88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
THE INVISIBLE MAN- Claude Rains is awesome as the man whose invisibility serum slowly rots his brain. Hunted by police, he sets out to cure himself and get revenge on the man who betrayed him. Excellent stuff! Check out the running pair of pants scene! THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS- has Vincent Price as a man on death row, framed for a murder he did not commit. He gets some help in the form of the invisibilty serum and simply walks out of prison! Can he prove his innocense and find the real killer before te serum drives him mad? Great sequel! THE INVISIBLE WOMAN- This one is strictly for laughs. A scientist (John Barrymore) invents an invisibility machine with his assistant (Margaret "Wicked Witch Of The West" Hamilton). A young woman volunteers to be turned invisible and the slapstick begins. A gang of thugs wants the machine for obvious criminal reasons. The gang even includes a stooge (Shemp Howard)! Worth a look. THE INVISIBLE AGENT- Jon Hall is the title character, dropped behind enemy lines during WW II. Can he foil the nefarious plans of the nazis? Sir Cedrick Hardwicke is head of the gestapo and Peter Lorre is an evil japanese spy. Not bad at all! INVISIBLE MAN'S REVENGE- Jon Hall is back as the invisible man. This time out, cheated and betrayed by old "friends", he seeks vengeance at all cost. He encounters a scientist (John Carradine) who has been turning animals invisible with his secret serum, and you can guess the result! Very good! This collection is yet another goldmine from universal's creaky vaults! Add it to your monster list...
75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2004
Between directing the original "Frankenstein" in 1931 and his masterpiece "Bride of Frankenstein" in 1935, James Whale put out a little gem called "The Invisible Man" in 1933. In some ways I rate "The Invisible Man" above "Frankenstein." For one thing "The Invisible Man" has a great musical score which heightens the drama in many scenes and helps to speed the pace of the film. The original "Frankenstein" had no musical score (strange one was never added for re-release as it would have improved an already great film tremendously) as musical scores weren't commonplace until a few years later. I also think that Whale had developed greatly as a director between 1931 and 1933. "Frankenstein" has many scenes that seem to be stagey and lack the finesse of Whale's later films.
In many ways "The Invisible Man" is Universal's most horrific horror film of the 1930s. Dracula was a vampire who killed to sustain his own existence, Frankenstein's Monster was a misunderstood and sympathetic creature who killed out of fear or anger, while The Invisible Man is a man driven mad by an illicit drug who kills out of shear pleasure. He commits mass murder during the film on a scale much greater than any other Universal picture. We also have to remember he is at his core a man not a monster.
Claude Rains gives a magnificent performance, in his US film debut, in the title role. Rains, who's face was only seen on screen briefly at the end of the film, had a deep distinctive voice which was perfect for a role that was more about voice than body. This role was the start of a long and very successful film career for Rains who played costarring and supporting roles in classic films from the 1930s through the 1960s.
Also in the cast are Henry Travers, Gloria Stuart and Una O'Connor. Travers was a talented character actor who may be most recognized to film fans as Clarence the inept angel in the holiday classic "It's A Wonderful Life." Stuart, who as a starlet in the 30s appeared in dozens of films before retiring from the screen, had a career resurrection in recent years when she was cast as "old Rose" in the mega-hit "Titanic." O'Connor, supplying comic relief as a busybody inn keeper's wife, played numerous supporting roles in Hollywood's golden age including a the role of Minnie in Whale's "Bride of Frankenstein."
Of course, by 21st century standards "The Invisible Man" is antiquated. The special effects, undoubtedly cutting edge for their time, are not very impressive in the age of computer technology. Having said that, I must admit this film is still entertaining and exciting to watch. The performances, especially Claude Rains, still hold up and the direction by Whale remains spot on. If you sit back and imagine yourself as a moviegoer in the 1930s, having never seen special effects like this before, it's easy to see how stunning this film must have been to audiences more than 70 years ago.
The $20 price tag is well worth it just to own "The Invisible Man" but in this Legacy Collection you also receive ALL of the Universal "Invisible" films (minus "Abbot & Costello Meet The Invisible Man"). It could be argued that "The Invisible Man Returns" and "The Invisible Man's Revenge" are the only true sequels as they follow the adventures of Jack Griffin's (Claude Rains' character in the original) brother. "... Returns" is distinguished by Vincent Price in the title role. These two films are pleasant B-movie efforts by Universal and part of the second horror cycle of the 1940s. "The Invisible Woman" is more comedy than horror and features John Barrymore in the twilight of his career. "The Invisible Agent" was a wartime adventure featuring Universal's top action hero of the 40s, Jon Hall, using invisibility to fight Nazis.
