An Invisible Man Can Rule the World. Nobody Will See Him Come, Nobody Will See Him Go…He Can Rob, and Wreck, and Kill!: The Invisible Man (1933)

 

An invisible man can rule the world. Nobody will see him come, nobody will see him go. He can hear every secret. He can rob, and wreck, and kill!

Choosing a movie to open and close is hard-very, very hard. My drama teacher always told us the opening, before intermission, after intermission, and the closing are the most important-basically the opening and closing are what people remember. If you goof, make a mistake, or something doesn’t quite go right-they will forgive. As long as the begining is good and the end is powerful. That’s a lot of pressure.

Hmmm…

I was very unsure what to do-

Hmmm….

But then I had an idea. I read the book The Invisible Man and did not like it. I had never seen the film-in fact it is the only classic Universal Film I have yet to review.

Idea!

That being the case, it is the perfect one to end on. Will it be as good as the other classic films? Will it be better than the book? Will it be worse? Hmmm…?

On with the review!

When screenwriter R.C. Sherriff came to Hollywood to write this film, he asked the staff at Universal for a copy of the H.G. Wells novel he was supposed to be adapting. They didn’t have one; all they had were 14 “treatments” done by previous writers on the project, including one set in Czarist Russia and another set on Mars. Sherriff eventually found a copy of the novel in a secondhand bookstore, read it, thought it would make an excellent picture as it stood, and wrote a script that was a closer adaptation of the book.

What?

But there is one thing they did to help-they gave him a girlfriend. Having a girlfriend is very important to this character who otherwise is crazy, cruel, maniacal, evil, etc. The girlfriend humanizes him-when they are together we see there is more to him-another softer side, he isn’t just a monster.

So everyone wanted Boris Karloff to play the lead-but he turned it down as the character isn’t really on screen. The director overheard Claude Rains auditioning for another part and thought he was perfect. Rains had never been in a film before this, only stage acting, and did it perfectly as his voice was clear-even in all the costuming.

So let’s do the review:

A stranger arrives in the snow to the small village of Iping. All stop when they see how strange he looks-dressed in much heavier clothing than one would even in the cold. He wants a room.

They are more of a summer place, but agree to give him a room to sleep and an extra room-for his experiments.

The townspeople are wary of him-after all what innocent person covers themselves and tries to obscure thier identity. When the owner’s wife brings Griffin his dinner she sees that half of Griffin’s face is GONE!!

They didn’t have the technology we have today, so in order to make Rains invisible they dressed him in a full black bodysuit and placed him in front of a black screen.

Elsewhere, Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers) is woking in his laboratory. Dr. Cranely is Griffin’s mentor and his daughter Flora (Gloria Stuart) was engaged to him. Both are puzzled by his disappearance, and Flora is extremely worried about him, as she hasn’t heard from him in over a month. Dr. Arthur Kemp-Griffin’s friend and the other worker in Dr. Cranely’s lab, has also had zero word. And because Griffin was always working in secret, none know even what he was doing, so no clues where to find him.

A week later, Griffin is still at the inn working trying to find his way “back”. The only one who goes into the rooms is Jenny, the innkeeper’s wife. She doesn’t want Grifffin here-she wants him gone as his rooms are a mess, he is incredibly mean, and just creepy.

When they try to get him out, Griffin refuses and tosses the innkeeper down the stairs. They call the police. Constable Jaffers (E.E. Clive) comes to arrest him, but then Griffin does what no one expected.

Griffin attacks the men guarding the door and then takes off.

So this where I have a problem in the book. All the other classic monsters had something that made you feel for them. The Phantom? Thrown out because disfigured, abused, mistreated, used, and people have tried to kill him because he is ugly. Finds a girl who he thinks loves him but doesn’t care a fig about him-you understand why he goes all crazy. Dr. Frankenstein wants to help humanity, believes he knows better than God, but learns his harsh lesson. His monster is just trying t make it but people are afraid and trying to kill him. In Bride of Frankenstein? Frankenstein wants to live his life but blackmailed into creating another monster. Frankenstein’s monster just wants love. The Mummy is crazy and bad, but his main goal is to bring his love back to life. Dracula is an evil monster, but very charming. The Wolf man, poor guy just trying to reconnect with his dad, grieve his brother, and take over family business-wrong place wrong time. The Creature from the Black Lagoon? Just wants love.

