One year, one film: 1933
The Invisible Man, dir. James Whale
starring Claude Rains
Recommended | Highly Recommended | MUST-SEE
The Invisible Man, based on an H. G. Wells fantasy tale, tells the story of a scientist who turns himself invisible in an experiment. While working to find an antidote, he becomes angry and uses his new power of invisibility to wreak havoc on the small town of Iping, England.
Claude Rains was captivating in all of his roles, whether they were starring or supporting. Though he made his share of emotionally-effective, gripping romances and dramas, this sci-fi thriller is without a doubt one of his most enjoyable films! It’s an incredibly fun watch, with a fantastic performance by Rains that brings a few laughs while still preserving the picture’s somewhat spooky mood.
At the very least, promoters and theater owners of the early ’30s had fun with this one, if the following clippings I dug up from Universal Weekly are any indication:
Critics seemed to appreciate it quite a bit as well. Our ol’ pal Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times gave high praise, writing: “The story makes such superb cinematic material that one wonders that Hollywood did not film it sooner. Now that it has been done, it is a remarkable achievement.” Hall also praised the “photographic magic,” which he found “even more startling than was that of Douglas Fairbanks’s old picture The Thief of Bagdad.”
Variety found the film unique, calling Rains’ doctor character “the strangest character yet created by the screen,” as well as praising supporting players Forrester Harvey and Una O’Connor, who “are swell comedy types and make the most of the opportunity.”
Effortlessly blending laughs with spookier moments, I consider The Invisible Man to be a must-see!