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Somewhat Shocking!
BaronBl00d6 November 2000
Oh! What a wonderful film! The Invisible Man is fraught with witty dialogue, excellent character acting, inventive and creative special effects, insightful direction, and solid, tight scripting. The story is about a scientist that develops a serum which turns himself invisible, for good intent initially. The serum has negative side effects, one of which is turning the scientist into a raving,mad megalomaniac bent on conquering mankind and the world. What is most surprising about the film is its rather perverse sense of black humour(a James Whale specialty) and its cruelty. The Invisible Man is not a benign horror monster but rather a frightening, destructive force capable of acts of violence, madness, and viciousness. The direction is the real star of the film as Whale combines script, acting, mood, and setting amidst the background of ground-breaking special effects that are still impressive to this day. Whale laces his special humour throughout, and this film has no shortage of dark comedic moments. The acting all around is very good with people like Henry Travers, Gloria Stuart, Una O'Connor and William Harrigan especially as a jealous doctor giving all the support they can to a formless Claude Rains. Rains's voice is magnificent and one senses he was made to play the part that would make him famous. Look for Dwight Frye in a small role. A wonderful film experience!
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To make the world grovel at his feet.
theowinthrop15 September 2005
Spoiler ahead - a well known one though.

It was his first major film role, and he only appeared at the tale end of the movie for a minute - as a corpse! But Claude Rains was made as of that moment, though it would be awhile before he actually ceased being a villain in all of his films.

James Whale's THE INVISIBLE MAN is possibly the best of the early Universal horror series of the 1930s. FRANKENSTEIN and Dracula (both English and Spanish versions) are great films too, but the threat of Jack Griffin's discovery of invisibility makes the other two seem quaint as threats. One can run from Frankenstein, and one can stay indoors at night with a handy cross or garlic available. But how does one fully protect oneself against someone who is physically strong, mentally smart, and totally determined to kill you if you cannot see him? It's not easy, especially if the goal of this monster is to rule over others. As he puts it, he wishes to have the world grovel at his feet.

In the novel, Griffin's personality is shown to be so selfish from the start that one can tell that no matter what discovery he would have made he would have misused it for power. He has no redeeming features at all. However, his omnipotence is sort of curbed in one way that is not the case in the film. A character is invented by Wells (who is not in the movie) that Griffin frightens into serving as a slave or servant. The character manages to run off with Griffin's chemistry lab and chemicals, as well as Griffin's notebooks. As a result he is trapped in his invisibility, and can't get out of this situation until the novel ends.

The film does have some classic moments of humor (Whale liked to add black humor to his films). When a woman runs screaming down the lane at night followed by an empty pair of pants skipping along reciting "here we go gathering nuts in May" is one. So (more darkly) is during a massive search for Griffin, after he causes a train disaster. One of the volunteers, slightly apart from the others, is grabbed and thrown down and choked. Rains/Griffin, in speaking, says, "Here I am...AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU FOUND ME?!!" It is a chilling moment.

A wonderful blend of thrills and comedy, surrounding a science fiction tale of constant interest, this film never disappoints. I give it a 10 for entertainment value. For helping awaken viewers to reading the works of Herbert George Wells, I'd give it a 12.
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Visibly stunning!!!
The_Void5 October 2005
James Whale is, for good reason, most famous for his Frankenstein films. However, better than both (albeit marginally) is this film - The Invisible Man. When I first saw this, I couldn't believe that it's over seventy years old and upon a second viewing; the film just gets better and better. Considering the time in which it was made, The Invisible Man is one of the most amazing films of all time. The special effects are what really make the film. CGI has pretty much spoilt this sort of reaction to a movie. The Invisible Man really has that 'how did they do it?' feel, which movie audiences of yesteryear so often enjoyed, and it's done such a good job with it that I'm still wondering today. The plot gives way to lots of trickery and visual magic as it follows a mad scientist who has turned himself invisible. However, things aren't so simple because one of the drugs he used has properties that can turn a man insane; and this side of the drug has had a huge effect on our man. Believing he can take over the world, he recruits the help of one of his fellow scientists and sets about a reign of invisible terror.

