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The Invisible Man Returns

The Invisible Man Returns movie poster
Directed by Joe May
Written by H.G. Wells (characters)
Joe May (story)
Kurt Siodmak (story and screenplay)
Lester Cole
Starring Cedric Hardwicke
Vincent Price
Nan Grey
Music by Hans J. Salter
Frank Skinner
Cinematography Milton R. Krasner
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) January 12, 1940 U.S. release
Running time 81 min
Preceded by The Invisible Man (1933)
Followed by The Invisible Woman (1940)

The Invisible Man Returns is a 1940 horror science fiction film from Universal. It was written as a sequel to the 1933 film The Invisible Man, which was based on the novel The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. The studio had signed a multi-picture contract with Wells, and they were hoping that this film would do as well as the first. It would be followed by the comedic The Invisible Woman later the same year.

The screen play for this movie was written by Lester Cole and Curt Siodmak (as Kurt Siodmak). The film director was Joe May, who had previously directed The House of the Seven Gables. (May's native language was German, and he spoke little English.) The cast of the film included Vincent Price (in his first horror-film role), Cecil Kellaway, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nan Grey, Alan Napier and John Sutton.

The movie ran for 81 minutes in black and white with mono sound. The movie holds a 89% at Rotten Tomatoes The production ran slightly over budget, costing $270,000, but it returned good box office revenues. The special effects by John P. Fulton received an Oscar nomination.

In the chronology styled documentary, Ted Newson's 100 Years of Horror (1996), Price recalls that the undressing of the scarecrow scene took several hours to shoot, for only three minutes of on screen time. The transparent effect was done with black velvet covering the actor.

A modified remake of this film was released in 1951 as Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. At the end of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Vincent Price makes a brief voice-only cameo as the Invisible Man.



Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price) is sentenced to death for the murder of his brother Michael, a crime he did not commit. Dr. Frank Griffin, the brother of the original invisible man, injects the prisoner with an invisibility drug. As Radcliffe's execution nears, he suddenly vanishes from his cell. Detective Sampson (Cecil Kellaway) from the Scotland Yard guesses the truth while Radcliffe searches for the real murderer before the drug wears off.

The Radcliffe family owns a mining operation. The recently-hired employee Willie Spears (Alan Napier) is promoted within the company, stirring Radcliffe's suspicions. After forcing Spear's car off the road, Spears is scared into revealing that Richard Cobb (Cedric Hardwicke), Radcliffe's cousin, is the murderer. After a confrontation, a chase scene ensues during which Radcliffe is struck by a bullet from Sampson. Cobb is killed from a coal wagon, but not before confessing to the murder.

Radcliffe nearly dies from blood loss and exposure, but is saved by Dr. Griffin. A transfusion of blood makes Radcliffe visible, allowing the doctor to operate. (Vincent Price actually only appeared in the film for one minute, and spent the remainder of the movie as a disembodied voice.)

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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