Griffin is not charming, he’s not trying to help people, he’s not looking for love. He’s a wackadoo murderer-evil, insane, cold, etc.

Dr. Cranely and Kemp go through Griffin’s stuff to try and find clues to where he is. They do find a list of drugs, one being monocaine, which destroys everything and turns whatever creature that gets into it-insane.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

Griffin goes to Kemp as he needs help. He threatens him and blackmails him into being his errand boy. Griffin and Kemp discuss what happened and Griffin tells him he started working his experiments five years ago. He threatens Kemp to get his notes for him so that he can create the antidote.

The Chief Detective starts investigating and questioning people. Meanwhile, Kemp and Griffin head to the inn to get the notes. Griffin gets his stuff and attacks the Detective, killing him. This causes more panic and hysteria.

The police murder has lit a fire under them and they begin searching for Griffin. They start looking 20 miles in all directions and more and more volunteers join in. At 10:30pm  radio broadcast goes out and warns everyone that it isn’t a hoax. A reward for £1000.00 is offered.

Dr. Kemp is worried and calls Dr. Cranely to tell him about Griffin and warns him that Griffin has gone crazy. Dr. Cranely tells Kemp to take care to keep him there and that he will be there the next day. Kemp calls the police to tell them Griffin is in his house. Griffin becomes enraged at him for telling in him.

Flora goes to see Griffin and here we have a shred of humanity as he softens toward her and we see a sliver of the man he was-the one Flora fell in love with. But then he is gone and only the crazed killer remains.

One who has created this invisibility and wants to auction it off to the highest bidder.

While they are talking the police arrive. Griffin escapes and flees, but not before he tells Kemp he will murder him at 10:00 pm. The police come up with a plan as to how they will catch him. They will use Kemp as bait, but Kemp doesn’t like that idea. He takes off in his car but Griffin is already waiting there. He ties him up and pushes Kemp and the car off the cliff.

Griffin stays in a barn that night and a farmer spots the hay moving and calls the police. They decide to burn down the barn and follow the Invisible Man’s footprints on the snow to take aim. He’s hit and as he does his body is revealed slowly.

I thought it was pretty good, but let’s be honest it wouldn’t be nearly as good if it wasn’t for Claude Rains.

The thing that is mindblowing is the special effects. Really good for 1933. So there we go I have reviewed all of the Universal Classic Monster Films!

There we go. All 31 posts finished! Yay!

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Halloween!

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Mr. Hyde Versus the Werewolf: Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf (1972)

For more Claude Rains, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For more mad scientists, go to Nowhere to Hyde: Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1970)

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You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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“You think you know something, don’t you? You think you’re the clever little girl who knows something. There’s so much you don’t know, so much. What do you know, really? You’re just an ordinary little girl, living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every morning of your life and you know perfectly well that there’s nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day, and at night you sleep your untroubled ordinary little sleep, filled with peaceful stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares.”

So for my first Alfred Hitchcock film, I am going to review Shadow of a Doubt. This really surprised me as I never thought this would have been the first, (I was sure it would be Psycho). But I had such an urge to talk about it, that I had to follow it. Now this has never been considered one of Hitchcock’s greats, in fact it bombed at the office, but it was both Alfred Hitchcock’s and Teresa Wright’s favorite film.

I actually have a personal connection to this film myself. I used to go to college near Santa Rosa and one day for film class we were going to watch a psychological film. The one we chose wouldn’t work and I suggested that we had to watch an Alfred Hitchcock film, specifically Shadow of a Doubt. I had this urge and was pushing the film so hard, even though it is not one of my favorite Hitchcock films. It was only when we watched it, that I remembered that it was set and filmed in Santa Rosa. In fact, I have been to all the areas the film was set in.

