universal monster marathon – the invisible man

“Stop staring at me, you fool,” the invisible man tells his companion at one point in this film – I kid ye not. The script is pepper with such  humorous lines which are something of a trademark of director, James Whale. Originally Boris Karloff was to play the invisible man but after a disagreement with the studio he walked off the project. Colin Clive was also considered and indeed had not the film production been temporarily suspended, Clive would have played the part. However when the movies started up again Colin Clive was unavailable and so British actor, Claude Rains took the part.

Rains is only seen briefly at the film’s climax and for the most part of the movie his performance is by disembodied voice alone. And what a vocal performance and Rains together with some clever special effects creates the illusion of an invisible mad man. Once nice touch is with Una O’Conner playing essentially the same character she played in Whale’s Frankenstein and providing suitable hysterics.

Black body suit against a black background was used for this shot


The special effects were cleverly done – for the most part wires were used to hurl things about, but the scene where the invisible man undressed was done by Claude Rains wearing a black body suit beneath his clothes, while the scene was filmed against a black background. The shot was then superimposed onto a shot of the location where the action takes place – this technique was groundbreaking for the time, and thrilled audiences which helped to make the film one of the studio’s biggest money earners of the year.

Another excellent horror classic from Universal.



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