THE INVISIBLE MAN

PrintE-mail Written by Richard Thomas

After the success of Frankenstein in 1931, which made a star of the previously unknown character actor Boris Karloff, Universal Studios were keen for the director James Whale to return to the Horror genre with the studio's new king of fright, who was already overshadowing Bela Lugosi, who had just starred in Dracula. Universal had already reunited the British director and actor in the 1932 film The Old Dark House, which was also successful, and wanted to team the two together again in a sequel to Frankenstein. Ultimately, Universal would make The Bride of Frankenstein in 1935, with their flagship Horror director and star, however, Whale not wanting to make a Frankenstein sequel so quickly was looking for another project to tackle first. The result was The Invisible Man in 1933.

Originally Boris Karloff was going to star in the film adaptation of HG Wells' classic novel about a scientist who loses his sanity after discovering the secret of invisibility, but following creative differences, Karloff left the project, paving the way for another British import Claude Rains to star as the invisible one instead. Included on the DVD is an excellent documentary about the making of the film and its many sequels, where it is explained that as the leading man would be covered by bandages, Rains was chosen because of his unique voice and vocalization of words, the result of speech therapy to lose his working class London accent. 

Often in the shadow of James Whale's two Frankenstein films: The Invisible Man is an undisputed classic that made the name of Claude Rains, who would later star in Universal's 1943 remake of the Phantom of the Opera, the film set a new benchmark for special effects that would not be topped until the development of Chroma key or "green screen" techniques decades later. While the commentary provided by film historian Rudy Behlmer gives a good insight into the production of the film, this DVD could benefit from some new extras not included in previous releases. Despite this lack of new material, this DVD will still be welcome to newcomers to Universal Horror and the films of James Whale.

THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933) / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: JAMES WHALE / SCREENPLAY: R.C. SHERRIFF, PHILIP WYLIE, PRESTON STURGES / STARRING: CLAUDE RAINS, GLORIA STUART, WILLIAM HARRIGAN, HENRY TRAVERS / RELEASE DATE: 28TH MARCH 




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