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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
James Whale
Cast:
Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan, Dudley Digges, Una O'Connor
Writing Credits:
RC Sherriff

Synopsis:
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

MPAA:
Rated NR.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
French DTS Monaural
Castillian DTS Monaural
German DTS Monaural
Italian DTS Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Castillian
French
Japanese
German
Italian
Dutch
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Chinese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Castillian
Japanese
German
Italian
Dutch
Chinese

Runtime: 71 min.
Price: $79.98
Release Date: 10/5/21
Available As Part of “Universal Classic Monsters Icons of Horror” 4-Movie Collection

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
• “Now You See Him” Documentary
• Production Photographs
• Trailer Gallery
• “Unforgettable Characters” Featurette
• Blu-ray Copy


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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


The Invisible Man [4K UHD] (1933)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 13, 2021)

Prior to the advent of DVDs, I'd never cared much about the "Universal Monsters" movies like Dracula and Frankenstein. However, those DVDs sounded intriguing so I gave them a shot.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed them, and I subsequently decided to check out additional releases from this series. This included 1933's The Invisible Man, a film I looked forward to due to its director.

James Whale - the same gent who helmed Frankenstein and its sequel The Bride of Frankenstein - directed Invisible. Both were excellent - possibly the best two films of Universal Monsters series - so I had high hopes for Man as well.

Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains) discovers how to turn himself invisible. However, this experiment comes with a problematic side effect: the process slowly turns him into a murderous madman.

Because he went missing, his fiancée Flora Cranley (Gloria Stuart) worries about him. She recruits various parties to find Jack and help him back to sanity.

While I don't think Man belongs in the same category as Whale's Frankenstein works, I find it to offer a fun and compelling experience nonetheless. Unlike modern pieces like Paul Verhoeven's lousy Hollow Man, the Whale film doesn't concern itself with the science of the machinery of the invisibility experience.

Instead, Jack starts the picture in a transformed state. It's only as the movie progresses that we find out what happened to him and see how the character develops.

Personally, I never really understood the idea of an invisible man as a horror role. What's so scary about some dude you can't observe?

It's just an ordinary guy we who remains unseen by us. I'd think the main advantage to invisibility would be the ability to check out naked babes whenever you want.

This film expands on the threat provided by an invisible man and makes the menace clear and fairly scary. Much of the impact comes from the lead performance by Rains.

For obvious reasons, his role remains vocally oriented, and Rains' voice does wonders with the part. He successfully walks the line between serious drama and camp without ever crossing over to the spoofy side of the street and the result is a terrific performance that does much to make the film work. Rains can be over the top, but wonderfully so.

Surprisingly, the movie's other star - the special effects - hold up pretty nicely. While the flaws appear clear and the techniques well-known, I still think the trick shots seem relatively convincing. Yes, they can look pretty bad to modern eyes, but I think I can modify my disbelief for older movies, so I can see how amazing these effects must have appeared in 1933.

The Invisible Man lacks the depth to live up to Whale's other horror films. We get the sense that our villain was made, not born, but we don't find a whole lot of detail in this domain, as most of the story just has fun with the menace involved.

And that’s fine with me. Whale mixes his usual combination of chills and humor, so funny material appears in the middle of spooky scenes, but not to deleterious effect, as the jokes make the whole package work better. Man becomes a fun experience.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B

The Invisible Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. I felt quite pleased with this appealing presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed strong. A little softness occasionally affected some shots, but those were minor instances, as the majority of the flick looked pretty accurate and tight.

I witnessed no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes were absent. With a nice layer of grain, I didn’t suspect any heavy-handed digital noise reduction usage, and print flaws remained absent.

Blacks looked deep and taut, while shadows showed clear, smooth tones. The disc’s HDR added nice impact to whites and contrast. This was a splendid image.

Though not quite as good, the DTS-HD MA 2.0 monaural soundtrack of Invisible Man worked well for its age. Speech could be a bit brittle, but the lines seemed reasonably natural, and they lacked any substantial edginess or other concerns.

Effects came across as decent. Those elements could seem rough in louder sequences, and they never boasted great dimensionality, but they were more than acceptable for their age.

The occasional instances of music showed fair clarity, and the track lacked much source noise; some light popping and background interference occurred, but nothing substantial. This was a more than competent track for an 88-year-old flick.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both came with the same audio, but the visuals offered modest upgrades. The 4K eliminated the minor print flaws from the Blu-ray and looked a bit better defined.

Don’t expect a revelation, though, as the BD already offered age-defying picture quality. The 4K became a mild step up in quality.

When we go to extras, we get an audio commentary from film historian Rudy Behlmer. For this running, screen-specific piece, he details the genesis of the original HG Wells novel, aspects of story/characters, cast and performances, visual effects, related films, filmmaker biographies, and some additional production notes.

As a commentator, Behlmer is money in the bank, as he always provides thorough, engaging examinations of the films he discusses, and that remains true here. Behlmer seems informed but not stuffy, as he delivers a spirited examination of the movie. I love Behlmer’s work and he makes this another strong commentary.

Hosted by Behlmer, Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed runs 35 minutes, 19 seconds. The program provides notes from actor Claude Rains' daughter Jessica, Gods and Monsters director Bill Condon and actor Ian McKellen, James Whale’s friend Curtis Harrington, and film historians David J. Skal and Paul M. Jensen.

“Revealed” covers the HG Wells novel and its adaptation for the screen, notes about Whale and his career, cast and performances, visual effects, the film’s reception and sequels. “Revealed” moves through its subjects quickly but well, so it delivers a good overview.

100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters lasts eight minutes, 19 seconds. It features a slew of movie snippets as a narrator tells us about different roles. It’s mildly entertaining but it essentially exists as an advertisement.

We get Production Photographs presented as a running piece. We find a conglomeration of posters, lobby cards and shots from the set that fills a total of four minutes, 28 seconds. It gives us a good collection of elements.

Within the trailer gallery, we locate promos for Invisible Man Returns, Invisible Agent, and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. Unfortunately, no ad for Invisible Man itself appears.

A second disc provides a Blu-ray copy of the film, It includes the same extras minus the trailer for Abbott.

Although The Invisible Man isn't a great horror film, it's a fun and clever one that works well eight decades after its original release. The 4K UHD offers excellent visuals, good audio and a small but nice set of bonus features. This becomes a terrific release for an entertaining flick.

Note that as of October 2021, the 4K UHD version of Invisible Man appears only as part of a four-movie “Universal Classic Monsters Icons of Horror Collection”. In addition to Invisible Man, it also includes Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolfman.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of INVISIBLE MAN

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