INVISIBLE MAN, THE (1933)
Reviewed October 2nd, 2000 by Chuck Arrington
In what is quite possibly the absolute best classic horror movie ever made, Claude Rains makes his big screen debut. A scientist (Rains) stumbles upon an element that when exposed to anything makes it invisible. In his quest for knowledge he turns the potion on himself and in an instant becomes invisible. Small catch though, he never figured out how to go from invisible too visible. Oops, almost forgot another catch, one of the primary elements of this magical elixir is slowly driving him insane. The longer he remains invisible the more of his mind is lost. Then it occurs to him, just how powerful can an invisible man be? He can literally do anything and everything he chooses and at no cost to himself. Drunken with his new found power, he wreaks havoc in the small town he’s secluded himself in and does the unthinkable…commits murder! With each passing day his insanity takes a deeper hold and it appears he’s always at least one step ahead of the police. What can be done? How can he be caught? Afterall, how does one capture an…Invisible Man?! You will definitely have to wait and ahem…see!
As with all the Universal Classic horror titles the audio is mono and it does an excellent job creating a feeling of dread the picture is intent on conveying. Again, there is no movement and your rears and sub will be put to rest but, in all, the audio does not disappoint in it’s singular presentation.
The video for The Invisible Man has just a bit more flecking than I have noticed in the other transfers in this series. Hairs, scratches, white speckling and flecks of black are throughout the whole of the transfer. Not at all surprising given the age of the film (67 years). Even with these annoyances, the film is not only wholly watchable but, it’s also incredibly enjoyable as well. Lets face it, if you are a fan of these films as I am, these things are not going to affect your enjoyment of the feature. They are minor enough not to really even mention and had this not been a review of the overall quality if the video portion of the disc, I would not have even mentioned it.
Now you see him: the Invisible Man revealed is the title of an hour long look into the making of this cinematic classic. It has all the information you could ever need about this incredible piece of filmmaking. There are interviews with just about everybody associated in any sense to the film or it’s cast members.
Again a Commentary is provided for the feature but, this time with historian Rudy Behlmer. I must confess, I’ve not been a fan of the commentary tracks for these films. Largely because of the rehash of info available in the documentary that’s also provided. But mainly because, the commentary track IMHO detracts from the overall feel of the film and quite frankly, I’m not all that interested in anecdotal humor as told to a friend of a friend of a friend of the actor’s cousin! Of course I am exaggerating to a degree but, you get my meaning.
Production stills, notes and the cast and crew bios round out the extras for the Invisible Man.
This is easily the best classic horror film I have ever seen. From beginning to end, the film delivers like a film made only yesterday! Speaking of “yesterday”, the whole “invisible” phenomenon has been rekindled with films like Hollow Man and the Sci-Fi Channel Series-The Invisible Man. While special effects have definitely improved in the almost 70 years since the film’s debut, storytelling has taken a back seat to special effects and the end result is incredible eye candy with little or no substance.
The Invisible Man spawned several sequels, with the best of those being, The Return of the Invisible Man with the incomparable Vincent Price in the Lead role and the equally impressive, Sir Cedric Harwicke as the film’s protagonist. The Invisible man is an example of what fine filmmaking is all about. I could never adequately explain all of the nuances that make this film so good. All I can say is, if you’ve seen it you know what I mean and if you haven’t seen it you’re missing a treat. BTW, for all those Titanic fans out there the leading lady may be someone you know! Yes, it’s a very young and very beautiful Gloria Stuart! How’s that for a little movie trivia for ya!
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