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Charles Lamont
Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Nancy Guild
Writing Credits:
John Grant, Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo

Two bumbling private eyes help a man wrongly accused of murder who has become invisible to help clear his name.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 8/28/18

• Trailer


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Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man [Blu-Ray] (1951)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 23, 2018)

At the end of 1948’s Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, we get a comedic tag that introduces Bud and Lou to the Invisible Man. When the duo next confronted terror, however, they went with 1949’s awkwardly titled Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff.

Fans finally got a proper follow-up to Meet Frankenstein via 1951’s Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. Bud Alexander (Abbott) and Lou Francis (Costello) graduate from detective school and quickly land their first case.

Boxer Tommy Nelson (Arthur Franz) finds himself unjustly accused of his manager’s murder, and he uses a special injection to make himself invisible in an attempt to avoid capture. On the job, Bud and Lou help find the real killer, all with Tommy’s unseen assistance.

Man represents my third look at one of the Abbott and Costello Meet… films. Though I liked Frankenstein a lot, I thought 1955’s Meet the Mummy offered a bland, unfunny adventure.

Though Mummy left a bad taste, I hoped Man would reignite some of the comedic sparks from Frankenstein. Happily, it does – though not as strong as the 1948 flick, Man proves much more satisfying than Mummy.

Much of the improvement comes from the performances brought by our leads. By Mummy, Abbott and Costello neared the end of their road – they’d break up two years later, and Lou would die a mere two years after that.

Though only four years prior to Mummy, Man shows a comedy team with much greater enthusiasm than the worn-out pair of 1955. In particular, Lou offers fine comedic charisma.

As was the case with Frankenstein, Costello carries Man and creates most of the laughs on his own. Unlike the earlier film, though, Costello gets assistance from parties other than his partner.

While Abbott functions fine in his usual part as the straight man, some supporting actors bring a little more to the comedic table here. Right before he’d earn fame as Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy, William Frawley delights as a police detective, and I also like Paul Maxey as a psychiatrist.

Make no mistake, though: this remains Costello’s tale to carry, and he helps overcome weaknesses. Man lacks much of a real story, as it instead tends to indulge in comedic skits that it connects in a loose manner.

Man also falters as a mystery. We figure out pretty quickly who actually killed Tommy’s manager, so the film musters no suspense or intrigue.

Nonetheless, Man provides too many laughs for these issues to matter. Led by a delightful turn by Lou Costello, this provides a funny and lively tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Given the film’s age, this became a pretty impressive presentation.

Sharpness usually appeared quite good, as the majority of the film showed nice clarity. Some shots occasionally came across as a bit soft, but most of the flick provided nice delineation.

The image lacked jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes stayed absent. Man also remained blissfully free from print flaws, as no specks, marks or debris interfered with the presentation, and with a nice layer of grain, I didn’t suspect any issues with digital noise reduction.

Blacks seemed dense and deep, and contrast offered a fine silvery sheen most of the time. Shadows offered good smoothness and definition. Despite some nitpicks on my part, this wound up as an image that didn’t show its advanced age.

Though not as good, the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack seemed more than acceptable for its vintage. Dialogue could be a bit tinny and distant, but the lines lacked edginess and stayed perfectly intelligible.

Music and effects also seemed fine. Neither showed great range or impact, but they appeared clear, clean and reasonably robust given the restrictions of the source.

The audio lacked any issues related to source noise, so I heard no popping, clicks or hiss. For a 67-year-old mix, Man sounded pretty good.

Only a trailer appears here, as the disc lacks any other extras.

While not the duo’s best film, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man offers a fairly entertaining horror-comedy. It uses its leads to satisfying effect and turns into a likable effort. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture with satisfactory audio but it lacks supplements. This turns into a fun romp.

Note that Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man can be purchased on its own or in various packages. It can be found as part of a six-film “Invisible Man Complete Legacy Collection”. In addition to Meets, we find The Invisible Man, The Invisible Woman, Invisible Agent, The Invisible Man’s Revenge, and The Invisible Man Returns.

In addition, Meets comes in the “Universal Monsters Complete 30-Film Collection”. It actually packages the Invisible Man set mentioned above with similar compilations for six other Universal Monsters.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
2 3:
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