Having added The Invisible Man, The Mummy and The Creature to its series of Legacy Collections, I sincerely hope Universal continues with the balance of its horror titles of the 30s and 40s. I hope to see a release of the films that teamed Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi ("The Black Cat," "The Raven," "The Invisible Ray," and "Black Friday"), a release of the Inner Sanctum series starring Lon Chaney and a set with all the one-off horror films ("Murders in the Rue Morgue," the 1943 "Phantom of the Opera," "Man-Made Monster," "The Mad Ghoul," etc.) of Universal's Golden Age.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
The movie Van Helsing may have been pretty awful, but it did do one good thing in giving Universal a reason to release a lot of its old monster movies. The Invisible Man boxed set is the second best in the bunch, behind only Frankenstein but ahead of Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Mummy. (I have not viewed the Creature boxed set).
The strength in this set is due to two things: the high caliber of the original movie and the fact that all five movies have unique stories. Compare this with the Mummy boxed set in which the four sequels to the original movie all have essentially the same plot.
The original movie is top quality, principally due to the direction of James Whale, clearly the best of the monster movie directors (his other works include the excellent Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein). Claude Rains plays the title character, initially sympathetic but eventually a villain as madness accompanies his invisibility. For those familiar with Gloria Stuart only from her Titanic role as the older version of the main character, this is an opportunity to see her as a much younger woman.
The other movies are generally decent, albeit lesser in quality. In the Invisible Man Returns, the protagonist - played by Vincent Price - is out to clear his name of murder before going insane himself. The Invisible Woman is a light comedy unrelated to the other movies in the set. Invisible Agent has a descendant of the original character going behind enemy lines to fight the Axis in World War II. In the Invisible Man's Revenge - perhaps the weakest in the bunch - has the main character using invisibility to feed his own greed and anger; although he has the name Griffin (the name of the original movie's protagonist), this is only a semi-sequel, as he needs to go to another character to become invisible.
With the numerous ways that the invisibility is played up in these movies - for horror, for suspense and for comedy - and the heavier emphasis on special effects (which are actually pretty good for the time: you rarely see the strings), this is one of the best of these old monster movie sets and well worth the viewing for fans of the genre.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2004
The sole purpose of this review is to compare "The Invisible Man" in this collection to the older DVD release.
EXCELLENT. Dramatic improvement - much better contrast and detail. It appears that a different source print was used, and it's much better than that which was used for the older DVD. This is unquestionably worth the upgrade, regardless of all the added benefits.
You can view screen capture comparisons on my website.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2004
OK, it's no secret to monster fans that 1) the Invisible Man never reached the pinnacle of popularity (alliteration unintended) of Dracula, Frankenstein or the Mummy and 2) That the title film far outdistances this set's other offerings as far as acting, plot,etc. Still, make this set a must-own for yourself. The Invisible Man alone is worth the price of admission. The special effects are still VERY cool, 70 years after the fact. They had to have been the absolute pinnacle of cutting edge back then, and, unbelieveably, look real enough today to remain convincing. But beyond that, Rains' acting, the character actors, Whale's touches, the camera work, all combine to make for an excellent, entertaining film. The others are, again, not nearly as good (though it's interesting to see -- or hear -- a young Vincent Price in Return, and Woman has its moments), but still a lot of fun to watch. The new material is interesting, but could've gone into a little more depth. Still, you won't regret buying this.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Jack Griffin is a brilliant scientist who has some ideas that his peers think dangerous and unethical. Not one to be dissuaded, Griffin successfully experiments on himself, becoming the first human to be rendered invisible. Unfortunately, prolonged invisibility--or possibly the invisibility drug itself, as his peers had warned--begins to deteriorate Griffin's mind, and he soon becomes a power-hungry killer bent on revenge.
Though rarely seen in the film due to the special effects and costuming demanded by the part, Claude Rains does a dynamic job in the role of Jack Griffin. His gravelly voice and vocal histrionics serve perfectly in delivering to the audience Griffin's descent into emotional hell. And James Whale's direction is as brilliant as ever, creating the appropriate mood and atmosphere as we follow a madman's ravaging of the English countryside.
One of only four Horror films directed by James Whale for Universal, THE INVISIBLE MAN is a work that some historians and critics regard as a veiled allegory of the director's own publically covert homosexuality. While FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN also depict societal outcasts in a sympathetic light, the eponymous character in THE INVISIBLE MAN is a character in a situation that is most like Whale's own--a respected genius in the public eye, but a person whose true self must remain invisible.
Even if you don't buy that particular historical perspective, THE INVISIBLE MAN still works as an allegory of any societal pariah. We all have traits that we sometimes hide from others; we all have masks that we wear. And at the times when we dwell on the things we keep hidden behind those masks, we may feel just a little "invisible" to others. So in watching THE INVISIBLE MAN, Jack Griffin becomes a metaphor for our own private identities, and we care about what happens to him. As with many of Whale's films, this pathos for the protagonist becomes a skeleton on which hangs the overall plot.
