I’ve read the H.G. Wells novel, I’ve seen and read Memoirs of an Invisible Man (which it TOTALLY underrated), and I thought Hollow Man was pretty good, but I’d never seen this one before. This is my third James Whale film this month, and I have to say, I really dig him! Like Frankenstein, the character of the Invisible Man is so entrenched in pop culture it’s hard to objectively look at this film. For some reason, the darkness of this movie surprised me. Dr. Jack Griffin (the titular invisible man) descends delightfully into madness.
The effects are fantastic, and not just for a movie that’s 80 years old. When Griffin is mostly naked, his remaining clothes were rigged up with wires, but when he’s partially dressed, Claude Rains was dressed in a black velvet suit and shot against a black velvet background.
I love the way the weather plays almost a character in the movie, as an antagonist to Griffin. He must be naked to be invisible, and the cold temperatures make that hard for him. Also, snow shows off his footprints and lands on his head and his shoulders. (Though in the final scene, his foot prints in the snow are shoe prints, not bare feet!)
Rains was chosen for this role because he has a very clear speaking voice, very important for a n actor who’s not actually on screen for most of the film. Though his character is in almost every scene, we only get to see his face in the final moment of the film, as he passes away.
This is a great classic, and it’s worth the quick run time of 71 minutes to watch it!