The Invisible Man (James Whale, 1933, USA)

             The Invisible Man is one of the best films in the original Universal Monsters canon. It is unique from the other films in that our “Invisible Man” is not truly a monster but a doctor who has gone insane with power after discovering the ability to make himself invisible. James Whale’s second directorial effort after 1931’s FrankensteinThe Invisible Man is a preview of the heights the director would attain with 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein. The film exhibits the darkly comic sensibility that colored Bride of Frankenstein and made it perhaps the most memorable of all the Universal monster films. The Invisible Man was a great success upon its initial release, even landing on The New York Times list of the 10 Best Films of 1933 – something rare for horror films at the time.

               This is in no small part due to the performance of Claude Rains. Rains, who is perhaps best known today for his role in Casablanca, was not the original choice for the role of Dr. Jack Griffin. Colin Clive, who played Dr. Frankenstein in the original 1931 film, was the first choice. It’s great that the filmmakers ended up choosing Claude Rains. Rains convincingly pulls off a role with almost entirely his voice for the whole film. He brings a great intensity that matches menace and comedy in equal measure. His dialogue crackles even today.


               The film also stands out today due to its special effects. It is remarkable what the filmmakers were able to pull off in 1933, most of it still convincing. It is hard to imagine what the effect must have been like for audiences in 1933. Likewise, the film’s sense of humor makes it stand above the rest. There are some truly comic, laugh-out-loud moments throughout the film, especially as Dr. Griffin creates havoc throughout the town.

9/10

This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission if you buy the products from these links (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But we only recommend products we would use ourselves.

Comments