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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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The Invisible Man is one of the most impressive Universal "monster" films of the 1930s, a motion picture masterpiece still as vibrant and engaging now as it was in 1933. It is also a representative of the rarest of movies - one which succeeds much better than the novel upon which it was based. Don't get me wrong - H.G. Wells was a brilliant writer, one of the two founding fathers of science fiction, but The Invisible Man left me as cold as the invisible man must have felt running around naked in the bitterly cold countryside. The invisible man is thoroughly unlikable in the novel, much more so than he is here. A running time of just 71 minutes and a brilliant tour de force of a film debut by Claude Raines make Jack Griffin a fascinating albeit quite mad character who never completely turns the viewer off with his misguided antics. Of course, the sword cuts both ways. In the novel, one gets a much deeper appreciation of the pain and struggle the man faces trying to restore himself to visibility. In the movie, the transition to raving megalomaniac occurs much more quickly, with several palliative dashes of humor thrown into the mix early on.
There isn't that much to the story, really. A man wrapped in bandages and clothed in a long overcoat, glasses, and hat suddenly enters the Lion's Head pub and inn one snowy night demanding a room. He makes it very clear that he wants privacy and soon begins performing chemical experiments. The fellow is a scientist named Jack Griffin (Claude Rains), a young chap who, after five years of private work, discovered the secret of invisibility; unfortunately for him, he has yet to figure out an antidote, as becomes evident when he begins to shed his clothes and bandages - yep, the title was right, he really is the invisible man. Now most fellows, were they to become invisible, would probably run right out and try to see the girl next door in her birthday suit, but Griffin is different. That special ingredient in the potion tends to make a person just a little bit insane, and Griffin has already begun forming plans to get filthy rich and make the world grovel at his invisible feet. His surly attitude and just plain weirdness soon get him evicted, and soon his secret is out. He has a jolly good time playing pranks on local villagers, but his pranks soon turn to mass murder. The police dragnet is fun to watch (it isn't easy to catch an invisible man), but the movie takes a continually darker tone as the inevitable conclusion approaches. I am of the belief that the story of The Invisible Man really doesn't teach any sort of lesson with it, although others are certainly free to voice their own interpretations of the story. Griffin is just too disagreeable to teach me anything (apart from the ubiquitous "don't meddle in God's domain" thing).
The special effects in the film are actually quite amazing. Many of them are rather simple but well-done, and the central bits featuring clothes walking around on their own serve the story very well indeed. There is one scene featuring a pair of pants skipping down the road accompanied by Griffin singing the kind of ditty a madman might be prone to sing that is absolutely priceless. Alongside Dracula and Frankenstein, The Invisible Man completes the threesome of truly must-see 1930s Universal "monster" films, even though we all know it's really pure science fiction and not horror.
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on 4 September 2016
A really great film, not scary but still kind of disturbing to watch. The performance from Claude Rains is excellent, he really throws himself into the role and feels his role with as much emotion as you can when unable to use your face.

Unlike a film like Frankenstein any sympathy you may have had with the character is quickly lost following his murderous rampages. His behaviour is explained as a result of the drugs he's taken which have driven him insane. The special effects are excellent and as well as any CGI remake I can envisage. The themes of the film deal with madness, megalomania, loneliness and fear. The film is fairly low budget by today's standards, the sets are quite small in scale and there aren't that many locations. The film has a nice sense of realism to it in some respects and the attempts to trap the invisible man are conducted firmly in real world logic.

On the negative side, the female characters are rather shrieky and hysterical which I found off-putting. The film doesn't really have many likeable characters, the main character is disturbed and psychotic and we don't really get to know any other characters very well so that there's not really anyone we can identify that strongly with.
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on 4 September 2012
In between Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein James Whale directed this classic adaptation of H. G. Wells famous story. It only clocks in at just over an hour long but Claude Rains - in his first role, I believe - gives a scene stealing performance, effortlessly carrying the film. The special effects are amazing for a film that is almost 80 years old. The price for this DVD is a steal too. The only down side is Una O'Connor's screeching appearance as an hysterical landlady which left my ears ringing. Thankfully, she doesn't have much on screen time and is frankly better seen as Olivia DeHaviland's handmaiden in The Adventures of Robin Hood. Still though, even though I loved it, my son was unimpressed so perhaps this is one for the classic movie lover rather than the 'seen it all before' crowd. Recommended.
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on 14 July 2017
rains comes across as really peeved or pissed off. really irritated . i have no idea if he's acting or he really is pissed off.love this... infact i may just have to have an all day film session...
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VINE VOICEon 12 January 2016
I really enjoyed this film. A very enjoyable plot that has some nice twists and turns. Some very fine acting performances too. A fun film to enjoy over the weekend. Picture quality was very good, and it has a decent number of extras.
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on 16 June 2017
Not the one I wanted, but my mistake.
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on 27 July 2017
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on 13 April 2017
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on 5 April 2017
Great entertainment and surprisingly very funny!
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on 29 April 2017
Brilliant film
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