ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – I – The Invisible Man Returns (1940) Movie Review


Director: Joe May

Writer: Lester Cole, Curt Siodmak (Screenplay) Joe May, Curt Siodmak, H.G. Wells (Story/Characters)

Starring: Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price, Nan Grey, John Sutton, Cecil Kellaway, Alan Napier, Forrester Harvey

Plot: The owner of a coal mining operation, falsely imprisoned for fratricide, takes a drug to make him invisible, despite its side effect: gradual madness.

Tagline – You Can Feel Your Skin Creep! 

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderful Sequel

Story: The Invisible Man Returns starts on the eve of Geoffrey Radcliffe’s (Price) execution, where his doctor Frank Griffin (Sutton) injects him with a formula that will make him invisible, leading to his escape from prison and going into hiding with his fiancée Helen (Grey).

With police inspector Sampson (Kellaway) hot on his tracks, Geoffrey looks to find the real person behind the murder, which sees him looking into his partner Richard Cobb (Hardwicke) who has bought into place weaker rules in their company, only the formula continues to show the madness it will make the invisible man go through.

Thoughts on The Invisible Man Returns

Characters – Geoffrey Radcliffe is on death row after being found guilty of murdering his brother, he has always maintained his innocence and is freed by being turned invisible and getting to run away with his fiancée. He is looking for the truth, which will see him turning to his former partner, only for the madness within to start coming out. Richard Cobb is the partner of Geoffrey that has made his own changes to the company without him around, while looking to make his own move on Geoffrey’s fiancée. Helen is the fiancée that has been waiting for Geoffrey, she has always stood by him through the difficult time. Doctor Frank Griffin has used the formula to turn Geoffrey invisible as a last attempt to get him out of prison, only he hasn’t found the formula to return him yet, which is what he is racing to discover.

PerformancesVincent Price as the invisible man is brilliant because it is his voice that must do most of the work, with his voice being one of the most iconic to the world in horror now. Cedric Hardwicke and the sniffling businessman is great too, with John Sutton making for a great scientist in waiting. Nan Grey as the fiancée shows the loyal fiancée who has always been waiting for a loved one.

StoryThe story here follows an innocent man about to be executed that gets a reprieve, when he gets to turn invisible and search for the answers to the crime he was accused off. This is a nice spin on the idea from the first film, we do see how the longer one is invisible the deeper into madness they might go, but adding in a crime mystery about why he was forced into this, adds a new dimension to the story. We get plenty to work with here, plenty to enjoy in the story and a story that shows loyalty to the people who are closest to you.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror comes from how Geoffrey haunts people, he uses the invisible to gain the advantage in how he gets answers, without it being a scary a minute type of horror, with the sci-fi idea of an invisible man helping show what could be achieved in cinema in the 1940s.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the business area of the coal mine, the hiding locations and the luxury looking houses that the people would be living in for the time in question.

Special EffectsThe effects are amazing to maintain the invisible look through the film, to show us how Geoffrey could be half dressed and nothing on the screen is a joy to watch.

Scene of the Movie – Blood transfusion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The getaway police reactions.

Final Thoughts This is a great sequel to a great horror, showing effects for the time are ahead of its time, ready to start making a difference in the world of cinema.

Overall: Excellent Sequel.

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