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The Invisible Woman (1940)


SansFin
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This comedy has as much action as *The Invisible Man* (1933) albeit with a saucy twist and Kurt Siodmak's story was given the best cast of any comedy that year.

 

John Barrymore is a scientist not so much mad as madcap. Virginia Bruce's voice carries her curvatiousness even when we can not see her. John Howard is his usual charming self and Charles Lane is at his curmudgeonly best.

 

Oskar Homolka seems a natural choice for a gangster. Shemp Howard is a less obvious choice as one of the thugs and he brings a hilarious nincompoopery to the role. Maria Montez puts in an appearance as a model, Margaret Hamilton is a maid and Donald MacBride and Edward Brophy share thug duties with Shemp Howard.

 

The real star of the movie is Charlie Ruggles as a cowardly and much put-upon butler.

 

There is no shortage of talent in the also-appearing roles: Anne Nagel, Frank McClure, Kathryn Adams, Mary Gordon, Thurston Hall and Kernan Cripps all bring their special characterizations to make this movie work on many different levels.

 

It was nominated for an Oscar for its special effects. They may seem ill-done in this age of CGI but they are charming in their own right.

 

I hope all will watch this delightfully silly entry in Universal's Invisible Man series and I thank TCM for bringing us this special treat!.

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> {quote:title=SansFin wrote:}{quote}

>

> It was nominated for an Oscar for its special effects. They may seem ill-done in this age of CGI but they are charming in their own right.

>

> I hope all will watch this delightfully silly entry in Universal's Invisible Man series and I thank TCM for bringing us this special treat!.

Fun film...and effects master John Fulton was nominated for Special Effects for all of the Invisible follow-ups except Invisible Man's Revenge (he won twice, for Wonder Man and his greatest effects, The Ten Commandments).

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> {quote:title=musicalnovelty wrote:}{quote}

> I noticed that none of the music used for the trailer is from the movie.

 

 

Mainly because it had a pretty much original score, which probably hadn't been recorded yet when the trailer was put together. If you watch the SON OF FRANKENSTEIN trailer, you'll see it is scored with music from BRIDE.

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I thought that at times he was doing brother Lionel, but yes, there is a bit of Frank Morgan in there also.

 

There was one scene that had him drinking some concoction in his lab and it had me thinking of how little he resembled the man who was Dr. Jekyll twenty years earlier.

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> {quote:title=RayFaiola wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=musicalnovelty wrote:}{quote}

> > I noticed that none of the music used for the trailer is from the movie.

> Mainly because it had a pretty much original score, which probably hadn't been recorded yet when the trailer was put together.

>

Yes, I understand that's usually the reason for music in trailers being different from what's heard in the completed movie.

 

I agree that the music score for THE INVISIBLE WOMAN sounds all new and original, but there actually is one selection in its score that I recognize from an earlier Universal movie, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE (produced a few months before THE INVISIBLE WOMAN). Composer Frank Skinner must have given the tune a new title for its use in THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, as comparison of the music cue sheets for both movies show no common titles.

 

For those who would like to follow along while watching THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, here is a listing of all the musical selections in the score for the movie:

(All compositions by Frank Skinner except the opening Universal Globe logo music).

 

1. New Universal Signature. (by Jimmy McHugh) - Entire.

2. Main Title (1) - Partial.

3. Main Title (2) - Partial.

4. Main Title (3) - Partial.

5. Virginia Receives a Letter. - Entire.

6. Into Space. - Partial.

7. The Mirror. - Entire.

8. Revenge. - Entire.

9. Virginia Returns. - Entire.

10. Fishy. - Entire.

11. Unseen Visitor. - Entire.

12. The Meeting. - Entire.

13. Alone At Last. - Entire.

14. Into Space. - Partial.

15. Main Title. - Partial.

16. Here We Go Again. - Entire.

17. Main Title. - Partial.

18. Beauty Arrives. - Entire. (Humming).

19. Glamour. - Entire.

20. The Finishing Touch. - Entire.

21. End Title. - Entire.

22. Strange Faces. - Partial. (End cast music, from 1938 Universal Picture STRANGE FACES).

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> {quote:title=mr6666 wrote:

> }{quote}trailer: http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/471105/Invisible-Woman-The-Original-Trailer-.html

I see that the trailer is a Realart reissue trailer. I'm surprised they didn't shuffle the cast list to play up Maria Montez's small role and try to cash in on her later fame after appearing in this movie. This was often done....like the reissue of THE BLACK CAT (1941) in which Alan Ladd who had a minor role was listed as one of the stars in the reissue.

