MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 10,318 this week

The Invisible Ray (1936)

6.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,205 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 24 critic

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (original story), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.


Related News

Remembering Boris Karloff
| Den of Geek
Beware Take Care Bela Beware
| FilmExperience

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 48 titles
created 05 Nov 2010
 
a list of 23 titles
created 24 Nov 2010
 
a list of 32 titles
created 04 Mar 2011
 
a list of 30 titles
created 22 Aug 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Invisible Ray (1936)

The Invisible Ray (1936) on IMDb 6.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Invisible Ray.
1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sci-Fi | Horror | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi
Before I Hang (1940)
Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A physician on death row for a mercy killing is allowed to experiment on a serum using a criminals' blood, but secretly tests it on himself. He gets a pardon, but finds out he's become a Jekyll-&-Hyde.

Director: Nick Grinde
Stars: Boris Karloff, Evelyn Keyes, Bruce Bennett
Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Dr. Savaard's experiment in cryonics is interrupted by the short-sighted authorities, his volunteer dies, and he is condemned to death. He vows vengeance if he can survive his own hanging.

Director: Nick Grinde
Stars: Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox
The Devil Bat (1940)
Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A mad scientist develops an aftershave lotion that causes his gigantic bats to kill anyone who wears it.

Director: Jean Yarbrough
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Suzanne Kaaren, Dave O'Brien
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An Egyptian high priest travels to America to reclaim the bodies of ancient Egyptian princess Ananka and her living guardian mummy Kharis. Learning that Ananka^Òs spirit has been ... See full summary »

Director: Reginald Le Borg
Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Robert Lowery
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When Ygor brings the monster to Dr. Ludwig Frankenstein for care, Ludwig gets the idea of replacing the monster's current criminal brain, with a normal brain.

Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Cedric Hardwicke, Lon Chaney Jr., Ralph Bellamy
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An eccentric scientist helps a fugitive from the law become invisible, unwittingly giving him the power to exact revenge on his former friends.

Director: Ford Beebe
Stars: Jon Hall, Leon Errol, John Carradine
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When an errant bomb unearths the coffin of a vampire during the London Blitz, a gravedigger unknowingly reanimates the monster by removing the stake from his heart

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Frieda Inescort, Nina Foch
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Ghengis Khan. They have to get there fast, as the evil genius Dr. Fu Manchu is also searching, and if he gets the mysteriously powerful relics, he and ... See full summary »

Directors: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor
Stars: Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley
White Zombie (1932)
Certificate: Passed Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiance, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director: Victor Halperin
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn
The Climax (1944)
Horror | Musical | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A demented physician becomes obsessed with a young singer whose voice sounds similar to his late mistress.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: Boris Karloff, Susanna Foster, Turhan Bey
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Hungarian countess Marya Zaleska seeks the aid of a noted psychiatrist, in hopes of freeing herself of a mysterious evil influence.

Director: Lambert Hillyer
Stars: Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dr. Janos Rukh (as Karloff)
...
Frances Drake ...
Diane Rukh
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)
Edit

Storyline

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 <srgrimm@teleport.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Delving into new, strange fields of mystery! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le rayon invisible  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Noiseless Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

The wedding scene between Frank Lawton and Frances Drake takes place in a Roman Catholic cathedral in France, but the text of the wedding service ("With all my worldly goods I thee endow") is taken from the Book of Common Prayer of the (Protestant) Church of England. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Monster of Terror (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Another minor classic with Boris and Bela

There is no doubt that during the decade of the 30s, the names of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi became a sure guarantee of excellent performances in high quality horror films. After being Universal's "first monster" in the seminal classic, "Dracula", Bela Lugosi became the quintessential horror villain thanks to his elegant style and his foreign accent (sadly, this last factor would also led him to be type-casted during the 40s). In the same way, Boris Karloff's performance in James Whale's "Frankenstein" transformed him into the man to look for when one wanted a good monster. Of course, it was only natural for these icons to end up sharing the screen, and the movie that united them was 1934's "The Black Cat". This formula would be repeated in several films through the decade, and director Lambert Hillyer's mix of horror and science fiction, "The Invisible Ray", is another of those minor classics they did in those years.