So the film is supposed to be about a happy town, full of normal American people, but underneath this lies something horrible. This kind of thing was what David Lynch ended up doing and becoming famous for in his film Blue Velvet and TV series Twin Peaks.

TwinPeaks dark henious evil

So the film starts off with the extremely handsome Joseph Cotten, lying on a bed. His name is Charlie Oakley.

Cotten, Joseph (Shadow of a Doubt)_01 phone call

His landlady knocks on the door and tells him that there are two men looking for him. Charlie quickly packs some things up, gathers his money, and takes off. He makes plans to get out of the East coast, going heading to California to visit his sister Emma in Santa Rosa.

In Santa Rosa, we meet Charlie 2 (Teresa Wright), named after her Uncle Charlie. (From now on I’m going to say Charlie for Teresa Wright and Uncle Charlie for Joseph Cotten as otherwise it will be too confusing.) Anyways, Charlie has been complaining that life is boring. Nothing interesting ever happens in life.

never-say-never-in-front-of-fantasy_1279

She finds out that her Uncle Charlie is coming and is ecstatic. The two of them have always shared a special bond. Out of everyone in their family, she feels that Charlie is the only one who really gets her.

he gets me

Uncle Charlie greets the family and not only bring life into the house but gifts. Charlie gets the most special gift of all, an emerald ring. Charlie notices an engraving of initials on the inside and asks Uncle Charlie what they stand for. He doesn’t know and blames the jeweler for selling him an old ring instead of a new one.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

He keeps trying to push Charlie to let him get it re-engraved, but she refuses. At dinner, Emma is humming this song. It has been stuck in her head all day and she can’t remember what it is called. She asks around to everyone else, and her husband Joseph says that it is The Merry Widow Waltz. When Uncle Charlie hears this, he is startled and spills his wine.

shadowofadoubt unhappy

After dinner, Joseph’s friend comes over. Now this is an interesting subplot. The two of them are huge mystery fans and are constantly trying to create the perfect murder. This subplot always makes me laugh and it reminds me of a friend and I. We are always talking about the best way to kill someone and get away with it. I always go with the Secret Window way.

“Joseph Newton: We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him.”

In fact, they remind me of Randy from Scream except with actual murders, than horror films.

Randy

They determine one of the best ways to kill someone is to disguise the murder as a suicide.

The next day, Uncle Charlie is reading the paper, when he sees a story that upsets him. He rips the page with the story on it, and turns it into a house for the kids, hiding the ripped story in his pocket. Ann and Roger think it’s are cool, but they have to dismantle it as their father hasn’t had a chance to look at the paper.

Charlie saw him hiding the torn pages and starts teasing her Uncle. She grabs them out of his pocket and tries to put them together. But before she can, Uncle Charlie gets angry and pushes her away. She becomes frightened, but Uncle Charlie consoles her,  telling her that it was a bad story about a friend.

tugs arm Shadow-Teresa-Wright-Schock-004-295px

Soon after, two men approach the family and let them know they have been chosen to be the feature family for a census agency on “typical American family-ness”. They will be coming to interview them and photograph their average lives.

BMW Average

Emma is really excited as Uncle Charlie will now be a part of the featured story. She tells Charlie about how she only has one photo of him. It was when he was a little boy, before he got in a horrible accident. After he recovered from the accident he never was the same again. Often getting into trouble.

Uncle Charlie says he will be staying in town for a while, and then begins acting strangely. At the bank he deposits forty thousand dollars in cash and makes all these jokes about the bank and Joseph (Charlie’s dad) embezzling funds. He also extremely avoids the census takers. He thinks they are up to something. Whenever they come to the house, he always leaves and won’t answer any questions.

paranoidAfterYou

When his picture gets taken, he becomes extremely angry and demands for the negative roll.

