The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

The Invisible Man Returns: This claims to be a sequel to the novel, but it’s more like a sequel to the movie. Vincent Price plays Geoffrey Radcliffe, a man wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his brother. Through the help of his friend, Dr. Frank Griffin (brother of the original Invisible Man, whose tragic tale unfolded nine years before), he escapes and begins his search for the men who framed him.

Radcliffe takes the invisibility drug with the full knowledge that one of the side effects is madness. He worries that he’ll hurt those he loves, and of course once it he does start going mad, he doesn’t recognize it. His need for revenge upon the real killers gets the best of him.

Man, I love Vincent Price so much. And wow is he ever young – not yet 30! You don’t see his face until the final scene, as in the book, so this whole time I’d had middle-aged Vincent pictured in my mind, since that’s the era of his life I’m far more familiar with.

The re-visibility effect is an interesting mix of live action and what looks like an illustration from an anatomy text book. The other special effects are the same sort as we’ve seen before: the clothes superimposed upon the scene, with occasional glimpses of the actor shining through dimly. The wire work is much less obvious, though, which is nice.

I actually really enjoyed this one, but I think Price had a lot to do with that. He managed to play his madness convincingly, alternating between humorous and menacing, all while remaining quite sympathetic. The ending was honestly good, far less cheesy than it could have been, and didn’t drag out. This is one movie I’d watch again.

  1. Wow, I just googled “young vincent price” and was amazed to learn he wasn’t born with a mustache. We’ve seen several of his films at movie night.

  2. Oh I love Vincent Price! I think he was quite handsome when he was young, and even when he was a little older. :) I have to check out this film though it’s a pity you don’t see his face til the end!

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