For the first time ever, the original The Invisible Man film comes to DVD in this extraordinary Legacy Collection. Included in the collection is the original classic, starring the renowned Claude Rains, and four timeless s... more »equels, featuring such legendary actors as Vincent Price and John Barrymore. These are the landmark films that inspired an entire genre of movies and continue to be major influences on motion pictures to this day.« less
Bindy Sue Fr°nkŘnschtein | under the rubble | 10/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE INVISIBLE MAN- Claude Rains is awesome as the man whose invisibility serum slowly rots his brain. Hunted by police, he sets out to cure himself and get revenge on the man who betrayed him. Excellent stuff! Check out the running pair of pants scene! THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS- has Vincent Price as a man on death row, framed for a murder he did not commit. He gets some help in the form of the invisibilty serum and simply walks out of prison! Can he prove his innocense and find the real killer before te serum drives him mad? Great sequel! THE INVISIBLE WOMAN- This one is strictly for laughs. A scientist (John Barrymore) invents an invisibility machine with his assistant (Margaret "Wicked Witch Of The West" Hamilton). A young woman volunteers to be turned invisible and the slapstick begins. A gang of thugs wants the machine for obvious criminal reasons. The gang even includes a stooge (Shemp Howard)! Worth a look. THE INVISIBLE AGENT- Jon Hall is the title character, dropped behind enemy lines during WW II. Can he foil the nefarious plans of the nazis? Sir Cedrick Hardwicke is head of the gestapo and Peter Lorre is an evil japanese spy. Not bad at all! INVISIBLE MAN'S REVENGE- Jon Hall is back as the invisible man. This time out, cheated and betrayed by old "friends", he seeks vengeance at all cost. He encounters a scientist (John Carradine) who has been turning animals invisible with his secret serum, and you can guess the result! Very good! This collection is yet another goldmine from universal's creaky vaults! Add it to your monster list..."
The Invisible Man: One of the Best Films of the 30s
pestcomics | Long Island, New York USA | 09/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Between directing the original "Frankenstein" in 1931 and his masterpiece "Bride of Frankenstein" in 1935, James Whale put out a little gem called "The Invisible Man" in 1933. In some ways I rate "The Invisible Man" above "Frankenstein." For one thing "The Invisible Man" has a great musical score which heightens the drama in many scenes and helps to speed the pace of the film. The original "Frankenstein" had no musical score (strange one was never added for re-release as it would have improved an already great film tremendously) as musical scores weren't commonplace until a few years later. I also think that Whale had developed greatly as a director between 1931 and 1933. "Frankenstein" has many scenes that seem to be stagey and lack the finesse of Whale's later films.
In many ways "The Invisible Man" is Universal's most horrific horror film of the 1930s. Dracula was a vampire who killed to sustain his own existence, Frankenstein's Monster was a misunderstood and sympathetic creature who killed out of fear or anger, while The Invisible Man is a man driven mad by an illicit drug who kills out of shear pleasure. He commits mass murder during the film on a scale much greater than any other Universal picture. We also have to remember he is at his core a man not a monster.
Claude Rains gives a magnificent performance, in his US film debut, in the title role. Rains, who's face was only seen on screen briefly at the end of the film, had a deep distinctive voice which was perfect for a role that was more about voice than body. This role was the start of a long and very successful film career for Rains who played costarring and supporting roles in classic films from the 1930s through the 1960s.
Also in the cast are Henry Travers, Gloria Stuart and Una O'Connor. Travers was a talented character actor who may be most recognized to film fans as Clarence the inept angel in the holiday classic "It's A Wonderful Life." Stuart, who as a starlet in the 30s appeared in dozens of films before retiring from the screen, had a career resurrection in recent years when she was cast as "old Rose" in the mega-hit "Titanic." O'Connor, supplying comic relief as a busybody inn keeper's wife, played numerous supporting roles in Hollywood's golden age including a the role of Minnie in Whale's "Bride of Frankenstein."
Of course, by 21st century standards "The Invisible Man" is antiquated. The special effects, undoubtedly cutting edge for their time, are not very impressive in the age of computer technology. Having said that, I must admit this film is still entertaining and exciting to watch. The performances, especially Claude Rains, still hold up and the direction by Whale remains spot on. If you sit back and imagine yourself as a moviegoer in the 1930s, having never seen special effects like this before, it's easy to see how stunning this film must have been to audiences more than 70 years ago.