You would think that it would be hard to convince an audience that one of your characters is invisible; but Whale makes it look easy! Claude Rains spends much of the film either under the cover of bandages or not even in it, but it doesn't matter because it's not him but his voice that makes the performance. The fiendishness of his voice is compelling and pure evil, and I don't believe that there is a better man in existence for this role. There isn't a lot of physical acting for him to do, but this is made up for with a dazzling array of special effects. We get to see a shirt move on it's own, things fly around rooms and havoc is caused. It really shows Whale's genius to pull this off. Whale is best known as a horror director, but it's obvious that he has a great respect for comedy also as his Frankenstein films were very tongue-in-cheek, and so is this film. The scenes that see the invisible man causing mayhem are hilarious, and will delight anyone who sees the film. Whale's ability to entertain is absolute, and that is why the films he made for the studio were always the biggest successes. The Invisible Man is one of the greatest achievements in cinema history, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong!
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Transparency is not all that bad, is it?
Michael O'Keefe8 September 2001
Talented direction from James Whale. Mildly chilling tale based on the imagination of H.G. Wells. Introduction to a versatile star, Claude Rains. Short movie in length, but the mixture of thrills, chills and humor help make this a real classic. The special effects of the 30's seem so unsophisticated, but very enjoyable to this day. Rain's starring debut is 99.98 percent vocal and very memorable. The changes in his voice from glee to madness gives certain character to his invisible role.

A brilliant chemist/scientist(Rains) discovers how to make himself invisible. He wrecks havoc in a small British country village as pranks turn to murder. Memorable are the scenes of the invisible man smoking and riding a bicycle; and of course unwrapping.

Also in the cast are:William Harrigan, Gloria Stuart, E.E. Clive and Una O'Connor. At a certain point you wish that O'Connor's funny, but obnoxious character was shorter lived. Dated or not, this is a classic that still demands watching. Creepy and fun for all.
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Works Very Well
Snow Leopard1 December 2004
This film version of the H.G. Wells science fiction classic works very well. It has a number of strengths, but it benefits most of all from James Whale's direction, creativity, and technical excellence. Both the flashier aspects of the movie (such as the "invisibility" effects) and also most of the basic elements are done with skill.

The story is for the most part based on the one main idea of "The Invisible Man" who combines his scientific genius with a generous supply of madness. The story is interesting enough in itself, and of course it provides all kinds of opportunities for visual tricks. Whale hits just the right balance in making good use of these opportunities without over-indulging himself.

The visual effects themselves are of excellent quality, and they are far better than all but the very best of the present-day computer imagery. While it is usually rather easy to spot which parts of a movie are computer-generated, Whale's effects are all but seamless, with the exception of a handful of brief moments. They are often quite impressive, without resorting to tired devices, such as explosions and the like, in order to impress those with shorter attention spans.

Claude Rains does quite well for having such limitations on what he could do. The rest of the cast is solid, if mostly unspectacular, letting the story do the work. Una O'Connor somewhat overdoes it with the screaming this time, but otherwise the characters are believable. The acting may seem slightly quaint to those who are accustomed to the pretentious styles of the present generation of performers, but it's certainly better than the grating, self-important performances in some of the recent movies of the same genre.

While the story does not have the thematic depth or the suggestive imagery of horror classics like "Frankenstein" or "Dracula", this adaptation gets everything it can out of the material, telling the story in an entertaining fashion and with technical skill.
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Classic horror
perfectbond18 December 2004
I actually saw The Invisible Man (1933) shortly after I saw the James Whale bio-pic Gods and Monsters (1998), starring Ian MacKellan and Brendan Fraser. So it was with that image of the director in my head that I watched this film. Claude Rains (Casablanca) is perfectly cast as the mad scientist/invisible man. The remainder of the cast, though not really challenged much, are more than serviceable in what they are required to do. As has been mentioned by most of the other posters, the special effects hold up rather well even today. An amazing feat considering the film is over 70 years old! The DVD has several interesting documentaries / commentaries that made me appreciate not only this film's entertainment value but its historical significance as well.
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TimViper122 September 2002
This is definitely one of the best horror/sci-fi movies of all-time. The special effects are absolutely off the chart for 1933. I can only imagine the shock of the audiences on opening night back in 1933. "The Invisible Man" must have been the equivilant of Star Wars in terms of special effects for the time period. If you have never seen this movie, find it!
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It alters you, changes you.
Spikeopath27 October 2009
There's a snow storm blowing ferociously, a man trundles towards a signpost that reads Iping. He enters a hostelry called The Lions Head, the patrons of the bar fall silent for the man is bound in bandages. He tells, not asks, the landlady; "I want a room with a fire". This man is Dr. Jack Griffin, soon to wreak havoc and be known as The Invisible Man.

