One year, one film: 1933 – The Invisible Man

One year, one film: 1933

The film:
The Invisible Man, dir. James Whale
starring Claude Rains

Rating:
Recommended | Highly Recommended | MUST-SEE

(Image via Never Enough Films)

(Image via Never Enough Films)

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:

(Image via Universal Weekly/MoMA Library on Archive.org)

(Image via Universal Weekly/MoMA Library on Archive.org)

(Image via Universal Weekly/MoMA Library on Archive.org)

(Image via Universal Weekly/MoMA Library on Archive.org)

(Image via Universal Weekly/MoMA Library on Archive.org)

(Image via Universal Weekly/MoMA Library on Archive.org)

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!

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2 thoughts on “One year, one film: 1933 – The Invisible Man

  1. David Ellefson says:

    As one of my my favorite films this movie proves a point that i am always trying to make to friends and family. That is that the old movies did a much better job of staying true to the books than later movies. Dracula an Frankenstein aside, this movie along with the original Phantom of the Opera is very accurate to the source material. The special effects alone make this worth watching and Claude Rains performance was Oscar worthy. In fact the character deserves a place as one of the top 50 villains of all time.

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    • Lindsey says:

      Totally agree about the special effects! I didn’t mention them in this post since I’ve reviewed the film once before and didn’t want to repeat myself too much, haha. But they are definitely impressive! Very well-executed! Thanks for the comment. :)

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