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The Invisible Ray (1936)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  20 January 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,405 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 28 critic

A scientist becomes murderous after discovering, and being exposed to the radiation of, a powerful new element called Radium X.



(screenplay), (original story), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Dr. Janos Rukh (as Karloff)
Frances Drake ...
Frank Lawton ...
Ronald Drake
Violet Kemble Cooper ...
Mother Rukh
Walter Kingsford ...
Sir Francis Stevens
Lady Arabella Stevens
Professor Meiklejohn (Mendelssohn in end credits)
Paul Weigel ...
Monsieur Noyer
Georges Renavent ...
Chief of the Surete (as Georges Renevant)


Visionary scientist Janos Rukh convinces a group of scientists and supporters to mount an expedition to the African continent to locate and study an ancient meteorite of great significance. He exposes himself to the highly toxic radiation of the meteorite, and while an antidote devised by Dr. Benet saves him from death by radiation poisoning, his naked touch causes instant death to others. Back in London, the benefits of the meteorite's controlled radiation offer Dr. Benet an opportunity to restore eyesight to the blind. The antidote's toxicity excites Prof. Rukh into paranoid rages as he seeks revenge against the members of his expedition, who he accuses of stealing his discovery for their own glory. Written by Sister Grimm <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In his brain - the world's most powerful secret! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le rayon invisible  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Noiseless Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In 1986 actress Frances Drake recalled that the crew played a joke on star Karloff. They raised him up on a platform that was intended to lower him down into the radium pit. They raised him up high over the pit and left him there when they broke for lunch. According to Drake, the actor was a good sport about it. See more »


After Bela Lugosi takes an ultraviolet photo of the eyes of the deceased Sir Francis Stevens and turns out the bright light, Sir Francis is clearly seen blinking his eyes and moving fingers on his right hand again. See more »


Dr. Felix Benet: You observe: those finger marks cannot be seen in the light!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end: "A Universal Cast is Worth Repeating." This credit appeared on many Universal films of that era, not just "The Invisible Ray". It did not, however, appear on the cast list for the 1936 "Show Boat", which Universal also made. See more »


The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played on an organ after the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

6 May 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

With a special telescope, Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) successfully proves that years ago a meteorite landed in Africa containing an unknown, but extremely powerful element. Dr. Benet(Bela Lugosi) form an expedition led by Rukh to locate the element. Unexpectedly, Rukh discovers "Radium X,", even more powerful than radium and very radioactive and Karloff becomes contaminated and can kill anyone by just touching them. The sparks really fly between Lugosi and Karloff in this classic science-fiction film during the post-World War II era. Director Hillyer used a few standing sets from "FLASH GORDON" series which was being filmed at the same time and also inserted some footage of electrical machines from Frankenstein. Universal kept the public unaware of the special effects being used in this great classic film. Karloff and Lugosi were at their very best and they both enjoyed working together and will be enjoyed by future generations.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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