One of the leading lights of the Universal Monster collection of films that terrified and enthralled audiences back in the day. Directed by genre master James Whale, The Invisible Man is a slick fusion of dark humour, berserker science and genuine evil. Quite a feat for a film released in 1933, even more so when one samples the effects used in the piece. Effects that are still today holding up so well they put to shame some of the toy like expensive tricks used by the modern wave of film makers. John P. Fulton take a bow sir.

After Boris Karloff had turned down the chance to play the good doctor gone crazy, on account of the role calling for voice work throughout the film except a snippet at the finale, Whale turned to Claude Rains. Small in stature but silky in voice, Rains clearly sensed an opportunity to launch himself into Hollywood. It may well be, with Whale's expert guidance of course, that he owes his whole career to that 30 second appearance of his face at the end of the film? As was his want, Whale filled out the support cast with odd ball eccentrics acted adroitly by the British & Irish thespians. Una O'Connor, Forrester Harvey, Edward E. Clive and Henry Travers are memorable. While American Gloria Stuart as the power insane Griffin's love interest is radiant with what little she has to do. Based on the now famous story written by H.G. Wells, Whale and R. C. Sheriff's {writer} version remains the definitive Invisible Man adaptation. There's some changes such as the time it is set, and Griffin is not the lunatic he is in the film-which is something that Wells was not too pleased about in spite of liking the film as a whole, but it's still tight to the source.

Sequels, TV series and other modern day adaptations would follow it, but none are as shrewd or as chilling as Whale's daddy is. 9/10
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Funny, and How did they do that?
oskhen4 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is so great mainly because of two things: The effects and Claude Rains.

To take the first thing first: Effects in modern films doesn't amaze me anymore. "Oh, they have some extremely advanced computer-stuff, how amazing!" - no. Of course it's quite amazing that these computers are so advanced, but that leaves the honour to some computer-people - not to the director and special effects crew. No, it's these oldies that really have the effects, simply because they had to be creative. In The invisible man (and several others, like King Kong (from 1931, I think), I can't do anything but letting the technical masterpiece fill me with awe.

To take the second thing secondly: Claude Rains was, or so they say, really a rather bad actor who was taken because of his voice, and a great voice it is! I can't describe it, you have to hear it. I just wonder where that voice has gone in his other films... By the way is he the only one acting really naturally in this movie, which is from a time where every actor had been taken from the stage.

Oh, I almost forgot: The humour is several places really good. I do still, months later, see a couple of dancing trousers for my inner eye, to the song "Here we go gathering nuts in May, nuts in May, nuts in May..." One of the funniest scenes I've ever seen!

Of course, it has its flaws, mainly in the acting, but considering that it is so old and so cool, it gets nine out of ten stars, something I give very, very rarely.
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"I think we'll start with a reign of terror."
bensonmum217 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
People tend to use the word "classic" too freely. I can't help but laugh when I hear some of the movies that people call "classics". The term gets thrown around so much that it often looses some of its importance and real meaning. I try to reserve "classic" to a select group of films that I believe have achieved a certain status and have withstood the test of time. And I have no problem putting the label "classic" on The Invisible Man.

James Whale made a lot of great films in the 1930s. Some (Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, for example) may be better known, but I've always thought of The Invisible Man as the best of the bunch. It's got everything. Terrific performances, incredible special effects, nice comedic touches, and technical brilliance are found in abundance throughout the film.

