Classics Review: The Invisible Man (1933)

In 1897, American author, H.G. Welles, (The War Of The Worlds, The Island Of Dr. Moreau) wrote a novel called The Invisible Man, it’s about a scientist named Dr. Griffin, who uses an experimental drug on himself that turns him invisible. As he attempts to develop a cure, he begins to loose his sanity as the story progresses. Not only the drug turns him invisible, but his mind also transforms him as well. Thirty-Six Years Later, Univseral Pictures produced a film based on the book of the same, starring Claude Rains as the titular character.

The Invisble Man was released in 1933, (the same year the original King Kong was released) similar to Dracula and Frankenstien, this film also earned critical acclaim and made a lot of money at the box office. The film spawned follow ups, merchandise, a remake titled, “Hollow Man” starring Kevin Bacon, comics and other forms of media as the character is currently a part of Universal Monsters, and remains as one of the most memorable classic horror movie characters of all time.

A reboot of the character, is currently in development with Johnny Depp who has signed on board to play The Invisible Man as well as making crossover appearances in the Universal Monsters reboot.

The following article doesn’t have any huge SPOILERS. You’re ok to read it if you haven’t seen the original Invisible Man.

Positive & Negative Elements

Positive: Claude Rains did a very good job on his performance as Dr. Griffin/The Invisible Man.

Most of the Supporting Cast also did an ok job, except for the female bartender.

Before turning invisible, Griffin mentions why he experimented on himself for motivational reasons. After the experiment, he changes it another way around.

As the film progresses, the drug that turned Griffin invisible, also has a side effect which also transforms his mind into a homocidal maniac. He’s not a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde rip-off.

A pivotal scene shows what Griffin looks like when he isn’t invisible. Ain’t gonna tell you what specific scene I’m talking about, you’ll have to see it for yourself.

Cinematography was good, there wasn’t any sign of Dutch Angles or Shaky Cam, present throughout the entire picture.

Special Effects at the time looked decent for certain moments with the title character’s invisibility as he takes his clothes on or off.

I’ll have to give this film credit for inspiring Sam Raimi’s love of Classical Horror films that inspired him to create Darkman, alongside comic book writer, Alan Moore, for creating Rorschach from Watchmen.

Negative: Good lord! The female bartender was very annoying due to the fact that she obnoxiously screams. Don’t tell me that this is a prototype of Capshaw’s Disease! (CD for short) Sorry Classic Horror fans, I’ll have to Double Down Points for this con, because I hate it when a certain character becomes frequently annoying! Makes you want to shut him/her up! An annoying idiot is my number one pet peeve on movie cliches.

When the female bartender asks Griffin if he wants his hat dry, he refuses one shot later, the bartender makes a weird but goofy looking expression. Did someone forget to edit or cut this shot without double checking?

As I’ve mentioned in my other classical reviews for certain films involving the Universal Monsters franchise, the film’s total runtime is actually an hour and one minute. This is uncharacteristic for a full length feature film, it’s the equivalent of one hour per episode of any television drama without any commercial breaks. In today’s entertainment, if a film’s total duration is an hour, it’s not gonna work out so well.

I swear to god I’m not making this up, one of the scientists said the word “queer,” because I think the use of this word is taken out of context. This was back when the word meant strange or weird. No offense to The Gay Community.

The Final Verdict: B-

In my opinion, I thought The Invisible Man was average despite a few blemishes. I’m not saying it’s a masterpiece or a clunker.If you’re into classic movie monsters, go ahead and give this one a try. Perhaps Kevin Bacon’s version of The Invisible Man known as Hollow Man.

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