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

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (1940). Director: A. Edward Sutherland.

Essentially unrelated to the first two Invisible Man movies, this is an out and out comedy starring John Barrymore -- giving a very funny performance -- as an absent-minded professor who advertises for a human guinea pig for his invisibility machine. Kitty Carroll (Virginia Bruce, pictured), a model who's fed up with her nasty boss Growley (Charles Lane, playing his usual grumpy Gus and playing it well), volunteers because she wants to get even with Growley without his knowing that it's her. A racketeer in exile, Blackie Cole (Oskar Homolka), also wants the machine so he can return home literally without being seen. Then there's the not-so-wealthy millionaire playboy Rich Russell (John Howard) who has been sponsoring Barrymore, and his ever-suffering butler Charles Ruggles. This is a very cute picture with many amusing moments and lines, some of which sneak up on you, and John P. Fulton's effects are as good as ever. The whole cast is quite good, including the bellicose Donald MacBride and Shemp Howard (of 3 Stooges fame) as Blackie's henchmen. Margaret Hamilton plays Barrymore's housekeeper and she and "the Great Profile" make a very funny team. Terrific ending!

Verdict: If you're in a silly mood on a rainy Sunday. ***.

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