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Invisible Agent

Invisible Agent
Directed by Edwin L. Marin
Written by H.G. Wells (novel The Invisible Man)
Curtis Siodmak
Starring Ilona Massey
Jon Hall
Peter Lorre
Cedric Hardwicke
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) July 31, 1942
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Preceded by The Invisible Woman (1940)
Followed by The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944)

Invisible Agent was a 1942 science fiction film from Universal. This movie was a war-time propaganda production that was part of a Hollywood effort to boost morale at the home front. It loosely echoed a series of formula war-horror films were produced during this period that typically featured a mad scientist working in secret to aid the Third Reich.

This movie was directed by Edwin L. Marin, and the screenplay was written by Curt Siodmak, who had co-written the earlier The Invisible Man Returns in 1940. Siodmak was a refugee from Nazi Germany, and he gave the film a strong anti-Nazi tone that treated the Nazis as incompetent buffoons. (A scene reportedly edited from the film had the hero placing a boot into Hitler's backside, following an official ban on all such images.)

The concept for the story was inspired by The Invisible Man, a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells. Wells had signed a deal with Universal to allow a series of movies based on his work, which began with the successful 1933 film by the same name, but had since begun to run out of steam.

For the cast, the invisible agent is played by Jon Hall, with Peter Lorre and Sir Cedric Hardwicke (who played another villain in The Invisible Man Returns) performing as members of the axis, and Ilona Massey and Albert Basserman as allied spies. The special effects were produced by John P. Fulton, who had created the effects for Universal's previous "invisible man" films. The movie was filmed in black and white with mono sound and ran for 81 minutes.



The grandson of Dr. Jack Griffin, the original invisible man, has emigrated to the United States and now runs a print shop in Manhattan under the assumed name of Frank Raymond (Jon Hall). In his shop he is confronted by four armed men who reveal that they know his true identity. One of the men, Conrad Stauffer (Cedric Hardwicke), is a lieutenant general of the S.S., while a second, Baron Ikito (Peter Lorre), is Japanese. They are seeking the invisibility formula and threaten amputation if it is not revealed. He just manages to escape with the formula in his hands.

Griffin is reluctant to release the formula to the U.S. government officials and only agrees to limited cooperation following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. (The condition is that the formula can only be used on himself). After being rendered invisible, he is parachuted behind German lines on a secret mission.

After landing Griffin returns to a visible state and makes contact with a carpenter Arnold Schmidt (Albert Basserman) who reveals his mission. He is to obtain a list of Japanese spies within the U.S. The list was in the possession of Stauffer. Griffin is aided in his task by Maria Sorenson (Ilona Massey), a British spy and the love interest of Stauffer. Griffin manages to obtain the list despite a confrontation with Stauffer, and returns it to his contact.

The plot thickens as Griffin steals into a German prison to obtain information about a planned German attack on New York city. He returns to Schmidt, who in the meanwhile has been arrested. At the shop he is captured by Ikito using a net trap. Griffin and Sorensen are taken to the Japanese embassy, but manage to escape during the mayhem that ensues when Stauffer's men arrive. The couple escape in one of the aircraft slated for the New York attack and then make their way to England and safety.


See also


  • Michael Brunas; John Brunas; Tom Weaver, Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946, McFarland & Co., 1990, ISBN 0-89950-369-1.

External links

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