Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


THE INVISIBLE MAN. H. G. Wells. First published in 1897. NOTE: From time to time Great Old Movies will offer critiques of novels, plays, etc., that were turned into famous movies, comparing the film versions with the originals.

Although written over a hundred years ago, The Invisible Man is written in a very accessible style and fast pace. The inn he stumbles into at the opening is not the Lion's Head as in the film, but the Coach and Horses. There is some humor in the book, but certainly not as much as in Whale's film version. There is no love interest to speak of, and the protagonist, Frank Griffin, winds up in the home of Professor Kemp, whom he knows, by accident. In the film Griffin is driven crazy by an ingredient in the invisibility formula, but in the novel he's pretty much a self-absorbed sociopath from the beginning. He doesn't derail any trains -- although he does plan to embark upon a "reign of terror" -- but he does murder one man and attack many others. This is certainly not Wells's best novel, but it is fascinating, highly influential, and a good read to boot.

Verdict: A classic. ***.

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