  • Terrific Performances: For someone who only has a few seconds of actual screen time, Claude Rains is amazing. His voice creates such a presence that at times it's easy to forget that he's not actually there. As for Una O'Connor, I've seen some people complain about Whale's use of her, but I think she was never better than in The Invisible Man. She's great whether playing the proper landlord showing a new guest to his room or as the overly hysterical woman afraid for her life. The rest of the cast, especially E.E. Clive and Gloria Stuart, is exceptional.

  • Incredible Special Effects: It's amazing to revisit The Invisible Man and see how well the special effects have withstood the passage of time. They were state-of-the-art in 1933 and they remain impressive today. It took some real craftsmanship to pull-off the invisibility gags seen in The Invisible Man. To me, none is more impressive than the first time we get a glimpse under the bandages while he's eating and we see no lower jaw. Impressive stuff!

  • Nice Comedic Touches: Billed as a horror film, The Invisible Man actually contains more scenes of humor than horror. I've already mentioned O'Connor, but she's only a small part of the humor in the film. The police, the various frightened passersby, and even Claude Rains himself add to the fun found in The Invisible Man. I'm of the opinion that it never goes overboard, but fits nicely into the plot.

  • Technical Brilliance: Beyond the special effects, the film is wonderful from a technical standpoint. Lighting, cinematography, and set design are incredible and some of the best of the 30s. Everything looks perfect. In my opinion, Whale never did better. I've always been impressed by the way Whale used his camera as part of the action when many of his contemporaries seemed content with the "plant it and shoot" style of film-making.

The only negative aspect of the film that I can possibly complain about is William Harrigan in the role of Rains' rival, Dr. Arthur Kemp. He's just not as good as those around him. Other than that little quibble, I've got nothing to complain about. I believe it should be easy to see why I, for one, consider The Invisible Man a classic!
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There's breathing in my barn!
Andy (film-critic)22 October 2005
Claude Rains. The man. The myth. The legend. You cannot talk about this film, whether in conversation or in any review, without placing this actor on the tip of your tongue. He is the epitome of the madness that surrounded the power-hungry Invisible Man. In this day of modern cinematic wonder, most full-fledged actors would want their faces to be in front of the camera, showcasing the entire film. Directors would want this fledgling star to promote their film, get kiddies interested in spending their money, and for financiers to see the profits of their contributions. Let's face it, if Brad Pitt is in a movie, typically most audience members are actually going to "see" Brad Pitt. Thankfully, we have directors like James Whale and his interpretation of H.G.Wells' classic The Invisible Man. Whale took a powerful story, expanded it, breathed life into it, and followed up with quite possibly one of the most sinister villains in movie horror history since Hannibal Lector. He is crude, he is heartless, and he wants nothing more than world domination … he is Claude Rains … and yet, until the end of the film, we never see the white's of his eyes.

There are several reasons why I just fell in love with this film, outside of the cataclysmic performance of Claude Rains. Ohhhh, Claude Rains. I loved the way that this movie was filmed. I loved the scope of the Invisible Man's terror. Whale could have kept his antagonist to committing just single murders of friends and family, he could of just kept it confined to just one single town, he could have kept our focus directly on the turmoil of Rains, but instead, he decided (amazingly!) to open the entire can of worms with success. When I first began this film I was expecting the classic images of angry villagers with pitchforks storming the house that the Invisible Man lived within, but instead, Whale gave us this sort of random chaos that truly created fear around this character. Whale is able to give us the true terror of this madman by perhaps expanding his budget and showing us how big the terror of the Invisible Man is. For example, I never foresaw the horrific train accident, nor the random worker push off the mountain, and when Rains explained to Kemp what the human impact of falling down a ravine would be like, it literally sent shivers down my spine. Whale created a madman better than some modern horror films could ever accomplish.

