The Invisible Woman
directed by A. Edward Sutherland
starring Virginia Bruce, John Barrymore, John Howard, Charles Ruggles, Oskar Homolka, Edward Brophy, Donald MacBride, Margaret Hamilton, Shemp Howard, Anne Nagel, Kathryn Adams, Maria Montez, Charles Lande, Mary Gordon, Thurston Hall, Eddie Conrad, Harry C.Bradley, Kitty O'Neil, Sarah Edwards, Kay Linaker
story by Curt Siodmak, Joe May, screenplay by Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo, Gertrude Purcell, music by Frank Skinner, musical director: Charles Previn, special effects by John P.Fulton
The Invisible Man, Universal's Invisible Man, Universal horror cycle
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Dick Russell (John Howard) was once a rich man, but now all his wealth
is gone and his last hope is Professor Gibbs (John Barrymore), a scientist
who has just invented a machine to make people invisible - but when he
tests his machine on a human, Kitty (Virginia Bruce) for the first time,
Miss Kittyn uses her (temporary) invisibility for her own ends and gets
back at a tyrannical employer (Charles Lane) rather than stick around and
wait for Dick for a demonstration.
Eventually though Professor Gibbs and Kitty do give Dick a
demonstration - when they find out that alcohol prolongs the effect of the
invisibility machine - but by that time, a gang of gangsters have grown
wise to the Professor's machine and steal it, mainly to bring their boss
(Oskar Homolka) safely back from Mexico. And when they find one component
of the machine is missing, they take the Professor and Kitty (who now is
visible again) hostage. But at the gangsters' place, Kitty drinks some
alcohol just to become invisible again, and then takes out the baddies one
by one before Dick can even arrive to rescue her.
Months later: Dick and Kitty - who have of course over the course of
the proceedings fallen in love - have their first baby ... that turns
invisible once it's treated with rubbing alcohol ...
Charles Ruggles plays Dick Russell's servant, Shemp Howard one of the
(rather incompetent) gangsters.
Of course, the concept of invisibility seems to be made for comedy, so
it was only a matter of time before Universal threw all the sci-fi
and horror stuff out of the Invisible Man series to instead
go for straight comedy ... et voilà, here you have The Invisible Woman.
Problem is, The Invisible Woman is rather childish and not all that
funny, by and large because it seems to invariably go for the cheap joke
and seriously lacks original ideas or even good gags. That said, at least
the film is well-acted, the actors don't take themselves too seriously,
and it's far from being the worst film of the Invisible Man