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> {quote:title=musicalnovelty wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=mr6666 wrote:

> > }{quote}trailer: http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/471105/Invisible-Woman-The-Original-Trailer-.html

> I see that the trailer is a Realart reissue trailer. I'm surprised they didn't shuffle the cast list to play up Maria Montez's small role and try to cash in on her later fame after appearing in this movie. This was often done....like the reissue of THE BLACK CAT (1941) in which Alan Ladd who had a minor role was listed as one of the stars in the reissue.

 

 

 

I just checked out the poster for this movie posted here (Feb. 3 post):

 

 

http://forums.tcm.com/thread.jspa?threadID=153194&tstart=0

 

It's a Realart reissue and sure enough they actually changed the cast list to place Maria Montez third!

All the Montez fans who'd have gone to see this during this reissue expecting to see a lot of Maria would have been very disappointed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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> {quote:title=TikiSoo wrote:}{quote}

> > I just checked out the poster for this movie posted here (Feb. 3 post):

> Ugh many of those links do not load, it's an old posting. I would LOVE to see vintage posters for it.

>

That link didn't work? It works fine for me...

You can find the poster by going to the thread: it's in the "Favorite Posters of the Day" thread in the "Your Favorites" forum.

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I didn't particularly care for this film. I thought it squandered Barrymore's talents and showed how badly his career was sliding at the end. Also, what a thankless role for Virginia Bruce. After the first fifteen minutes, she is not seen again until the very end. The majority of her performance is a voice-over.

 

John Howard was very wooden, especially in scenes where he was supposed to be animated with her invisible figure. At least Barrymore pantomimed those moments better. The only one I liked in this film was Margaret Hamilton who always gives 100%.

 

As for the production values, the special effects were like a rotten slice of cheese, and much of the film's tone and manner seemed like a ripoff of TOPPER.

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It's too bad this movie was not made during the Pre-code era as there was so much more than could have been done. And as a comedy I think I laughed only once watching this.

 

When the invisible woman had her boss bending outside the window was anyone else hoping she tossed him out? Instead she kicked him twice and left, at least pull the guys pants down and spank him with a board, lol.

 

If i could only be invisible for a day, oh the things I might do, haha.

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I really enjoyed this film. Not a major movie, but fun in its own right. I really like Virginia Bruce and didn't mind her VO during most of it as someone else mentioned. I mean, that's kinda what happens in an "invisible" movie. Her VO showed what good comic timing she had and also a nice throaty voice.

 

Barrymore was having fun, and that was nice to see, but I agree that he was doing a great Frank Morgan!

 

And John Howard as wooden? Yep, that's pretty much what he did! Loved him in all the Bulldog Drummonds, but he never had much range. That's why he works so well as the stolid "George" in

"The Philadelphia Story."

 

Cheers!

 

Ron

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> {quote:title=MovieMadness wrote:}{quote}

> If i could only be invisible for a day, oh the things I might do, haha.

 

It has been said that when a woman thinks of being invisible she thinks of using it to be a superhero righting wrongs and when a man thinks of being invisible he thinks of sneaking into women's locker rooms.

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> {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote}

> what a thankless role for Virginia Bruce. After the first fifteen minutes, she is not seen again until the very end. The majority of her performance is a voice-over.

 

I felt her presence in the entire movie. The body language in her invisible scenes is obviously hers.

 

I am sorry you did not like it. I feel as if you have missed a very fun movie.

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Certainly a minor film, but I enjoyed it well enough. Charlie Ruggles did steal the show. My major problem was with a couple of plot devices.

 

We have a professor who won't listen to anyone, when they are trying to tell him something important, repeatedly.

 

And, because he doesn't want anyone but John Howard to see her, he has Virginia strip outside, in the rain. The only other person who would have seen her was the butler. What would that matter? Any fool, even a professor, would realize that the most convincing demonstration of her invisibility would be to have the fully dressed and veiled Virginia present herself to Howard, then strip in front of him.

 

Both of those plot devices seemed really stupid to me. But, it's just a light comedy, so I still enjoyed it.

 

Edited by: ValentineXavier on Feb 5, 2012 9:54 PM

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