For a film created in the 1930s, the special effects were spectacular. Sure, CGI was just a glimmer in Lucas' mother's eyes, but James Whale did a superb job of giving us these rare glimpses into the future of special effects. The way that he created the Invisible Man surprised me. I did not expect to ever see the creature without his bandages on, but within ten minutes we are shown the full scope of Whale's creativity. I thought the use of snow, dust, and even the early stages of the overused "green screen" was original for its time. To see Rains smoke as the Invisible Man put a smile on my face. This is a perfect example of a film that used just enough special effects, in the right way, to make the audience forget for a brief time that this was in fact a film … not real life. While the special effects did have one or two flaws (see the Invisible Man riding the stolen bike – were those wires?), I must credit Whale for pushing the envelope for the time. It was surprising to see such quality from such an older film.

If there would be anything that I would change about this film would be the subtext concerning the relationship between Rains and Flora (played by Titanic star Gloria Stuart). I thought this was nearly unnecessary. I understand the value of trying to give a human element to this monster, but I thought that it could have been done without these random scenes. There wasn't really any connection between the two, and we were left with very little information of them prior to the start of the film. Perhaps if there had been a stronger pre-story it would have congealed better. The same can be said for the chemistry and reasonings for the plot points surrounding Rains and Kemp. I could understand why they occurred during the film, but there had to be something more prior to the opening scene. I wanted to know more. I think that is a good sign for a film, when you are left wondering what was the story before this one … and even what was it afterwards.

Overall, I thought this was an exceptional film. I now have this newfound respect for Claude Rains, a man I knew nothing about prior to watching this film. He carried this film and honestly successfully pulled off one of the most frightening madmen this world has ever seen. I think what scared me the most about him was the fact that he actually, unlike some villains, actually followed through with his vile plans. He was evil, whether the invisibility did it or not, he was pure evil, and I loved every minute of it. The special effects were delightful, with a small subplot that this picture could have gone without. Amazing, and a perfect treat before Halloween!

Grade: ***** out of *****
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Invisible Man of '33 is Still the Best
David Salliss14 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
From the moment the mysterious stranger walks into the tavern at the start of the film, head bound in bandage, trilby hat, heavy overcoat, gloves and dark goggles, windswept, with a dusting of snow, we are horrified yet engrossed by the evil that lurks ominously about this character. Director, James Whales' classic, 'The Invisible Man,' is the closest big screen adaptation of author H.G. Wells's science fiction novel. Scientist Jack Griffin (Claude Rains) concocts a serum in order to make himself invisible unaware that one of the ingredients induces madness as a side effect. Once invisible, Griffin finds it necessary to exile himself from his colleagues and fiancé at a tavern some distance from his laboratory and place of work so as to synthesise an antiserum for the reversal of the effect of invisibility. The inquisitiveness of the local people, concerning his strange appearance and Griffins growing emotional instability finally drive him on a course of violence leading very soon to murder. Pursued by the police, Griffin eventually finding himself surrounded.

Produced in 1933, 'The Invisible Man' is typically a black and white creation but rather than subtracting from the enjoyment of this film it serves to give it a Gothic feel, pervaded in various degrees, throughout the Universal monster movies of the period, intensifying the eeriness of the subject matter. Given the age of this motion picture it would be unjust to compare the special effect with recent innovations such as CGI; however I believe those whom view this film will be impressed. When Claude Rains unwraps the bandage from around his head, for the first time, to reveal what appears to be an empty space within, it becomes one of those rare iconic cinematic moment not to be missed.

For most actors, to only have their face appear in the final moments of a film, allowing the audience a momentary glimpse of the main protagonist, would be an insurmountable handicap, nevertheless Claude Rains is able to make an impression from the very beginning through the dynamic and assured use of his remarkable voice. A worthy, fear-provoking performance.

