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Subj: Creature Feature 59: The Invisible Man's Revenge(1944)
Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 at 05:43:22 am EST (Viewed 205 times)
In 1944, Universal released their 4th Invisible Man movie in 5 years, The Invisible Man's Revenge. John Hall, who played the lead in 1942's Invisible Agent, plays Robert Griffin, a different invisible character in this movie. John Carradine(Captive Wild Woman) plays the scientist who develops the invisibility formula and Evelyn Ankers has a relatively small role as the love interest. This movie is unconnected to the previous Invisible movies.
Robert Griffin, a killer who escaped from a mental institute, confronts old friends, the Herricks, whom he believes tried to kill him on an excursion in Africa where they found a diamond mine. The couple, who gained a fortune from the mine and then lost it in bad investments, drug Griffin and toss him out, alerting the authorities of him as well, in order to avoid paying him his share. Griffin is taken in by a Cockney local, Herbert, who also tries to blackmail the couple. Griffin flees and meets Dr. Drury(Carradine) who turns him invisible. Griffin plans to extort and terrorize the Herricks and also marry their daughter Julie(Ankers). When he finds that he can return to temporary visibility through blood transfusions, he kills Drury by taking all his blood and goes forth with his plans. At the Herricks home, Griffin begins to turn invisible again and lures Julie's fiance to the wine cellar where he plans to drain him of blood, too. A local constable learns of Griffin's whereabouts and arrives in time to save the man. Drury's dog Brutus, who has been following Griffin since he killed Drury, is able to get into the house and attacks and kills Griffin.
I have this movie on video tape, recorded from Turner Classic Movies years ago, but didn't have much memory of it. I watched it about 4 months ago but didn't finish. I watched it through this time and enjoyed it, but not as much as the other Invisible movies. It's uneven and the characters don't have much depth. There's a long dart game scene that is pure comedy and seems out of place given the serious tone of the rest of the movie. The effects aren't as great as in past films. It's hard to tell who you're supposed to root for as Griffin, the Herricks and Herbert are all of questionable character.
On the plus side, there are differences to this movie from the others. Griffin is insane from the start and he appears invisible and visible throughout. He does have justification for wanting revenge, but he's also a murderer before he even becomes invisible. There's a hard edge to the story. Hall is good as Griffin though not in the class of Claude Rains or Vincent Price.
Herbert, played by comedian Leon Errol, is a humorous character and the dart scene is funny, but it doesn't fit with the movie.
The movie ends with a bit about karma that really doesn't fit with the story or characters either.
It's definitely an enjoyable, though not overly memorable, movie. It seems to think it's better than it actually is, whether it's with regard to its horror, humor, or morality.
The opening. On the docks, a large crate is removed from a ship and a knife slices through the canvas covering from the inside. Hall then pulls the canvas open and slips through. This is a great introduction to the character.
Dr. Drury's lab. John Carradine does a fine job as the mad scientist equipped with the usual invisible animals for experimentation. He takes advantage of Griffin's fugitive status to further his work, but really isn't a bad character.
Griffin making himself "visible". There are a couple of great effects scenes where Griffin puts water and flour on his face. The fish tank scene is particularly good as he dips his hand in the tank and then terrifies Lady Herrick with the water on his invisible face.
The dart scene. As said above, the pure humor doesn't fit in the movie but it is fun as Griffin assures that Herbert's darts all hit the bullseye.
Svengoolie's Film Facts for The Invisible Man's Revenge
John Hall had a long career in Hollywood, spanning from the 30's to the 60's, but his two Invisible Movies seem to be his most remembered films.
John Carradine had appeared in some mystery movies in the 30's, including The Hound Of The Baskervilles, but his roles in Captive Wild Woman, Revenge Of The Zombies and The Invisible Man's Revenge started him in the horror genre.
The next Invisible Man movie would be 1951's Abbott And Costello Meet The Invisible Man.
You can watch The Invisible Man's Revenge here:
The Invisible Man's Revenge
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