- According to UNIVERSAL MONSTERS by Weaver, Brunas and Brunas, Margaret Sullivan was originally cast in the title role, but she didn’t show up for work, preferring to do a John Cromwell moving instead. It’s another example of just how many forgettable movies were cranked out by the studios in a period some like to think was a glorious era for cinema. Few remember The Invisible Woman today, but I’d bet it’s more than remember the movie she made instead.
- Humor and horror don’t age well. The Invisible Woman concerns a happy fool of a scientist, played by John Barrymore, who puts an ad in a paper for a subject for his experimental invisibility process. Virginia Bruce shows up, and is invisible in a matter of minutes. Sneaking out, she causes mayhem with her boss, who she’s mad at, smashing windows and telling him what an a-hole is. He then forgets his sexist pig ways and is a model boss. There isn’t a laugh in any of this. A local mobster gets wind of the inviso-ray and wants to use it for ripping off pawn shops or dealing coke or something. Suicidal thoughts follow on the part of the audience.
- John Barrymore was such an entertaining actor, but this is more proof that a movie is only as good as the script. There’s just little here for him to work with, and actors are hostages to writers, especially in comedy.
- If you’re thinking I’m having a hard time coming up with something to say about this bit of nothing, you’re right.
- Margaret Hamilton as Barrymore’s maid is good. This must have been made a year or so after she did THE WIZARD OF OZ, and it’s clear she was back doing secondary parts after doing the role for which she’d be remembered forever. Later she became the patron saint of coffee baristas, or however you spell it.
- John Fulton’s special effects are good, and I suspect they’re the only reason this is remembered at all.
- This was hard to watch. The wacky music accompanying the ‘hilarity’ of comic thugs throwing themselves around by an ‘invisible’ attacker are embarassing, and the coy lines are treated as hilarity. The hero’s butler makes a crack about every situation, and misses the target every single time–it’s something of a triumph of badness.
- On to watch something good.