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The Invisible Ray (1936)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  20 January 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,403 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


Delving into new, strange fields of mystery! 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?


The scene of Boris Karloff being lowered into the pit containing the Radium X meteor was reused in a 1939 Universal serial, "The Phantom Creeps," starring Bela Lugosi. Karloff essentially "doubled" for Lugosi in the sequence since in "The Phantom Creeps" it was Lugosi who was lowered into the pit. See more »


The opening view of the Carpathian castle shows a starry sky. Stars are again seen through the telescope opening in the observatory roof. But there is highly inclement weather in other parts of the opening scenes. Diana and Mother Rukh are witness to much lightning and thunder. Plus, there is fog and howling winds when the car arrives with Dr. Benet and company. See more »


Ronald Drake: Diana, my dear, there are no such things as curses!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The character of "Professor Meiklejohn," correct in the opening credits, is listed as "Professor Mendelssohn" in the closing credits. See more »


Referenced in Cinemassacre's Monster Madness: The Walking Dead (2014) 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

Delightful movie, great acting performance, laughable science
2 November 2005 | by (Chesapeake, VA) – See all my reviews

The Invisible Ray is an excellent display of both the acting talents of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Karloff pulls off a flawless performance as a sullen and conflicted scientist who appears to put his scientific achievements ahead of his relationships with others, even his wife. His already loner personality becomes unbearable as he becomes paranoid.

Lugosi plays the consummate professional, who is passionate about his work but still finds time to maintain on good terms with everyone, but still seems to have no real close friends. This was one of his few roles as a good guy and he plays it very well. It is hard, however to hear his accent and believe he is French.

The biggest problem with the movie was that it was all based on "junk science" but, in a way, even the junk science makes it work well. Since the ideas and theories are completely idiotic, they are as "relevant" today as they were when the movie was made. And they are also as forward reaching- and always will be.

This is a perfectly delightful movie to watch again and again. I saw it maybe 5 times this weekend and I could easily sit through it five more times. The acting is marvelous and the science is amusing. I highly recommend it.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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