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The Invisible Man (1933) Poster

Trivia

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The first time Claude Rains' daughter ever saw her father in a movie was in 1950, when he took her to a showing of 'The Invisible Man' in a small Pennsylvanian theater. While the film was playing, Rains was telling his daughter all about how it was made. The other theater patrons stopped watching the movie and instead listened to Rains' anecdotes.
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On the DVD short documentary, Claude Rains' daughter tells of a time when her father brought her to see a re-release of this movie in the theater in Pennsylvania, years after it was made. It was bitterly cold and his face was completely covered by a hat and scarf. When he spoke to ask for the tickets, the attendant immediately recognized his voice and wanted to let them in for free. Rains was quite upset at this and demanded that he pay full price.
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In order to achieve the effect that Claude Rains wasn't there when his character took off the bandages, James Whale had Rains dressed completely in black velvet and filmed him in front of a black velvet background.
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During the scenes with Una O'Connor, the hysterical pub landlady, James Whale struggled to control his own laughter, as he adored O' Connor's humor.
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Claude Rains' performance in this film inspired Mark Hamill's portrayal of the Joker.
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Boris Karloff had been Universal's original choice for the role as the Invisible Man. Karloff was said to have turned it down because he would not be seen on screen. In reality a quarrel with director James Whale broke up their relationship, and the director decided he wanted someone with more of an "intellectual" voice and Karloff's marked lisp had also become an issue. Whale selected Claude Rains after accidentally hearing Rains' screen test being played in another room. Until this film, Rains had primarily been a stage actor. Although he had appeared in one silent movie, Build Thy House (1920), this was his first sound film.
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When screenwriter R.C. Sherriff came to Hollywood to write this film, he asked the staff at Universal for a copy of the H.G. Wells novel he was supposed to be adapting. They didn't have one, all they had were 14 "treatments" done by previous writers on the project, including one set in Czarist Russia, and another set on Mars. Sherriff eventually found a copy of the novel in a secondhand bookstore, read it, thought it would make an excellent picture as it stood, and wrote a script that, unlike "Universal's" "Dracula (1931)" and "Frankenstein (1931)," was a closer adaptation of the book. This was fortunate, in that Wells had negotiated script approval when he sold the rights.
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Gloria Stuart didn't enjoy working opposite Claude Rains. During filming when they had scenes together, she claimed her leading man kept backing her into the scenery and hampering her chances to perform. James Whale had to keep everything on an even keel by reminding Claude Rains that he had to share scenes with his leading lady.
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Boris Karloff and Colin Clive were both originally considered to play the lead. Karloff accepted until a dispute with James Whale broke up both their personal and professional relationship. Clive was tempted, but preferred to take a planned vacation back to England.
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The reporter who offers suggestions to the police chief was played by Dwight Frye. He is best known for playing Renfield in "Dracula (1931)." He also played Fritz in "Frankenstein (1931)" and Karl Glutz in "The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)."
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As Jack rants to Flora about taking over the world, he strikes a pose typical of Italy's leader, the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
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The Invisible Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon are the only Universal monsters that were never used later by Hammer, unlike Dracula, Frankenstein's character and creature, the Wolf Man and the Mummy.
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According to the March 1975 issue of 'Films in Review', Robert Florey, Cyril Gardner, and Ewald André Dupont were all considered as director before James Whale was finally assigned.
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Part of the original 'Shock Theater' package of 52 Universal titles released to television in 1957, followed a year later with 'Son of Shock', which added 20 more features.
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For some reason, the subtitles of the DVD edition changes a word of dialogue in the scene where Griffin exposes his invisibility to the villagers. He boasts that an Invisible Man can "...rob and rape and kill!" But it is clear on the soundtrack the Griffin doesn't say "rape" - he says, "wreck."
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By the calendar on the wall of the police station, around 1:01:28, it's the month of January. In the novel, the story begins in early February.
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Chester Morris was initially considered to play Dr. Arthur Kemp.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
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The wall calendar in the police station, around 1:01:28, advertises "Old Chum / Canada's Favourite Tobacco".
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In this movie the Invisible Man is a villain. The TV series The Invisible Man (2000) presented him in a sympathetic, humorous light.
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The poster on the brick wall outside the police station, around 1:01:37, is advertising "The Royal Mail Line To South America" and features RMS Asturias.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Total body count: 122. Four murders depicted directly on-screen, eighteen search-party members off-screen, and the derailment of a train which results in one hundred deaths. In total, Dr. Griffin kills 122 people before he is killed, making him one of the most bloodthirsty villains of the old Universal Pictures horror films.
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According to information given on TCM before the movie is shown, Claude Rains was also chosen for the role because he spoke with such clarity and could be easily understood. This was important since his face was covered for almost the entire film.
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Although he has the lead in the film and his character is onscreen for 95% of the film, Claude Rains never actually "appears" onscreen until the very last moment.
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The basic framework of the story and the characters' names are largely the same as in H.G. Wells' novel, but there are several great differences, including:
  • The novel takes place in the 1890s, the film takes place in 1933.
  • In the novel, the invisibility process includes a chemical compound that take the color out of organic material, along with the use of "vibrations" similar to X-rays. In the film, drugs alone do the trick.
  • In the novel, Griffin remains almost a completely mysterious person, with no fiancée or friends. In the film, he is engaged to a woman and has the support of her father and his associate.
  • In the novel, Griffin is an egomaniac with no empathy for his fellow man, but he had these traits before making himself invisible. In the film, the invisibility drug causes him to go mad.
  • In the novel, Kemp lives. In the film, Griffin kills him.
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Of the top five classic Universal Pictures horror movies - "Dracula (1931)," "Frankenstein (1931),""The Mummy (1932)," The Invisible Man, and "The Wolf Man (1941)" - "The Invisible Man" is by far the one sprinkled with the most humor. During filming of "The Invisible Man," Director James Whale could barely stay composed as one of his favorite female cast members, Una O'Connor, kept him, the cast, and the crew, laughing out loud during her scenes.
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Despite having by far the most lines, being the title character, and having lead billing, Claude Rains' is on screen (without bandages) for less time than any credited actor. Rains' face only appears on screen for the last twenty seconds of the film.
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