The fifth and final film in the Universal’s Invisible Man series, The Invisible Man’s Revenge released in 1944 was selected over the rest in the series for but one reason, Evelyn Ankers. I have a proud history of watching a movie for the sole reason that it features an actor/actress that I happen to adore. But of all those film’s, which there are many I had yet to be this let down by one.
Robert Griffin (Jon Hall) recently escaped from a sanitarium. During said escape, he murdered three people has made his way to London. He goes to a pair of old friends Sir Jasper Herrick (Lester Mathews) and Lady Irene Herrick (Gale Sondergaard) ask for his share of a very profitable venture a number of years prior. Jasper informs him that most of the money has long since lost on bad ventures and very little remains. Griffin upset demands his share or at least everything that’s left, which would account for all the Herricks wealth. As it turns the couple left him for dead in the jungle after he sustained a head injury. Afterward Griffin has no memory of the time past until a few months prior after he got hit on the head while working as a dock worker. Irene drugs Griffins drink, steals the written agreement sign by all parties and Jasper has him thrown out. Griffin stumbles around having been drugged and falls into the lake where he saved by Herbert Higgins (Leon Errol), who then takes him in. Griffin recounts his story to Higgins. This prompts Higgins to get a lawyer and visit the Herrick’s. The Herrick’s with their own lawyer turn tables on him, he leaves bearing the news that Griffin must now leave town by order of the local Constable, friend to the Herrick’s. Caught in a storm as he leaves town Griffin meets Dr. Peter Drury (John Carradine) seeing that Griffin is a man without a friend takes him in. After showing Griffin his experiments with invisibility, Dr. Drury suggest he turn Griffin invisible. After being warned of the dangers Griffin quickly agrees. Now invisible Griffin leaves Dr. Drury and sets about terrorizing the Herrick’s forcing sign over everything they own, Griffin sets his eyes on their daughter Julie (Evelyn Ankers). Julie is dating newspaper reporter Mark Foster (Alan Curtis). Foster catches wind of the Invisible Man story, as Griffin has been very nonchalant with his new-found invisibility. In desire for Julies hand, Griffin returns to Dr. Drury and witness him return his invisible do Brutus (Grey Shadow) visible again via a blood transfusion. Dr. Drury refuses to give Griffin the transfusion, as it would kill whoever was the donor taking all their blood. Griffin knocks out the Dr., using his blood to regain visibility and torches the Dr.’s home. Griffin returns to the Herrick’s under the name of Martin Feild and the need for more transfusions to stay visible.
First off I am not a fan of the Invisible Man. I’m not. Can’t help it. That said I might have to say I like this film even less than I do the first one. The whole film felt cheap for some reason I can’t put my finger on. It’s well acted, the sets are nice, and Evelyn Ankers. But all the characters save for Julie and Mark are rather unlikable. The parents are double-dealing, Herbert is sketchy to the say the least, the Dr. is inconstant with his morals and Griffin while he could play as a great character. We know early on is crazy, so all of his actions come off as that. Not a man with a genuine reason, which he has plenty.
I need to talk about Dr. McNoMorals real quick. He refuses to give Griffin a transfusion right? Because he’s against the idea of murder. But on the other hand, he’s totally cool doing dangerous scientific strangers as long as they meet the criteria no one will miss them. That sounds more than a little serial killer to me. Also why not give Griffin transfusions from a number of people? Instead of taking it all from one person why not split up over a few? Also Griffin never worries about Blood types, doesn’t know about transfusion reactions?
Final thoughts, it sucks, I hate it. Ok, so that might be a bit harsh, but at the very least I rue having spent the time it took to watch it. It all felt tacked on, the epitome of a movie that didn’t need to be made. The actors are all great bear in mind, most do a very good job and come very close to salvaging it. But Griffin, who by the way is no way related to Jack or Frank Griffin from the first two films, is stated very early to be crazy. So when he acts crazy, he just that, crazy. It diminishes his actual grievances, weakening his character and robbing the film of any moral lesson. So The Invisible Man Returns gets this months lowest rating at 3/10.