'The Invisible Man,' never gets bogged down with a great deal of scientific gobbledygook with the exception of a short but necessary scene in which we are afforded the dubious science surrounding the fictitious Monocaine chemical which is at the root of Griffins madness. Fortunately, much of the film is spent exploring Griffins state of mind, his intentions, his actions and his attempted capture.
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Classic Universal horror WARNING!!!!!!! SPOILERS!!!!!
callanvass14 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Classic Universal horror that's a little bit dated but still has remarkable special effects that still hold up amazingly well today (in mu opinion. The direction is astounding and moves along at a pretty fast pace and is never boring keeping the viewer engrossed all the way. I imagine this film was very scary back then but it's not that scary now but still it has tons of classic scenes especially the memorable scene where The Invisible Man reveals himself it's still actually a horrifying scene and of the most memorable moments in film history (in my opinion. James Whale was a brilliant director and made a lot of classic films and this is one of them i throughly enjoyed watching this and plan on viewing it again in the near future. no gore at all. The Acting is ASTOUNDING!. Claude Rains performance is just astounding and is one of the best performances i have ever seen by an actor i simply can't say enough about his performance and i am sure he freaked a lot of people out back then. Gloria Stuart is the weak link here she totally over acted and got on my nerves BIG time!. William Harrigan gives a fine performance here and was likable. Henry Travers does good here with what he has to do. Overall simply a classic that is a MUST SEE! regardless! ***** out of 5
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A True Classic!
bsmith555225 October 2004
"The Invisible Man" was another of those classic horror movies turned out by Universal in the early 1930s. It also marks the debut of the respected character actor Claude Rains in the lead role.

The film opens with a mysterious figure coming to a country inn during a winter storm seeking food and shelter. The mysterious figure is Dr. John Griffin (Rains) who is wrapped up in bandages and explains this as having been involved in a terrible accident. Actually through experiments, he had made himself invisible and is searching for the antidote. Griffin asks the innkeeper's wife Jenny Hall (Una O'Connor in another of those delightful screaming British hag roles) that he wishes not to be disturbed. Of course poor Jenny opens the door at the wrong moment and discovers Griffin's secret. Mayhem ensues.

Unknown to Griffin, there is a serious side effect to his condition...gradual madness. His mentor Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers) and his daughter Flora (Gloria Stuart) are very concerned for him. Griffen flees the inn killing a policeman in the process and goes to the house of his colleague Dr. Kemp (William Harrigan).

Griffen by now driven mad forces Kemp to assist him in his evil deeds. Several more murders take place until the invisible man is eventually brought to justice.

Claude Rains launched a distinguished and lengthy career with this film. Oddly enough we don't see his face until the end of the picture as his character is invisible throughout. Harrigan is good as the beleaguered colleague and O'Connor as previously mentioned is a hoot. Travers and Stuart have little to do except look concerned over the fate of the tragic Griffin.

Watch for Walter Brennan as the owner of a bicycle, John Carradine as a caller offering a tip to police and the talented but under utilized Dwight Frye as a reporter.

A true classic of this or any genre.
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"I meddled in things man must leave alone"
Mike-76423 July 2004
Masked by surgical bandages, dark goggles, and covered from head to foot, Dr. Jack Griffin arrives in an inn of a small village in order to work on correcting an experiment that went terribly wrong. Griffin becomes violent and rude to the innkeepers and customers and is confronted by the local police to leave. Griffin starts to undress and reveals to the crowd that he is invisible, wrecking the inn and causing a panic in the streets. Griffin arrives at the home of a colleague, Dr. Kemp (who is jealous of Griffin's knowledge and is also in love with his girlfriend, Flora) and explains how he experimented with a drug monocaine, which rendered him invisible, even though Griffin doesn't realize that the monocaine is also causing him to lose his sanity. Griffin forces Kemp to become his partner in his "reign of terror", starting with Griffin's murder of a police chief Griffin encountered trying to retrieve his notes. When Kemp alerts the police that the Invisible Man is at his house, Griffin swears to Kemp that he will kill him the next night. Can the police prevent Kemp's murder and apprehend a fiend that can not even see. This is an excellent film from start to finish. Whale's direction and Sheriff's script compliment each other perfectly. Rains, just a voice until the end in his US film debut, is just perfectly cast, lending such an eerie presence. The rest of the cast is good, with O'Connor standing (and screaming) out as the innkeeper's wife. The special effects may see dated today, bit it is still one of the best Universal horror/monster flicks ever produced. Rating, 10.
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The Original Mad Scientist Thriller
blondofborg16 May 2004
Although certainly Frankenstein and other films preceded it, this is perhaps the most significant influence on the mad doctor genre. It is quintessential James Whale, which is a huge part of its charms, but Claude Rains' astonishing vocal presence and the unusually dark tone (it is by far the darkest of any of Universal's 'monster' classics though it's the only one that isn't really a horror film) are what truly make this stand out. It isn't perfect. The acting is clipped and theatrical, but again, this is Whale. Una O'Connor is an absolute scream however, providing the perfect comic counterpoint to Rains' manic performance. This is a definitive trip to the absurd, and should be viewed with this fact in mind. It's a lot smarter than the likes of Dracula or Frankenstein (though still doesn't quite reach Bride of Frankenstein's standard), and a lot funnier. But more than anything, it's a seamless blend of sci-fi, thrills, humour and the offbeat that deserves its place in the history books as one of the all time great science fiction films. 9/10
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Classic Invisible Man.
area0113 November 2002
Writing about 30's Black-And-White movies can be difficult, as they need to be considered in light of the era the films were made. You have to adopt the mind-set of some-one viewing it for the first time, without the baggage of umpteen remakes and special effects improvements, to remain objective. Here goes:

Claude Rains does a good job with a mainly "speaking" part - lots of emotion and command there. Una O'Connor as the Innkeepers wife does a bit too much shrieking for my liking - but required "reaction" acting fodder for the time, I assume.

The effects still hold up, and must have been cutting edge at the time. The storyline covers all the basics of the Wells Novel - a quest for knowledge and power, alienation and drug inducessed madness. It's an enjoyable watch with good pacing and steady performances throughout. A sort of lazy Sunday afternoon type of movie.

Universal's take on a British Pub raises a smile, with some fantastic looking weathered-faced locals populating the place. I love the way the gag with a local "fake-playing" a coin driven piano gets a roaring laugh (as if that's the first time the pub's drinkers have seen it). However, the British film-industry was putting out the same type of stereotypes, so Universal can be forgiven there.

A part of Sci-Fi/Horror movie making history, and worth watching for this fact alone.
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A Whale Of a Good Time
telegonus14 May 2002
The Invisible Man may be James Whale's best mainstream film. It's more fantasy than horror, and shows the director more at ease with his material (and less likely to make light of it) than usual. Coming not too long after his initial success with Frankenstein, but before the campy disillusion that one already senses in Bride, this H.G. Wells adaptation shows that Whale could restrain himself and yet still be himself.

It begins beautifully, on a snowbound landscape, as we see a mysterious figure all bundled up, carrying his bags through the snowstorm, as he approaches an inn. We can see that he's wearing dark glasses. As he moves closer we can see that his face is swathed in bandages. When he enters the inn all action stops, and the place goes silent. The stranger has a presence even before he speaks. There is something commanding about him. He rents a room at the inn but people keep on bothering him, as they are curious about who is. And he's certainly peculiar enough: he never takes his bandages off. As things develop, the man is Griffin, a scientist who has been working on an invisibility formula, or rather he's found the formula. The problem is what it does to him.

Griffin is slowly but surely going mad, and becoming increasingly paranoid and grandiose in the bargain. When he takes all his clothes off he is completely invisible, which enables him to wreak all kinds of havoc. In short time he's a raving, homicidal maniac, terrorizing the countryside, and bent on world domination. A manhunt ensues.

