The Groundbreaking 'The Invisible Man'
It is hard to believe that this film was made in 1933. It contains a few of the most incredible special effects of that time, and today, 79 years later, It still holds up.
It starts in a small Inn in Sussex where a stranger checks in. The locals are intrigued by the man who is from top to bottom covered in clothing and demands utter privacy in his room. After too many interruptions by the inn keepers wife the man loses his temper, starts tearing of his clothes and reveals his big secret, he is invisible..
The man is Dr. Jack Griffin, a chemist who made this incredible discovery by tempering with a string drug called 'monocane'. Griffin is overtaken by this new sense of power, developing a mean streak which the villagers get a taste of. He realise the amount of power he can obtain through his invisibility but as any other power hungry man, he wants more..
Griffin's employer Dr. Cranley and his other assistant Dr. Kemp realises who's been causing all the commotion and sets out to find their friend and employee.
Only, Griffin finds them first. Through threat and intimidation Griffin makes Kemp promise to help him and he hides out in his house. Kemp realises he has to stop Griffin before he kills more people and together with Dr. Cranley and the local police they make plans. But first Kemp needs to get away from Griffin's watching eyes.
Directed by Sci-Fi Master James Whale, it is no surprise The Invisible Man is THIS good. Whale, as you may well know, directed some of the most fantastic films like, Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.
Wonderful fantastic great wonderful actor Claude Rains (on my top 20 list of favourite actors all time surprise surprise) plays Dr. Jack Griffin. This was his first American film and his consequential breakthrough. He is (despite you don't actually see him until the very end) incredible as the mad Doctor, craves for world domination. He, alone, is a reason to watch this film.
Again, 1933. If you've seen this film you will know what is so extraordinary with the year it was made. The unbelievable special effects. When Griffin takes off his bandages the first time inside the inn.. it just blows my mind. And that continues with the moving bike, the cap which gets nicked, and every time he takes his clothes off.
During the scenes were Griffin was partially invisible Claude Rains was wearing a black velvet suit against a black background, and the people responsible for these amazing effects are John P. Fulton, John J. Mescall and Frank D. Williams. All special effects wizards, Fulton went on working on Hitchcock films like Rear Window and Vertigo, and winning 2 Oscars. Mescall, also a incredibly skilled man also worked with James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein, in which the special effects are unforgettable as well.
Based on the novel from Mr brilliance himself H.G. Wells. I once read he wasn't happy with that Griffin was portrayed as a mad man in the film.. which is understandable. He was, however, very happy with awesome Una O'Connor's performance as the panic stricken inn keeper, who screams the most awful scream..all the time.. Love Una though. With Adventures of Robin Hood, Witness for the Prosecution, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and The Sea Hawk in your backpack, how could you not?
I love a lot of old films and actors from that era but The Invisible Man is different. First of all I've watched so many times it is ridiculous. Second, My jaw literally drops whenever I see Griffin undress for the first time. Third, Claude Rains was a genius, and his beautiful voice, which was the initial reason why they cast a virtually unknown actor in the title role.
Sidenote: A few years ago, me and my best friend decided to get a BFF tattoo.. and yeah this is the result. That's how good it is.