31 Weeks to Halloween: The Invisible Woman (1940)
Get rid of your inhibitions and let yourself go with a visible lovely - an invisible tease!
The year 1940 was a big one for fans of the original The Invisible Man film from 1933, one of the more fun Universal Monsters movies of the 1930s. But 1940 was big because not one but two Invisible films were added to the franchise: The Invisible Man Returns was released in January and in December, The Invisible Woman debuted in theaters. Although The Invisible Woman is the third film in the series, it is essentially completely unrelated to the previous two movies and tells its own funny, yet great little story. The film was directed by A. Edward Sutherland and stars the beautiful Virginia Bruce as Kitty Carroll (what a great name) - who ends up becoming an invisible woman! One of the main differences you'll find between the other Invisible films and this one is the method of becoming invisible has changed from a potion to the use of a machine, and the invisibility process is pretty fun to watch on screen. It's an extra little fun when you see Kitty's silhouette between the curtain as she gets naked for the process to work. Then, as you realize she's walking around town naked - even though she can't be seen - it's just an entertaining concept that adds a little extra smile to the film. Regardless, the film doesn't take itself too seriously and it doesn't seem like the crew behind the movie was too worried about the film being super serious - which is part of the reason The Invisible Woman is such a fun watch.
Even the plot to the film is pretty silly: Professor Gibbs (John Barrymore) has created an invisibility device with funding from the wealthy Dick Russell (John Howard), and he puts out an ad in the paper for people to mail in if they were interested in becoming invisible! Many people reply - but all wanting cash in return or sending joke responses. Kitty replies to the ad, and ends up becoming the test subject for the project. She undresses, gets into position and poof, you watch as her silhouette fades into nothingness (and it is only after all of this that Gibbs gets her name, which I thought was funny. Make her invisible first, ask questions later!). With her newly acquired trait, she pays her ex-boss a visit at her modeling job where he's been harassing the woman who work there over petty things. She haunts him into changing his ways, and when she returns back to Gibbs, they head off to visit Russell to show the device really did work! What follows is a fun turn of events as some pretty entertaining gangsters steal the device but can't get it to work. The gangsters are sent to kidnap the two, but Kitty's invisibility has worn off! Will Gibbs and Kitty manage to fend off the gangsters, or will they be forced to hand over the secrets of the invisibility device to the thugs?!
What I've grown to love about the Invisible series (especially the first one) is all of the clever invisible scenes, where you see various items floating around or clothes walking around the room, but no skin or head is shown! This amazing concept and creativity is further delivered in The Invisible Woman as Kitty walks around in a dress, headless - or when she is totally naked (invisible) and wearing only her gloves. So all you see this these long white gloves floating around the scene, and you can hear her, but can't see anything! If that alone isn't worth watching the movie, I don't know what is! Joking aside, the light hearted plot alongside the comedic delivery of most of the dialogue makes this film one of the less serious films in the Universal Monsters lineup up until this point, and it's a very welcomed addition to the series! Kitty's DGAF attitude adds an extra level of awesome to the film, especially as she goes back to her old boss to wreck some havoc on the guy, destroying much of his office and even better, getting into his head. The unexpected introduction of thugs trying to steal the machine also adds some extra silliness to the film, and honestly - it all works so damn well. And just wait to see what's in store when Kitty takes on the gangsters... you'll love it. This film certainly won't bore you - it's a fun twist on the original Invisible Man film and even though it didn't take off as well as the original, it's definitely one of the muse-see films in the Universal lineup up until this point, closing out 1940! Check it out!!!