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The Invisible Ray (1936)

Approved | | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 20 January 1936 (USA)
A scientist becomes murderous after discovering, and being exposed to the radiation of, a powerful new element called Radium X.

Director:

Lambert Hillyer

Writers:

John Colton (screenplay), Howard Higgin (original story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Dr. Janos Rukh (as Karloff)
Bela Lugosi ... Dr. Felix Benet
Frances Drake ... Diana Rukh
Frank Lawton ... Ronald Drake
Violet Kemble Cooper ... Mother Rukh
Walter Kingsford ... Sir Francis Stevens
Beulah Bondi ... Lady Arabella Stevens
Frank Reicher ... Professor Meiklejohn (Mendelssohn in end credits)
Paul Weigel Paul Weigel ... Monsieur Noyer
Georges Renavent ... Chief of the Surete (as Georges Renevant)
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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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Beware the Luminous Man! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shooting lasted from Sept. 17-Oct. 25, 1935, release was held up due to the extensive special effects done by John P. Fulton. Issued January 10, 1936. See more »

Goofs

1 hr 5min into the film, while they are trying to figure out who is doing the killings, Bela Lugosi is sitting down and crosses his legs; there's a quick camera close-up to him and back to the long shot: his legs are then uncrossed. Bela speaks a few lines, and again crosses his legs in the long-shot, as if for the first time. See more »

Quotes

Mother Rukh: It was on such a night that Janos first caught his ray from Andromeda. Your father worked the guides. I held the detecting lens... and never saw again.
Diana Rukh: Dear Mother Rukh.
Mother Rukh: My son will not learn until too late, I fear, that the universe is very large, and there are some secrets we are not meant to probe.
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Crazy Credits

The character of "Professor Meiklejohn," correct in the opening credits, is listed as "Professor Mendelssohn" in the closing credits. 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
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User Reviews

The Curse of Radium X!
17 August 2002 | by cdautenSee all my reviews

THE INVISIBLE RAY (1936) Starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake, Frank Lawton, Walter Kingsford Directed by Lambert Hillyer

Universal's third pairing of Lugosi and Karloff strays in to the realm of science fiction while retaining many of the elements of horror for which the studio was famous.

Janos Rukh (Karloff) is a brilliant, workaholic scientist who lives with his beautiful wife (Drake) and mother in a sprawling gothic castle/laboratory/observatory in the storm-swept Carpathian Mountains (where else?).

Sir Francis Stevens (Kingsford) and wife, accompanied by the skeptical Dr. Felix Benet (Lugosi), arrive to see Rukh's latest discovery. By following a ray of light that left the Andromeda galaxy millions of years ago back to its source, he can see back in time. What he is able to show them is a giant meteor striking the surface of the Earth, on the African continent "thousands of millions" of years ago. With this proof that such a catastrophe occurred, he is able to embark on an expedition to Africa. The meteor is found and Rukh is able to harness a strange power that emanates from it...Radium X. Unfortunately, this mysterious element also causes Rukh to glow in the dark. And, as if that weren't bad enough, everyone who touches him dies. Dr. Benet comes up with a counteractive which will not cure Rukh, but will at least make him tolerable to have around. As with all such things, there is a price...Benet cannot promise what effects the counteractive will have on Rukh's mind.

For a film released in 1936, THE INVISIBLE RAY has some pretty good special effects. The image of the meteor sailing toward the Earth is impressive, though the actual impact is less than spectacular. The scene where Rukh launches his invisible ray at a rock formation and reduces it to nothing is also good, even by today's standards. The scenes at Rukh's home are what give THE INVISIBLE RAY its creepy atmosphere. As in other Universal horror productions, the set is made of almost exclusively vertical elements, casting long shadows. The doorways are so tall the tops of them disappear somewhere beyond the top of the screen. A middle segment that takes place in Africa is less eerie, but it does provide a nice setting for us to first see Rukh's glowing face and hands.

THE INVISIBLE RAY is a fun movie to watch despite (or because of?) a few flaws, like the fact that all of the Paris newspapers seem to be printed in English. Not as fun is the film's racist depiction of the African porters. Even allowing for the attitude of the time in which the film was made, these scenes will still make most modern viewers cringe.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

20 January 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Invisible Ray See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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