Would you be your own test subject if it meant unearthing a major scientific discovery? Would you be prepared for the unknown consequences? What if your discovery could quite possible be the most dangerous weapon in the world? By the time The Invisible Man starts, the main character has already made his decision and now he has to deal with the consequences consuming him while he races for an antidote. These consequences include egotistical mania and a crippling need to take over the world. (What are doing tonight, Brain? The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world! Mwhahahahaha) Will these consequences consume him or will he find the antidote in time? Well read on my friend and you may get to know the answer…
Claude Rains plays the invisible man. Plays might be too strong of a word since all you hear is his voice and you don’t see him actually saying his dialogue. His distinct voice booms over the sight of a smoking jacket with no limbs or head and I wonder where I have heard such a beautiful voice before. Then it dawns on me that this is the same man who plays a French policeman in Casablanca and Mr. Dryden in Lawrence of Arabia. This lauded character actor who played such iconic roles was also The Invisible One. Everyone has to start somewhere I suppose and what a start he had. You cannot read his facial expressions and yet he expresses way more depth than anyone else in the picture. He is the asset to otherwise a flat B picture horror movie.
Sometime in the late nineties, a big studio got it into their heads that they were going to adapt The Invisible Man again but update it to our current times. It turned out to be a disaster for multiple reasons (:cough: Kevin Bacon :cough:) but part of the reason was because they used CGI effects in order to suggest someone going invisible. It looked like they were cheating. In this film, long before there was even a hint of computer animated special effects, they were able to suggest invisibility in such a convincing way using the sleight of hand such masters as Georges Melies used in his magic films. Although I knew that Claude Rains (or a stunt double) was actually standing there with velvet over his head and his hands, but it felt more real to me. There is just something about regular special effects that makes me feel like more work has been put into them.
The Invisible Man is a great character piece that expresses a scientific and rational man’s irrational need to be remembered. Do not come hoping for suspense or any great performances by the supporting actors. Instead come for a chance to hear Claude Rains rant and rave about the fate of man. It is some good stuff.