An eccentric scientist helps a fugitive from the law become invisible, unwittingly giving him the power to exact revenge on his former friends.An eccentric scientist helps a fugitive from the law become invisible, unwittingly giving him the power to exact revenge on his former friends.An eccentric scientist helps a fugitive from the law become invisible, unwittingly giving him the power to exact revenge on his former friends.
Jon Hall took a break from costarring with Maria Montez to be in this thriller. Robert Griffin (Jon) and his pals discovered a diamond mine while they were in Africa. Said pals (Lester Mathews and Gale Sondergaard) double crossed Bob, knocked him over the head and left him for dead. Bob survived but lost his memory and ended up in a South African nuthouse. He escaped after killing 2 guards and stowed away on a ship that brought him back to England. Why did I tell you all this? Because all that took place before the movie even starts and we have to hear about it from various characters the the film progresses!
When Bob finally gets back to his not-so-great-friends Sir Jasper and Lady Irene he finds out that not only did they rob him they subsequently lost most of their fortune due to bad investments! Bob decides that no, that is not revenge enough, he wants whatever is left of the cash PLUS their daughter Julie (Evelyn Ankers) as his bride whether she likes it or not! Run out of the mansion Bob gets lost in a storm and ends up at the house of Dr. Drury (John Carradine) whose neighbours think he is batty because he has perfected a way to make living things invisible.
Now here is the part of the movie you have been waiting for. Anxious to experiment on a human being, Drury injects his serum into Bob and, as Fate and the scriptwriter would have it, Bob goes "poof" and becomes invisible. With the help of a local character (former Vaudeville comic Leon Errol, doing a believable Cockney accent) Bob tries to scare Sir Jasper into signing away what is left of his fortune. Does it work? Does it ever? And what about Dr. Drury? How will he feel about letting an invisible maniac loose on the countryside?
This is one time we don't have to worry about the invisibility serum driving the man mad because Bob is bonkers to begin with. The floating effects are predictable but fun and half the fun is spotting the wires. The cast is very recognisable if you like spotting character actors. Lester Mathews had gone up against THE WEREWOLF OF London and costarred with Karloff and Lugosi in THE RAVEN (both 1935) and later ended up battling Fu Manchu on a weekly basis on the "Adventures of Fu Manchu" TV series. Gale Sondergaard is forever identified as "The Spider Woman" from SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SPIDER WOMAN and THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK. Leon Errol costarred with fading starlet Lupe Velez in the Mexican Spitfire series and had his own series of 2 reel comedies. Watch also for Doris Lloyd (Mrs. Hudson in the Sherlock Holmes series), Ian Wolfe (too doggone many movies to list here), Billy Bevan (DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE, etc.) and Skelton Knaggs (BEDLAM, ISLE OF THE DEAD, etc.). Brutus the dog who turns out to be the hero of the picture is played by animal actor Grey Shadow. John Carradine is a welcome addition but is not given enough to do. Wisely he does not play his character as a stereotype "mad" scientist. Director Ford Beebe had written and/or directed a lot of serials for Mascot and later for Republic. He also directed NIGHT MONSTER (1942) and even managed to impress Alfred Hitchcock by bringing in such an effective thriller in only 11 days.
INVISIBLE MAN'S REVENGE is far from the best of the series. You might want to check out INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940) or even the 1933 original with Claude Rains for some real entertainment.
- Jul 1, 2006