The $20 price tag is well worth it just to own "The Invisible Man" but in this Legacy Collection you also receive ALL of the Universal "Invisible" films (minus "Abbot & Costello Meet The Invisible Man"). It could be argued that "The Invisible Man Returns" and "The Invisible Man's Revenge" are the only true sequels as they follow the adventures of Jack Griffin's (Claude Rains' character in the original) brother. "... Returns" is distinguished by Vincent Price in the title role. These two films are pleasant B-movie efforts by Universal and part of the second horror cycle of the 1940s. "The Invisible Woman" is more comedy than horror and features John Barrymore in the twilight of his career. "The Invisible Agent" was a wartime adventure featuring Universal's top action hero of the 40s, Jon Hall, using invisibility to fight Nazis.
Having added The Invisible Man, The Mummy and The Creature to its series of Legacy Collections, I sincerely hope Universal continues with the balance of its horror titles of the 30s and 40s. I hope to see a release of the films that teamed Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi ("The Black Cat," "The Raven," "The Invisible Ray," and "Black Friday"), a release of the Inner Sanctum series starring Lon Chaney and a set with all the one-off horror films ("Murders in the Rue Morgue," the 1943 "Phantom of the Opera," "Man-Made Monster," "The Mad Ghoul," etc.) of Universal's Golden Age."
The Trials and Tribulations of Invisibility
mrliteral | 12/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The movie Van Helsing may have been pretty awful, but it did do one good thing in giving Universal a reason to release a lot of its old monster movies. The Invisible Man boxed set is the second best in the bunch, behind only Frankenstein but ahead of Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Mummy. (I have not viewed the Creature boxed set).
The strength in this set is due to two things: the high caliber of the original movie and the fact that all five movies have unique stories. Compare this with the Mummy boxed set in which the four sequels to the original movie all have essentially the same plot.
The original movie is top quality, principally due to the direction of James Whale, clearly the best of the monster movie directors (his other works include the excellent Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein). Claude Rains plays the title character, initially sympathetic but eventually a villain as madness accompanies his invisibility. For those familiar with Gloria Stuart only from her Titanic role as the older version of the main character, this is an opportunity to see her as a much younger woman.
The other movies are generally decent, albeit lesser in quality. In the Invisible Man Returns, the protagonist - played by Vincent Price - is out to clear his name of murder before going insane himself. The Invisible Woman is a light comedy unrelated to the other movies in the set. Invisible Agent has a descendant of the original character going behind enemy lines to fight the Axis in World War II. In the Invisible Man's Revenge - perhaps the weakest in the bunch - has the main character using invisibility to feed his own greed and anger; although he has the name Griffin (the name of the original movie's protagonist), this is only a semi-sequel, as he needs to go to another character to become invisible.
With the numerous ways that the invisibility is played up in these movies - for horror, for suspense and for comedy - and the heavier emphasis on special effects (which are actually pretty good for the time: you rarely see the strings), this is one of the best of these old monster movie sets and well worth the viewing for fans of the genre. "
Comparison of new vs old release
Steven W. Hill | Chicago IL USA | 10/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The sole purpose of this review is to compare "The Invisible Man" in this collection to the older DVD release.
EXCELLENT. Dramatic improvement - much better contrast and detail. It appears that a different source print was used, and it's much better than that which was used for the older DVD. This is unquestionably worth the upgrade, regardless of all the added benefits.
You can view screen capture comparisons on my website."
More classic stuff!!!
nom-de-nick | United States | 10/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, it's no secret to monster fans that 1) the Invisible Man never reached the pinnacle of popularity (alliteration unintended) of Dracula, Frankenstein or the Mummy and 2) That the title film far outdistances this set's other offerings as far as acting, plot,etc. Still, make this set a must-own for yourself. The Invisible Man alone is worth the price of admission. The special effects are still VERY cool, 70 years after the fact. They had to have been the absolute pinnacle of cutting edge back then, and, unbelieveably, look real enough today to remain convincing. But beyond that, Rains' acting, the character actors, Whale's touches, the camera work, all combine to make for an excellent, entertaining film. The others are, again, not nearly as good (though it's interesting to see -- or hear -- a young Vincent Price in Return, and Woman has its moments), but still a lot of fun to watch. The new material is interesting, but could've gone into a little more depth. Still, you won't regret buying this."