By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
H.G. Wells remains one of the greatest writers from the science-fiction/horror genre. His literary contributions include The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, and The Invisible Man. Cinema was still in its infancy during the 1930s, but some of the greatest horror movies ever produced were made during that decade. James Whale directed some of the most thrilling films shot in black-and-white, and The Invisible Man (1933) is still one of the greatest horror/sci-fi thrillers ever made.
Even though this film is loosely adapted from the original novel, it can still provide thrills and chills that can both scare and entertain audiences simultaneously. Claude Rains excels in the title role even though his character is invisible. The special effects on this film were absolutely groundbreaking given the time period in which this film was made. Gloria Stuart also does well as “Flora” even though modern audiences probably know her best for her Oscar-nominated supporting role as “Old Rose” in Titanic (1997). The acting in the film is phenomenal overall, especially since the premise of this film required a lot of “movie magic” in order to bring such an original story to the silver screen.
Even with all of the technical wizardry employed to make the star of this film invisible, there filmmakers actually made a huge error that creates a giant plot hole in the film. There is a very famous scene in which the Invisible Man is walking in the snow, and he leaves shoe prints even though he should have actually been leaving footprints. That is because the Invisible Man was not wearing anything during that part of the film. The character even mentions at one point about being nude so that no one would see him, which means that the filmmakers made a slightly embarrassing error in such an iconic motion picture. Then again, film-making was a relatively new art form in the 1930s, which makes such a mistake somewhat understandable.
The Invisible Man will always remain one of the greatest films in cinematic history. It is worth noting that film adaptations of famous novels are oftentimes different from the original literary texts simply because that is the nature of the entertainment business. For example, the 1931 version of Frankenstein is almost nothing like Mary Shelley’s classic novel. In spite of that infamous fact about Hollywood, beloved screen gems continue to entertain audiences decades after their original releases, and The Invisible Man will never lose its luster (even though he is hardly even there visually).
The Invisible Man (1933) Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time objects and clothes float in midair as the Invisible Man uses them
Do a Shot: every time the Invisible Man cackles maniacally
And Do Not Be Sober: every time anyone screams as the Invisible Man terrorizes them