Starring Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan, Henry Travers, Una O’Connor, Forrester Harvey, Holmes Herbert, E.E. Clive, Duddley Digges, Harry Stubbs, Donald Stuart, Merle Tottenham
Directed by James Whale
Expectations: High. I remember enjoying quite a bit as a kid.
After watching all those Hammer films over the course of Horrific October, I couldn’t help but watch at least one of the old Universal films that I loved so much as a kid. The Invisible Man wasn’t one I watched over and over like The Mummy, instead I only saw this one once roughly twenty years ago. I remembered it being very fun and engaging, but y’know, I was ten and my standards aren’t what they used to be, so it was due time for a re-watch.
The Invisible Man tells the tale of a scientist gone mad and an experiment gone awry. It is a simple story, but one that requires an incredible amount of trickery on the part of the filmmakers to effectively pull it off. In this film director James Whale and the special effects team achieved amazing feats heretofore unseen in cinema that continue to impress nearly eighty years after release. There’s an element of “How’d they do that?” to a lot of the FX work, and in such an old film, that’s pretty damn impressive! It’s so interesting to watch this film as the FX nerd that I am, as I come in with the knowledge that chroma key compositing (blue screen) simply wasn’t invented yet. The effects on display are the result of genuine ingenuity and remain incredibly influential and impressive.