Compared to contemporary movies, the special effects in this film might seem a little dated. But the script is good, the directing is great, and the acting is superb. Anyone who enjoyes a well-crafted movie certainly won't be disappointed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2002
The Invisible Man is a great flim! It stars Claude Rains as thne invisible one, Griffin. And during the end of the middle his partner calls the police while his is staying in his house. Then Griffin promised to kill him the next day at 10:00p.m. And that is a PROMISE! I wont say anything more. People would say why would he go mad? He only turned invisible but during the movie it says in the chemicals he uses there is a drug and mixed with the other chemicals it abvously creates invisibility. But the drug can hurt people drive them a little mad. This happens to Griffin. This was found by anciet times when they used this drug and the other assitiant points out thats why they have not used it since. This movie has an ending that makes you say how was there two sequels to The Invisible Man unless the invisible man is not Griffin or there was a miricle but otherwise this movie is TERRIFIC. So I highly reccomend this movie to anyone who spots a good eye on it. So may I end this review in:
This Movie Was Terrific
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2013
The Invisible Man Legacy collection includes 5 films from Universal Pictures movie library, the best of the lot being the first 2 films:
"The Invisible Man" - Directed by James Whale of "Frankenstein" fame & a movie that definitely includes his comedic touches, such as the delightful Una O' Connor, who I know can grate people the wrong way, but I always find the woman to be hysterical. And there's a great turn by E.E. Clive as a policeman, who utters the immortal line "Look, he's all eaten away."
Of course, most of the greatness of this movie comes from the voice of Claude Rains, who's delivery makes what would seem like innocuous dialogue carry weight & gravitas, like the scenes where he's telling Kemp to get him some clothes so he can see who he's talking with or when Rains is describing the murders he can commit (Just these fingers around a signalman's throat, that's all). A star was definitely born with this performance. 4 1/2 stars
"The Invisible Man Returns" - I found this movie to be just as enjoyable, if not better than the original. Vincent Price, who had yet to have his name become synonymous with horror turns in a fantastic performance as the "Invisible One", Cecil Kellaway is delightful as a Scotland Yard agent, especially with some of his witty banter to the fumbling policemen we see throughout this picture & the story was very engaging. If only the rest of the Invisible sequels had been this good.
4 1/2 stars
The remainder of the films on this legacy collection are average to below average at best. "The Invisible Woman" elicited a few chuckles, but overall is a forgettable entry & Three Stooges fans such as myself may get a kick out of seeing Shemp Howard in this film, although he hardly gets a chance to show off his comedic skills.
As far as wartime propaganda goes, "Invisible Agent" is harmless & sometimes engaging, though I sometimes wonder why Lon Chaney Jr. didn't play the Invisible Man. He played every other fright character for Universal & who knows maybe this and "The Invisible Man's Revenge" would have been more enjoyable with Chaney instead of Jon Hall.
Overall, while the majority of the Invisible sequels are hardly as much fun as the Mummy films of the 1940s, this still rates as a solid collection of movies, mainly on the strength of the first 2 features.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2000
For those of you who have read my reviews, you may ask why a hard core English Major who sticks to Marlowe, Shakespeare, Milton, Hawthorne, and Dickens finds this old horror movie so important. I am glad to answer this. In this modern movie world of special effects and gore, I feel the true meaning of horror has been lost. This movie is an obvious example of the true meaning of horror. Rains' character was a good and decent man who could not stay behind the line of 'this far and no further.' (Resembles Marlowe's techniques.) He crossed the line and made himself invisible and was unable to reverse the formula. (This passes plausibility, but with all of this film's merits, it is easy to overlook.) For a while Rains actually has fun with his power, and the events are very comical. (Not unlike Marlowe's Dr. Faustus.) However, the invisibility is NOT what presents us with horror. What DOES fill us with horror is the degeneration of this good and decent man into a psychotic killer obsessed with power. His former friend Kemp turns into an enemy (and we can scarcely blame him). Even Rains' former employer (who wants to help him) is expressed by Rains as having 'the mind of a tapeworm.' Eventually, Rains' character goes on a mindless and random killing spree. So Rains has gone from being an intelligent decent man, to a prankster, to one who alienates his friends, to one who rebukes people who want to help him, to killing randomly and mindlessly. The effects are simple and do not overshadow the true horror of this. I tip my hat to Claude Rains for displaying one of the most frightening things so well. (The gradual degeneration of a human being.)
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2004
The opening scene of "The Invisible Man," is visually stunning. The moment when Rains brushes the snow off the sign to when he opens the Inn door is burned in my mind forever. The coat, googles and bandages create a great retro style.