This completes the reviews of the Universal classic
monster movies.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Claude Rains as the Invisible Man

Henry Travers as Dr. Cranley

Screenplay by R.C. Sherriff based on the H. G. Wells

Directed by James Whale.

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Past movie reviews can be found here.


A bandaged man seeks privacy in a small town. He is
soon revealed to
be a lunatic.

High Point

The first glimpse over dinner. The effects were
amazing for the time.

Low Point

As a self-contained item: If he’s got a cop by the
feet, you know
where he is. Don’t keep converging on a spot in the
other direction.

As an adaptation: no mention of the opaque nature of
his retinas.
Wells recognized that invisible retinas meant a blind
person, but
everybody since him seems to have forgotten.

The Scores

It’s hard to give credit for originality in
this movie. It’s
a relatively faithful adaptation of a good novel, and
most of the
changes that were made were to transform the
supporting cast into a
more stereotypical selection from the horror genre
that Universal was
practically creating at the time. I do give them
credit for the
effects, though; I doubt many thought making the
movie would even be
possible back in 1933. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were amazing. They are still
quite convincing,
and rather elaborate, which is very, very impressive.
I give it 6 out
of 6.

The story is well done, probably because
they recognized that
they didn’t need to make major changes to the plot.
This works quite
well, and it pretty edgy in terms of violence for the
day. Murders
are frequent. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting from Rains is excellent. The
rest of the cast is
too melodramatic. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is quite strong.
It’s an interesting
story, treated with respect in its translation from
the source
material. The senseless violence is still
bothersome, as it is
intended to be. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is well done. The lighting
and editing are
very good, and the sets are usually pretty good.
There are two set
pieces that remind us we have sets, though. The net
scene should have
been shot to make us think the camera was in, and not
behind the
wall. The scene introducing Flora also has a door in
a wall that
doesn’t go across the entire room. It looks good on
screen, but it’s
impractical and illogical in real life, so it stands
out. I give it 5
out of 6.

Overall, I’d argue that this is the best of
the classic
Universal horror features. Very entertaining. I
give it 5 out of 6.

In total, The Invisible Man receives 34 out
of 42.

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