“The Invisible Man” appears on Me-TV

The Invisible ManUpon watching “The Invisible Man” (1933), it’s not difficult to figure out  why Universal Studios dominated the horror-film genre from the 1920’s through  the 1940’s.  Combining solid scripts with great directors and actors,  Universal made science-fiction seem very believable.  Based on the story by  H.G. Wells, “The Invisible Man” will be seen (and not seen) on Saturday, June  25th at 10 pm on ME-TV (channel 31).  Directed by James Whale, “The  Invisible Man” stars Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan and Henry  Travers.  Although the title character cannot accurately be described as a  monster, the success of “The Invisible Man” places him in the same elite  category occupied by Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s  monster.

An inn located in the British countryside is visited by a mysterious  stranger, whose facial features are completely hidden by bandages and sun  glasses.  Demanding total privacy, the man never leaves his room, but when  his behavior provokes the innkeeper to demand he vacate the premises, the  stranger tears off his bandages, revealing the fact that he is, in reality, an  invisible man, and not a very nice one at that.  Laughing maniacally, he  throws the innkeeper down the stairs, and attempts to strangle a policeman  before escaping into the night.  The invisible man is actually a scientist  named Dr. Jack Griffin (Rains) who has stumbled upon the secret in invisibility  while experimenting with the new drug, “monocane.”  It’s Griffin’s hope  that he can force his one -time partner, Dr Kemp (Harrigan) into helping him  perfect his discovery, which he feels could be the key to unlimited power.   Griffin’s invisibility has two drawbacks….monocane only renders the body  invisible, forcing Griffin to wander around without clothes, and, more  importantly, the process is slowly driving him insane.

Boris Karloff was Universal’s initial choice to play the title role in “The  Invisible Man,” but Karloff was not pleased with the amount of money the studio  was offering, and also did not relish the thought of his character being unseen  for almost the entire film.  Claude Rains was new to motion pictures, but  was given the lead role by director James Whale, who was impressed by the  intellectual tone of Rains’ voice.  Claude Rains went on to become one of  Hollywood’s great supporting actors, appearing in many notable films, including “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “Casablanca.”  “The Invisible Man” had numerous sequels, none of which  included Claude Rains or the character, Dr. Jack Griffin.

Notes:  H. G. Wells, who wrote “The Invisible Man” in 1897, was not  completely happy with the Hollywood version of his work.  Although Wells  said he liked the film, he wasn’t pleased that the title character was portrayed  as a lunatic, rather than a brilliant scientist.  Director Whale defended  the depiction, saying that, “in the minds of rational people, only a lunatic  would want to make himself invisible anyway.”  Wells was more enthusiastic  over the 1938 radio adaptation of his novel, “War of the Worlds” despite the  widespread panic it caused.  Upon meeting Orson Welles, the man who  produced the “War of the Worlds” broadcast, H.G. Wells thanked the American  actor/producer for increasing the sales of one of his more “obscure titles.”