Thanks to a witty R.C. Sherriff script, and excellent special effects by John Fulton, the movie was and still is a lot of fun. Though the subject matter is fairly serious, Whale can't keep a straight face for long, and as a result the film is a bit of a romp. There's murder and mayhem aplenty, and some very droll humor along the way. Claude Rains speaks the title role authoritatively, and has a way with thundering commands, which can send a chill up one's spine. The supporting cast isn't as strong as is usual with Whale, though Gloria Stuart makes a lovely heroine. Since the film is set in England Whale's eccentricities are more appropriate and fit in nicely with the story. And though the movie was made in Hollywood it's almost as if the director was on his home turf. He handles his improbable material with aplomb and great skill, and was at this stage of his career the equal of Hitchcock, who was just starting to make a name for himself on the other side of the pond.
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A terrific mix of horror, humor and Claude Rains.
Figaro-89 May 2000
Claude Rains makes his screen debut playing an invisible man. Oh, the irony! But this film is a joy to watch. It has everything from murder to a woman being chased by Rains wearing nothing but trousers (the only visible part, of course). James Whale did a nice job with this one. However, the film belongs to Rains. The sight of him wearing the bandage and dark glasses still chills me. What I especially liked is that even when he does have the bandage on, we are never allowed to see his emotions. That is all dependent on the vocal performance, and Rains' crystal-clear voice shines through beautifully. Just check out the scene where he and Gloria Stuart are together in an upper room in the inspector's house. His voice goes from loving and gentle to near raving mad, and it is absolutely chilling. This film should be a reference point for actors, writers, and directors as to just how important the voice is in defining a character. I hope that, unlike its main character, everyone gets to see this film.
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A Blissful Blend of Horror and Comedy
plato-1129 December 1999
Claude Rains does really great in this, his screen debut. Although his face (let alone his body) is only seen for a couple of seconds, his rich, cultured voice envelopes the film in a kind of omnipresent fog. At times funny, at others, deadly serious.
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What you really have to appreciate here is Rain's performance.
Randolph-312 August 1999
What you really have to appreciate here is Rain's performance in the title role. Using very little more than just his voice, Rains made this character completely believable, even as the character declined into a state of madness. The special effects may not be quite up to today's standards, but they still come off pretty well, which is remarkable given the amount of time that has passed. This is one of those films that could not be changed without diminishing it. It is a real must-see for anyone interested in either the horror or sci-fi genres.
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One of the best films of this genre
orsonw3 November 2001
The Invisible Man should rank among one of the best horror films of the 20th century. I was amazed at the special effects, even more when I think how computers and digital images for FX where but a dream in the 30's. Unlike most films today, where explosions and hurtling asteroids are ,perhaps, the main actors in film now, The Invisible Man relies on a great plot to counter the effects. This is a world where scientific discoveries and lust for power take hold of mankind. The absence of law and restraint disappear along with the man. This film, directed by James whale, allows for the viewer to compare and contrast Mr. Whale's other masterpiece, "Frankenstein." But one should also watch The Invisible Man as a powerful film of its own right.
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Brilliant film adaptation superior to the novel
Raymond Valinoti, Jr.6 September 2001
What can be said about THE INVISIBLE MAN that hasn't already been said? Claude Rains' superlative performance in the title role. James Whale's imaginative film direction. John P. Fulton's special effects that still impress today. The colorful supporting cast, particularly Una O'Connor as the landlady Jenny Hall and E.E. Clive as constable Jaffers. THE INVISIBLE MAN's reputation as a classic is well deserved.

It should be further stated that the film considerably improves on the H.G. Wells novel which it is based. In the novel, the titular character, Griffin, effectively symbolizes the ruthless monomaniac who misuses science for his own personal gain. But as a character he's one-dimensional. Even though Wells emphasizes his frail humanity as he suffers the disadvantages of invisibility, the author never reveals what makes Griffin tick.

Screenwriter R.C. Sherriff fleshes out Griffin not only by giving him a first name (Jack) but by providing him with an identifiable motivation. He devises a love interest, Flora Cranley (Gloria Stuart, decades before her performance as "Old Rose" in TITANIC), who is the catalyst for Griffin's fantastic experiment. Griffin tells her, "I was so pitifully poor I had nothing to offer you, Flora. I was just a poor, struggling chemist." He makes himself invisible to prove his worthiness to Flora.

But the results are poignantly ironic. Sherriff's screenplay has the concoction Griffin uses to become invisible affect his mind. He transforms from a kind, sensitive man to a homicidal megalomaniac. Consequently, he becomes a hunted man, alienated from the rest of humanity- including Flora. Thus, the cinematic Invisible Man attains a tragic stature lacking in the Wells novel. It is the scenario's powerful tragedy, more than anything else, that makes THE INVISIBLE MAN a great film.
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