The Invisible Man (1933)
Film: The Invisible Man
Director: James Whale
Writer: R.C. Sherriff
Starring: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart and William Harrigan
This film begins with a man walking through the snow, he is wearing a coat, hat and his face is covered. This man is played by Claude Rains. He enters a bar and inn. We see that this is a normal place until he enters. He demands to have a room, a fire and a sitting room. He will pay. The inn is run by Una O’Connor and Forrester Harvey along with Merle Totthenahm.
Rains goes to his room, but will not take his coat off until O’Connor leaves him. She brings him food and he eats. He tells her to leave him alone, but she comes back in when Tottenham forgot to put the mustard on the tray. She comes in to see that he has bandages all around his face. She goes back out to the bar to tell everyone what she saw.
The film then shits to a house where a woman, played by Gloria Stuart, pleads to her father to find Rains. Her father is a doctor that worked with Rains, he is played by Henry Travers. He tells her that Rains warned him that this would happen and he is sure he is fine. William Harrigan then enters. It turns out that he loves Stuart and wants her to forget about Rains and marry him. She confesses her love for Rains.
The film then shifts back to the inn where Rains is upset that he cannot figure out a formula for his experiment. O’Connor comes into the room and he yells at her. He rushes the door, knocking her back and breaking her best china, as she was bringing him tea. She tells Harvey to go kick him out for not paying his bill, for being loud, swearing and for doing what he is doing in his room.
Harvey goes in to his room to tell him and that’s when Rains snaps. He removes his clothing to show that he is the Invisible Man. A police officer is called in, played by E.E. Clive, who attempts to arrest Rains. He messes with everyone in the room and then flees out of the window. He runs amuck in the town as well. More police are called to help them.
Harrigan and Travers start to look into Rains’ stuff and figure out that he was using a chemical that has a negative effect on the mind. The Germans discovered this and Travers didn’t think that it was still being made. They are trying to find Rains before it is too late.
Rains then reaches out to Harrigan. He wants him to work with him. He shows him that he is the invisible man and that he needs someone who can be seen to help him finish his work to sell it. Harrigan agrees at first, but then he kills a police officer when they break into the inn to recover his books on his experiments.
Harrigan is scared, because he cannot see Rains and sees that he is losing his mind. Will Harrigan tell the police before it is too late? The chief of police is called in, played by Holmes Herbert, and Chief Detective, played by Dudley Digges, to catch him. Can they stop him before more people get hurt or worse?
I have to lead off stating that this film is a classic from the original Universal horror films. I have to say that I love the concept of this film a lot. The film doesn’t go into too much about the formula or how it was created, but I like that. I also love that the power of being invisible warps the mind of Rains. I know the chemical has an effect too, but being given this amount of power makes it even worse. I think Rains is great in his role. The rest of the cast isn’t bad.
This film does have some issues for me though. The first one being that I don’t like that this film is so short and the story is pretty basic. I think that having a subplot or two could have helped to flesh this film out a little more. This was back when they just gave you the story, so it is a product of the era this film was made. The second was that I thought some of the scenes when Rains is messing with people become a little slapstick. Personally I thought it made the film a little childish.
Now with that said though, I did enjoy this film. This one is a classic so if you are into the origins of the horror film, this film is a must see. Rains is great as the Invisible Man. From what I’ve read, this film is the closest adaptation to the source material in the Universal Classic Horror films when it comes to the film version. I have not read this novel thus far though. This film was a little boring and could have used a subplot or two to make the film more interesting. The concept of this film and seeing the effects of what happens to Rains is great to see. This film is from the 1930s, so keep that in mind. It is in black and white as well. I would recommend giving this film a viewing.
My Rating: 7 out of 10