While the simple and blunt plot is meant to entertain, James Whale has something else up his sleeve: a gleefully macabre study of what Nietzsche called "superman"; someone society fears and destroys. Claude Rains is superb, intoning a performance based purely on voice inflection. And I can only imagine the sheer wonder 1933 audiences felt watching a man disappear in front of their very eyes. The power of cinema!
The "Hey, we can't see him!" gimmick starts to wear a bit thin, but this movie's still pretty iconic. I love Whale's stock-company of off-the-wall eccentrics he keeps gainfully employed in all of his Imagi-Opuses of the '30's! Claude Rains is awesome! He has sort of a Colin Clive-voice ... but kicked up a few notches! I wish Universal used him better in their monster-pantheon in the later years!
The style of acting in films is what really decides whether they date well or not, and "The Invisible Man" is creaky in places because of that; but the film remains hugely alluring because of Reins' gleeful rebellion against authority. Perhaps we love movies about (megalo)maniacs because deep down we believe their victims are getting what they deserve.
after rating the second part of the franchise, i wanted to say something about the first part as well. what i find interesting about this movie is not the invisibility theme (that alone i would openly dislike), but the portrayal of insanity into which invisibility drives an individual. this is an sf movie, but the invisibility issue might as well be the everyday side effect of blending into today's oblivious society.
Arguably better than Dracula or Frankenstein, Invisible Man just sparkles as brightly as it did upon release. The effects still stand up today and easily remains one of the greatest horror films. The real magic lies in the whimsical nature that Whale provided-that was sorely lacking in Frankenstein, and came to full fruition with Bride of Frankenstein. And Claude Rains is genius as always.
Fantastic narration by James Whale from the equally great story by visionary writer H.G Wells. Veteran universal pictures craftsman John P. Fulton's visual effects are amazing, even for today's standards. Delightful parable about the corruption of power. The always outstanding Claude Rains incarnates (well, almost entirely with his voice) the scientist who uses his remarkable power to damage society.