The Invisible Man Returns (1940, Joe May)

I thought I’d be a clever boy and watch the 2020 remake followed by the 1940 sequel and see which is better. Neither really holds a candle to the James Whale movie, but remake definitely has the edge over this clunky, cheapie sequel. As far as German directors who worked with their wives, directed versions of The Indian Tomb, and emigrated to the USA in 1933 go, I prefer Lang – who made his own sequel with the word “Return” in the title this same year. Fellow German Curt Siodmak (Robert’s idiot brother) was beginning his Hollywood writing career, having wowed his home country with classics like F.P. 1 Doesn’t Answer.

Nan Grey (a soft-voiced automaton) was supposed to marry a very young Vincent Price (a full decade before The Baron of Arizona), but he’s inconveniently on death row because he killed his brother… or DID he?? (he did not). Fortunately, Price is friends with another man with a dead brother – O.G. I.M.’s bro Frank (John Sutton would also appear in Return of The Fly). Frank, not a great scientist (he lets cigar-smoking cops into his chemical lab), turns Price invisible to spring him from prison, then hopes he’ll find a cure before Vince goes mad (the movie lets this drop, Vince never starts slipping). So this time the girl’s in on the plan and the invisible man’s a good guy – kinda anticlimactic as far as horror sequels go.

I.M. sits down for a nice meal with his girl and his brother’s killer:

Cedric Hardwicke (Hitchcock’s Suspicion) likes Nan and is sadly obvious about it, seems so glad to have Vince out of the way that you almost suspect him of having murdered the brother, ah, of course he did, as Vince learns after playfully tormenting a drunk whom Cedric confided in. Movie is extremely British, and plods along… the dialogue obvious, the invisibility effects good but some other filmmaking techniques lacking (they have animals “die” by freezing the picture, a non-barking dog is overdubbed by a very-barking dog). Vince kills the killer and I suppose nobody can prove it was him, then gets his body back.

Mouseover to watch a guinea pig get visible:
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