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

Thursday, May 29, 2008


THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940). Director: Joe May.

When Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price) is wrongly imprisoned for murdering his brother, his friend Dr. Frank Griffin (John Sutton) -- brother of John Griffin, the original Invisible Man -- visits him in prison and gives him a shot of the formula. Voila! Radcliffe is soon free, wandering the countryside, becoming more and more paranoiac and dangerous as he tries to find out who actually murdered his brother. Like Claude Rains before him, Price gives an impressive performance using only his voice -- following the tradition of The Invisible Man he isn't seen until the very end of the picture. John P. Fulton's effects are outstanding; particularly notable is the way Price is seen as a ghostly spectre in smoke and fog and rain, as well as the effect of his emerging capillaries at the end. Nan Grey is nice as the love interest, and Cecil Kellaway and Sir Cedric Hardwicke are excellent support as, respectively, a police inspector and Radcliffe's friend. John Sutton is also quite good and Alan Napier stands out as a nervous, sinister foreman who knows more than he's telling about the murder. Director Joe May covers the action adequately but the film lacks any real style. The Invisible Man Returns is a more serious film than its predecessor, but it, too, cries out for a more exciting musical score.

Verdict: Not bad sequel if you're game. **1/2.

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