives; in the film, Griffin kills him.

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