33 user 26 critic

The Invisible Woman (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi | 27 December 1940 (USA)
An attractive model with an ulterior motive volunteers as guinea pig for an invisibility machine.


(original story) (as Kurt Siodmak), (original story) | 3 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The Invisible Man's grandson uses his secret formula to spy on Nazi Germany.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: Ilona Massey, Jon Hall, Peter Lorre
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

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

Director: Joe May
Stars: Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price, Nan Grey
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 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 | 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 one.

Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Cedric Hardwicke, Lon Chaney Jr., Ralph Bellamy
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, hoping to free herself of a mysterious evil influence.

Director: Lambert Hillyer
Stars: Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill
Fantasy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After being awakened, Larry Talbot chips Frankenstein's Monster out of a block of ice. When Talbot changes to the Wolf Man, the two creatures battle each other.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Ilona Massey, Patric Knowles, Lionel Atwill
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Count Alucard finds his way from Budapest to the swamps of the Deep South; his four nemeses are a medical doctor, a university professor, a jilted fiancé and the woman he loves.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton
Fantasy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Count Dracula and the Wolf Man seek cures for their afflictions; a hunchbacked woman, a mad scientist and Frankenstein's Monster have their own troubles.

Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Onslow Stevens, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr.
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
Fantasy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An evil scientist and his hunchbacked assistant escape from prison and encounter Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster.

Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., J. Carrol Naish
Adventure | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An ancient mummy is revived to destroy the invaders of the 3,000 year-old tomb of an Egyptian princess.

Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Dick Foran, Peggy Moran, Wallace Ford
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

An Egyptian priest travels to America in search of the bodies of an Egyptian princess and her living, mummified guardian, with consequences.

Director: Reginald Le Borg
Stars: John Carradine, Robert Lowery, Ramsay Ames


Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Russell
George (as Charlie Ruggles)
Blackie Cole (as Oscar Homolka)
Mrs. Jackson
Kathryn Adams ...
Mrs. Bates


Eccentric Professor Gibbs, brilliant but impractical, invents an invisibility machine and advertises for a guinea pig. What he gets is Kitty Carroll, an attractive, adventurous model, who thinks being invisible would help her settle a few scores. Complications arise when three comic gangsters steal the machine to use on their boss. But they fail to reckon with the Revenge of the Invisible Woman! Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The YEAR'S FUNNIEST FUN! (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »


Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 December 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mujer invisible  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Despite the lightweight nature of the film, it was budgeted at $300,000.00, (about twice the amount of a typical Universal B-feature of the time) making it one of the studio's most expensive productions for 1940. See more »


Virginia Bruce was dressed in black velvet and shot against a black background as part of the special-effects process of making her appear invisible. When the Invisible Woman is undressing in front of a startled Mr. Growley, her black velvet-clad arms are visible whenever they cross in front of her legs or torso. See more »


[first lines]
Attorney: Where is he? Where is he? Get up! Get up!
George: I am up. I was up. And I've been up all night. I would have stayed up if you hadn't knocked me down.
See more »


Followed by The Wolf Man (1941) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Model and the Nutty Professor
15 March 2008 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (Universal, 1940), directed by A. Edward Sutherland, is an original story by Curt (billed Kurt) Siodmak and Joe May that has nothing to do with either the H.G. Wells story "The Invisible Man" nor the original 1933 motion picture from which it was based. In fact, THE INVISIBLE WOMAN is a comedy, a screwball comedy in the 1930s tradition, with an dose of science fiction and character types thrown in. The title role belongs to the attractive blonde, Virginia Bruce, while much of the praise for comedy goes to that "ham actor" himself, John Barrymore, in one of his several character performances, sporting glasses, white hair, mustache and a comical expression on his face, co-starring as a nutty professor who invents things, with one machine in particular he's been working on for ten years.

As for the plot, the screenplay goes through the process of character introduction, the first being Richard Russell (John Howard), a millionaire playboy with a handful of débutante girlfriends and a large selection of their photographs residing in a mansion with George (Charles Ruggles), his loyal servant. Following another one of his all night parties, Dick learns from his family lawyer, John Hudson (Thurston Hall), that because of his extravagances he is now flat broke. Professor Gibbs (John Barrymore), the second introduced character, has his laboratory near the Russell mansion with Mrs. Jackson (Margaret Hamilton), his housekeeper of 12 years, as his assistant. Unable to acquire the $3,000 needed for his latest experiment, Gibbs places an ad in the Daily Record newspaper asking for a subject willing to become invisible. Kitty Carroll (Virginia Bruce), the central character and the third to be introduced, is seen as a poor working girl in need of extra money. Working as a model for the Continental Dress Company at $16.50 a week, she and the other girls are at the mercy of the mean and demanding Mr. Growley (Charles Lane), whose greatest pleasure is bossing the girls and threatening to fire them whenever possible. Unhappy under those conditions, Kitty walks out after a customer tears her dress, hoping to some day carry out her threat by kicking Growley "right in the pants." She gets her chance after becoming a willing subject to Professor Gibbs by stepping into his machine that makes her invisible. With that done, it is up to Kitty to rescue Gibbs from the clutches of Foghorn (Donald MacBride) and his two stooges (Edward Brophy and Shemp Howard) wanting to use his machine to make their boss "Blackie" (Oscar Homolka) invisible so he could return to Russia unseen. Then the fun really begins.

In the tradition of creative special effects by John Fulton, THE INVISIBLE WOMAN comes off best with its quota of laughs during its first half with the invisible Kitty Carroll getting even with her employer (Lane) and scaring his snobbish clients responsible for nearly having her lose her job, while the second half revolving around the love-hate relationship between Kitty and Richard along with the comic henchmen stealing the invisible machine and kidnapping the professor where he is held hostage in Blackie Cole's hideout in Mexico, gets a little tiresome, though redeemed afterwards by some silly, though well-paced climax.

Aside from the amusing Charlie Ruggles making his scenes count, fainting on cue, with Margaret Hamilton unfortunately having little to do, there's Donald MacBride hilariously talking soprano (like "Jenny Lind") after walking through the invisible making machine that backfires on him. Others in the cast taking on lesser roles are Anne Nagel, Mary Gordon, Edward Conrad and Kathryn Adams. Look quickly for a young Maria Montez, not long before making her mark in a series of Technicolor South Seas adventure tales mostly opposite Jon Hall, as one of the models.

Unlike THE INVISIBLE MAN, THE INVISIBLE WOMAN spawned no sequels, nor is it relatively known in spite of it being part of "The Invisible Man" video and later DVD package over the years. Unseen (no pun intended) on cable television for quite some time, THE INVISIBLE WOMAN did have some revivals on the Sci-Fi Channel (late 1980s), American Movie Classics (1989-90) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: February 3, 2012). For anyone looking for a change of pace in regards to science fiction or comedy, THE INVISIBLE WOMAN is certainly one to consider. (**1/2)

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

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: