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The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Horror, Mystery  |  12 January 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,849 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 22 critic

The owner of a coal mining operation, falsely imprisoned for fratricide, takes a drug to make him invisible, despite its side effect: gradual madness.



(characters), (story), 4 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Richard Cobb (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Nan Grey ...
Helen Manson
John Sutton ...
Doctor Frank Griffin
Inspector Sampson of Scotland Yard
Willie Spears
Forrester Harvey ...
Ben Jenkins


Framed for the murder of his brother, Geoffrey Radcliffe is scheduled to hang. After a visit from his friend Dr. Frank Griffin, he vanishes mysteriously from prison. Police inspector Sampson realizes that Griffin is the brother of the original Invisible Man and has given Geoffrey the formula to aid his escape. Can Geoffrey elude the police dragnet and track down the real murderer? More importantly, can Griffin discover an antidote before the invisibility formula drives Geoffrey insane? Written by P. Silvestro

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

12 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Invisible Man Returns  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Vincent Price's first horror film, 13 years before House of Wax (1953) typecast him in the genre. He also provided the voice of the Invisble Man in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). See more »


Frank adds a powder to the vial to color Geoffrey's invisible blood. When he adds the blood in close up, the vial is empty. See more »


[first lines]
Mr. Cotton: I - I can't believe it's going to happen. Just two more hours, and they're going to kill him.
See more »


Followed by The Invisible Man See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Chills, Humor, Tenderness and Passion
26 August 2006 | by (Troy, NY) – See all my reviews

There are a lot of reasons why this 1940 sequel is better than the original INVISIBLE MAN. In the first movie, the Invisible Man was a dilettante, a haughty scientist who shot himself up with the invisibility drug "for kicks." Claude Rains played the character with such a supercilious air that it was hard to care when he lost it all.

But in this well-written sequel, the Invisible Man is a true hero. Geoffrey Radcliffe is a wealthy gentleman with class, courage, and a sense of humor. Someone has framed him for murder, and with the help of his devoted girl friend and trustworthy company doctor, he sets out to make things right.

Vincent Price is perfect as Geoffrey. He gives this invisible man plenty of guts, along with goodness, humility, and a wonderfully self-deprecating sense of humor. When madness sets in, of course, Price can babble with the best of them. But this time around, you care. This is a man who ran his business empire for the benefit of the workers, a man who can tease his weeping girl friend about how "lucky" she is not to see his face.

Ladylike and innocent-looking Nan Grey is a horror legend for her bit role as the waif-like streetwalker in Dracula's Daughter. Here she gets to play the same gentle, sensitive type, only warmer and more womanly. Watching Helen Manson sit up all night watching over her suffering love, falling asleep in her chair, and fainting at the sight of his disfiguring bandages, you will fall in love with her yourself. It's easy to see why Geoffrey loves her enough to risk madness and death to be by her side, and why the villain was willing to stoop to murder for her sake.

Sir Cedrick Hardwicke is mostly remembered today for playing kindly, kingly old gentlemen in epics like THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. But here he is a ruthless, cold villain, a murderer who fights for greed and gain. The attraction to lovely Helen is only hinted at, just a glance here and a tender word there. But it gives just the right touch of depth and tragedy to an amazingly nuanced performance.

Just as many critics feel Dracula's Daughter was a deeper film than Dracula, so INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS may well be an improvement over the original classic.

Long live Universal Horror!

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

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