In "The Invisible Ray", Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) is a brilliant scientist who has invented a device able to show scenes of our planet's past captured in rays of light coming from the galaxy of Andromeda. While showing his invention to his colleagues, Dr. Felix Benet (Bela Lugosi) and Sir Francis Stevens (Walter Kingsford), they discover that thousands of years ago, a meteor hit in what is now Nigeria. After this marvelous discovery, Dr. Rukh decides to join his colleagues in an expedition to Africa, looking for the landing place of the mysterious meteor. This expedition won't be any beneficial for Rukh, as during the expedition his wife Diane (Frances Drake) will fall in love with Ronald Drake (Frank Lawton), an expert hunter brought by the Stevens to aid them in their expedition. However, Rukh will lose more than his wife in that trip, as he'll be forever changed after being exposed to the invisible ray of the meteor.

Written by John Colton (who previously did the script for "Werewolf of London"), "The Invisible Ray" had its roots on an original sci-fi story by Howard Higgin and Douglas Hodges. Given that this was a movie with Karloff and Lugosi, Colton puts a lot of emphasis on the horror side of his story, playing in a very effective way with the mad scientist archetype and adding a good dose of melodrama to spice things up. One element that makes "The Invisible Ray" to stand out among other horror films of that era, is the way that Colton plays with morality through the story. That is, there aren't exactly heroes and villains in the classic style, but people who make decisions and later face the consequences of those choices. In many ways, "The Invisible Ray" is a modern tragedy about obsessions, guilt and revenge.

A seasoned director of low-budget B-movies, filmmaker Lambert Hillyer got the chance to make 3 films for Universal Pictures when the legendary studio was facing serious financial troubles. Thanks to his experience working with limited resources, Hillyer's films were always very good looking despite the budgetary constrains, and "The Invisible Ray" was not an exception. While nowhere near the stylish Gothic atmosphere of previous Universal horror films, Hillyer's movie effectively captures the essence of Colton's script, as he gives this movie a dark and morbid mood more in tone with pulp novels than with straightforward sci-fi. Finally, a word must be said about Hillyer's use of special effects: for an extremely low-budget film, they look a lot better than the ones in several A-movies of the era.

As usual in a movie with Lugosi and Karloff, the performances by this legends are of an extraordinary quality. As the film's protagonist, Boris Karloff is simply perfect in his portrayal of a man so blinded by the devotion to his work that fails to see the evil he unleashes. As his colleague, Dr. Benet, Bela Luogis is simply a joy to watch, stealing every scene he is in and showing what an underrated actor he was. As Rukh's wife, Frances Drake is extremely effective, truly helping her character to become more than a damsel in distress. Still, two of the movie highlights are the performances of Kemble Cooper as Mother Rukh, and Beulah Bondi as Lady Arabella, as the two actresses make the most of their limited screen time, making unforgettable their supporting roles. Frank Lawton is also good in his role, but nothing surprising when compared to the rest of the cast.

If one judges this movie under today's standards, it's very easy to dismiss it as another cheap science fiction film with bad special effects and carelessly jumbled pseudoscience. However, that would be a mistake, as despite its low-budget, it is remarkably well done for its time. On the top of that, considering that the movie was made when the nuclear era was about to begin and radioactivity was still a relatively new concept, it's ideas about the dangers of radioactivity are frighteningly accurate. One final thing worthy to point out is the interesting way the script handles the relationships between characters, specially the friendship and rivalry that exists between the obsessive Dr. Rukh and the cold Dr. Benet, as this allows great scenes between the two iconic actors.

While nowhere near the Gothic expressionism of the "Frankenstein" movies, nor the elegant suspense of "The Black Cat", Lambert Hillyer's "The Invisible Ray" is definitely a minor classic amongst Universal Pictures' catalog of horror films. With one of the most interesting screenplays of 30s horror, this mixture of suspense, horror and science fiction is one severely underrated gem that even now delivers a good dose of entertainment courtesy of two of the most amazing actors the horror genre ever had: Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. 8/10


14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Good Science Yxklyx
Bra wisemove-2
Boris ripely dramatic bushrod56
My, my, who else could be as insipid as Frank Lawton here ? Ariane67
Discuss The Invisible Ray (1936) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?