The younger of the two census workers, (Macdonald Carey), asks Charlie to be his guide of the town, and she agrees only to please her mother. When he gets her alone he tells her that he isn’t a census taker, but that instead he is Detective Jack Graham and that he is with the FBI. They are investigating “The Merry Widow Murderer”, a man who romances widows and murders them taking their money. He tells her that that they have two suspects. One of which is her Uncle Charlie.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

The next day Charlie is still reeling from the news and sleeps all day. She doesn’t want to believe her Uncle Charlie is capable of murder. However, she can’t help thinking about his suspicious behavior.

Sound suspicious

Sound suspicious

Charlie gets even more freaked out when Uncle Charlie gives a rant on widows.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

“Uncle Charlie: The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who’ve spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewelry but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women… Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?”

Charlie suffers a breakdown as she can’t handle the thought that her Uncle is a murderer. That coupled with her father and Herb’s constant murder talk, ugh she just needs to get away. Uncle Charlie follows her and takes her to a bar to talk.

At the bar, he confronts her suspicions and tells her that he is considered for The Merry Widow Murderer”, but it isn’t him. It is just a coincidence.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Charlie listens, but something doesn’t sit right with her. She still feels suspicious. She sneaks into Uncle Charlie’s room to try and figure out what article he had ripped up.

shadow-of-a-doubt-room door break into

She can’t put the pieces back together, and instead heads to the library. She convinces the librarian to let her search the papers and discovers that “The Merry Widow Murderer” killed a famous entertainer. She notices that the initials of the woman match the ring Uncle Charlie gave her.

OMG

She goes to her uncle to confront him, and he asks her not to say anything. She agrees to wait as she knows it will hurt her mother.

Meanwhile, Jack is pushing Charlie to give him info on her Uncle, but she won’t say a thing. They sent the photo of Uncle Charlie back East but haven’t heard whether or not he is the guy the are actually after. The other suspect they were considering was killed fleeing from the police and many believe he is the murderer.

After this news, Jack goes to Charlie and tells her that he likes her. And that he would like to date her, maybe even marry her one day.

Say What

I know. He has been nice, but he never even seemed to show that he was that interested in her. He totally pulls a Mr. Darcy, completely dropping that bomb out of the blue.

mr darcy

Uncle Charlie is all smiles and it seems like everything is fine, but Charlie can’t shake an uneasy feeling.

This doesn't feel right.

This doesn’t feel right.

Soon Charlie suffers from an accident. As she is coming down the stairs one of the steps falls through causing her to fall. She checks later but can’t tell of any tampering.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Oh what a horrible accident.

Now these are some of the best scenes in the film. In the beginning you aren’t sure if Uncle Charlie is doing anything, whether they are accidents or not. I mean could he really be so cold-blooded as to kill his own niece?

Gilmore girls creep

Uncle Charlie is asked to give a public lecture and the whole family is going to go hear him speak. There isn’t enough room for them to go in one car, so they decide to send most in a taxi, with the Charlies going in the car. Charlie gets trapped in her garage with the car going. She calls for help, but the music Uncle Charlie is playing overpowers her screams.

Tuesdaythe17th scream ah

Luckily, Herb is coming by as he does everyday and hears her, freeing her.

The next day, Uncle Charlie decides that he is leaving. Everyone but Charlie is sad to see him go. As he gets on the train we see that he won’t be traveling alone, but a rich widow from the town. Every one comes on board to check out the train, with Uncle Charlie gets Charlie to stay longer to talk. The train starts going while she is on it. She tries to run off, but Uncle Charlie tries to push her off the train onto the track of an oncoming one.

shadow of a doubt attack

The two struggle and Charlie manages to overpower him, knocking him off the train.

There is a funeral for Uncle Charlie and Jack comes back. Charlie tells him the truth and why she kept it hidden from him. Together they resolve to keep Uncle Charlie’s crimes a secret.

You have to see this film. The story is great, the acting amazing, and the cinematography is just beautiful.

1943_Shadowofadoubt

 

 

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to It’s Happening Again, Isn’t It?

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For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to Horrorfest III: The Revenge

For more classic cinema, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more serial killers, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more psychological thrillers, go to A Deliciously Creepy Tale

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Happily Ever Aftermath

For more on Twin Peaks, go to Food, Food, Food!