After Indiana University’s disappointing loss to North Carolina in the NCAA tournament Friday night, I decided to watch a light-hearted movie from the 1930’s. So I chose “The Invisible Man.” It is a movie about a scientist who experimented upon himself, and while successful, drove himself mad. Cheery, don’t you think?
The movie starred Claude Rains in his first Hollywood movie. He had a large speaking part, but it was hard to tell if his facial expressions went along with the words. Gloria Stuart played the perpetually distraught fiancée, Flora. Henry Travers plays Flora’s un-mad scientist father, and William Harrigan is her unlucky suitor, Kemp.
There are many extras who play buffoonish police constables and villagers. All seem to have amazing faces. Una O’Connor plays the wife of the pub owner. John Carradine has a small, uncredited part as one of the villagers. Also, Walter Brennan had an uncredited part. To be honest, I didn’t recognize Brennan until I did a spot check in Wikipedia.
The movie was directed by James Whale, who is best known to me as the director of “Frankenstein,” which was made two years prior to “The Invisible Man.” He also directed “The Bride of Frankenstein,” “Showboat,” and “The Man In The Iron Mask” among many others.
The story is loosely based on the book of the same name by H.G. Wells. I don’t know what Wells thought of the movie, but it is said that he generally thought his books would not translate well to film.
One last thing, when the movie started I was struck that the opening music was the same as in the Flash Gordon serials starring Buster Crabbe; the first of which was made seven years after “The Invisible Man.” . I love that music! Oh, and I like the moviea lot as well.