Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Invisible Man


What I hadn’t remembered about this classic by the great James Whale is how funny it is. Claude Rains (whose face is not seen until the last 30 seconds or so) is really a cut-up, until he starts derailing trains and killing hundreds of people. The special effects must have been startling at the time, and actually, they’re still pretty effective, though the raggedness of film processes in 1933 is plain to see. The photography is brilliant, and so is the camera work and cutting. The story is told very efficiently in only 71 minutes. And it’s all thought out well as an SF story. Either H.G. Wells or the screenwriter or both considered such questions as, what about eating? (Answer: He has to stay hidden until the food is digested.) The police hunt for him is logical and methodical, as well, considering the great difficulties facing them. When snow starts to fall they realize this is their best chance, as he can’t move without leaving footprints. And of course this all takes place in the winter, which must have froze his tits off. Brrrrrr!!! This movie spawned a whole train of vastly inferior pictures, just like the Frankenstein and Dracula franchises. Not unlike today, with all the miserable horror franchises, some of which began with an actual good movie.