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The Invisible Man(1933)
A scientist's experiments with invisibility turn him into a madman.
For more about The Invisible Man and the The Invisible Man Blu-ray release, see the The Invisible Man Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on September 28, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Henry Travers, Una O'Connor, William Harrigan, Forrester Harvey
Director: James Whale
» See full cast & crew
The Invisible Man Blu-ray Review
"I realized the power I held, the power to rule, to make the world grovel at my feet!"
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, September 28, 2012
Take a moment and imagine what modern horror would be without Universal Pictures. Without founder Carl Laemmle and his vision for the future of cinema, or his son Carl Laemmle Jr., who inherited the keys to the studio kingdom in 1928, when talkies were rapidly displacing silent films and promising groundbreaking new strides in moviemaking and the movie-going experience. Without early horror pioneers like Tod Browning, James Whale, Karl Freund, George Waggner or Jack Arnold. Without iconic creature actors Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Claude Rains, Lon Chaney, Jr., Elsa Lanchester or Ben Chapman. Without Dracula, the indispensable 1931 classic that left a more lasting mark on vampire movies and lore than any other vampire film before or after (save Nosferatu). Or Frankenstein, which pushed boundaries, shocked audiences and has been received with overwhelming enthusiasm ever since. The Mummy, bold in its atmosphere and unforgettable in its tragic romance. The Invisible Man, which features some of the most astonishing special effects and perhaps one of the most unnerving depictions of mounting madness of the era. The Bride of Frankenstein, a complex, wickedly funny, altogether unpredictable sequel that in many regards surpasses its predecessor. The Wolf Man, a once-chilling character drama that examines the frailty of man and the beast within. Phantom of the Opera, though more a twisted love story than a traditional horror picture, a film that nevertheless caused some theaters to stock smelling salts in in the event that a moviegoer fainted upon the removal of the Phantom's mask. Or Creature from the Black Lagoon, which frightened audiences above the water and below with a scaly monster unlike any they had seen before. Needless to say, modern horror, and really the genre in whole, would be completely different than what we know.
Of all the classics featured in The Essentials Collection, director James Whale's The Invisible Man is the one I've returned to more than any other. Between its innovative, cutting-edge special effects (most of which continue to impress, even some eighty-years after their inception and ambitious execution), Claude Rains' frenetic performance as the oft-unseen, oft-unhinged Dr. Jack Griffin, and Whale's grasp on Griffin's descent into self-destruction and utter insanity, it's the one I can't resist whenever the classic movie monster urge hits. Griffin is a creature's creature; a volatile hybrid of deranged man, scientific monstrosity, otherworldly beast and seemingly unstoppable force. He not only believes everything he says, he's willing to do it, and he'll cackle, shift violently, kill and maim as he sees fit. The mere fact that the good doctor is so unstable makes everyone in his vicinity a potential victim, and with so many would-be corpses in view, tension mounts almost from the start. Whale and screenwriter R.C. Sherriff don't feel the need to open with Griffin's experiment-gone-awry, beginning where other filmmakers of the day would reach by the end of their second act. The film, it turns out, is as unpredictable as its mad monster of a man, and Whale is more than willing to do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Cackle, shift violently, kill, maim. The allure of The Invisible Man is it operates on its monster's rules, not its own. The story serves the beast, and the beast does what it pleases.
The Invisible Man Blu-ray, Video Quality
In many ways, The Invisible Man looks every bit as good as some of the other films included in the Classic Monsters collection. But look a bit closer and you'll begin to see all is not well with its 1080p/AVC-encoded video transfer. Grain is present but sometimes ungainly, giving way to faint artifacting (watch the backgrounds for the most obvious examples, watch cheeks, brows and suit coats for more subtle instances). Gray tones play host to numerous anomalies, each one fairly negligible on its own, but piling atop one another to create a minor but mounting distraction. And print blemishes, though kept to a notable minimum, creep into the image; lines, specks, fluctuations and other inconsistencies. Fortunately, the rest of the presentation impresses. Soft shots are just that: soft. Nothing more sinister. Noise management software and other cleanup techniques have been utilized, but responsibly and judiciously, with the integrity of the film ever at the forefront. Black levels are deep, fine detail is terrific in many a scene, edges are neatly defined, contrast is on point and... well, let's just say The Invisible Man constantly defies its age. Truth be told, there are plenty of shots and sequences that beg for a higher score. Some will disagree with my assessment outright. Keep your eyes peeled, though, and you'll start spotting the initially invisible beasties that knock the presentation down a notch.
The Invisible Man Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Invisible Man's two-channel DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix isn't prone to as many problems as its video presentation. Dialogue is reasonably clean and clear for a film rapidly approaching its 80th anniversary, muffled voices are a factor every now and then but are generally handled as well as can be expected, and sound effects are rarely misprioritized or distorted. Substantial hiss isn't an issue either, and the noise floor that rests beneath the soundscape isn't nearly as intrusive or off-putting as it could be. Of course, LFE output and rear speaker activity don't enter into the equation, even though two options -- a Master Audio Mono track and a lossless 5.1 remix -- would have provided horror fans, new and old, with the best of both worlds. All in all, Universal's restoration of the original audio elements doesn't result in the creation of a unbridled lossless monster, but it's effective enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck. I, for one, was pleased.
The Invisible Man Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Invisible Man Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Invisible Man may get overlooked by some, its creature may be more twisted man than classic monster, but that doesn't mean it belongs elsewhere. As essential and influential to the Universal horror canon as any other, it just might sneak up and surprise you. Alas, it's a bit too easy to spot the problems with its Blu-ray debut. While its DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track satisfies, its video transfer has a few too many flaws and its supplemental package is on the anemic side of the Universal Classic Monsters Collection.
Blu-ray bundles with The Invisible Man (2 bundles)
The Invisible Man Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Classic Monsters Wave 1 Blu-rays - March 26, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the individual Blu-ray releases of four classic horror movies originally available as part of the Universal Classic Monsters Essentials Collection box set: The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Phantom of the Opera and ...
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