Tag Archives: invisible man

Classics Retold Wrap-up

This has been fun. I haven’t been able to watch quite as much as I’d hoped, largely due to some unforeseen situations in the months leading up to September, but I made a decent go of it. Here are the posts:

If I were to do it again, I’d also include these:

That last one would have been especially nice to get my hands on, since it’s an actual adaptation of the book. That was the main problem I ran into: most of the retellings I could find were not the original story, but only the character of an invisible man placed in various scenarios. It’s a shame, because there’s so much that could be done with the original tale of Dr. Griffin.

One last homage to my subject, The Invisible Man: a monument in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia. The inscription reads: “The first monument to the Invisible man, the hero of Herbert Wells’ novel.” Hero? I’m not so sure that’s quite the word you’re looking for, but it might be a mistranslation. He’s certainly the central figure, but very definitely not a hero.

The Invisible Woman (1940)

The Invisible Woman: The eccentric scientist this time around is Dr. Gibbs. (Amazingly, no one in the entire cast is named Griffin.) Broke playboy Richard Russell is his patron, and he plans to raise money selling Dr. Gibbs’s latest invention: an invisibility machine. Gibbs puts an ad in the newspaper for a human guinea pig, and is surprised to find it answered by a woman.

Kitty Carroll works as a department store model for a jerk of an employer. She takes the job as a guinea pig for the invisibility experiment so she can take revenge on him. Oddly, for all her talking, her boss doesn’t recognize her voice.

Meanwhile, a trio of gangsters are after the machine for themselves so their boss can escape Mexico, but when they fail to steal all the parts, their trials have some unexpected consequences.

The special effects are fairly minimal – some empty clothes here, some floating objects there. Something unique to this movie is that alcohol prolongs invisibility, and even can cause it to recur.

This movie is freaking hysterical. I’d gotten so accustomed to the dour horror-ish dramas that the silliness was quite unexpected. It’s fun to see some big names here too: John Barrymore, Margaret Hamilton, Charlie Ruggles, even Shemp Howard.

Now, I’m not being sarcastic when I say this movie is funny. Some of the dialogue is just classic. The butler is by far my favorite character, but they’re all pretty wonderful. And at only 72 minutes, it sure doesn’t drag. This is one worth picking up if you happen upon it.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: Maybe this is one of those books that really is better to be gone over in literature class, or maybe I’m just slow, but I sure didn’t understand much. The prologue was sheer brilliance; after that things just got weird. A nameless African-American narrator describes his journey from ambitious college student to disillusioned hermit, encountering a series of bizarre characters along the way. From reading other reviews I understand that most of these characters are meant to represent certain groups or archetypes, but aside from the communist Brotherhood I missed the references. I’m not sure that mattered, though, after reading the epilogue, which just rehashed the points I did grasp. I tried to just go with the flow but far too often my response to this book was, “Wait, what?”

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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