The Invisible Woman Reviews
In this unrated continuation of the Universal series, an attractive model with an ulterior motive (Bruce) volunteers as guinea pig for an invisibility machine.
Eddie Sutherland, a director known for working with some legendary Golden Age HWood comedians as W.C. Fields (Mississippi), Laurel & Hardy (Flying Deuces), and Abbott & Costello (A Night in the Tropics), takes the place behind the camera. Even to the end that you consider this a distraction more than a sequel, however, the bits and humor prove negligible. Worse, John Barrymore and Peter Lorre probably wished that they remained invisible in the finished product.
Bottom line: Hollow Mange
John Barrymore plays a funny old inventor who uses a chemical combined this time with an electrical contraption to turn people invisible. He won't use it on himself and so he puts out a classified ad for a volunteer. He gets Virginia Bruce as Kitty, who really only wants to teach her boss at the fashion house, where she models, a lesson. Howard is a rich guy funding the professor's experiments. He provides the obvious romantic interest for the invisible woman. Ruggles plays a butler who is overly excitable and does dozens of double takes and prat falls through the movie. Homolka plays a gangster (supposedly) from Mexico who wants to steal the professor's invention. His henchmen are Brophy, MacBride, and Shemp Howard. Yes, of course, that means even more slapstick routines. Margaret Hamilton, a year after The Wizard of Oz, plays the professor's frazzled assistant. She doesn't have much screen time and is only mediocre in a supporting role that is barely developed. So, there's no connection to the Griffin family in this one, and it turns out alcohol brings on the invisibility at the most opportune or inopportune moments. It is funny at times, but the ending jumps ahead with a punchline out of left field.
Not surprisingly there isn't any plot or character connections to the previous two films (perhaps for the better since this film plays more off like a comedy). We have a rich playboy who loses his fortune to women so he is depending on his top scientist to come up with a creation to make him rich again. Thanks to his "Frankenstein" lob props he is able to perfect the art of invisibility but he needs a person to try it on. In comes Kitty Carroll, a pretty model who volunteers for the experiment in order to get revenge on her verbally abusive boss. Lots of hijinks occurs as our invisible women helps defeat some mob members hell bent on getting their hands on the experiment while at the same time falling in love with our playboy lead.
Due to having a women in the lead role they decide to ante up the sex appeal by having sexy silhouettes of our curvaceous actress and even having her parade around partial dressed while invisible. I'm all for sex appeal but this mixed in with the forced comic humor just insults the greatness of the original film. Why did Universal opt for this approach? They could have easily taken a much more serious route with a woman in the lead role and done it successfully. Did they do this for fearing at the time people wouldn't take a film about an invisible person of the opposite sex seriously? Perhaps at the time but it just saddens me to think how good this film could have been with a slightly different approach.
"The Invisible Woman" isn't a terrible film but it is predicable with its plot which is just an excuse to see what awkward situations our invisible woman can get into. I would have much preferred a much more serious approach to the subject matter and audiences must have agreed at the time as Universal would get the series back on the more serious track with the next entry "Invisible Agent."
A wealthy playboy funds an eccentric scientist, who has created an invisibility machine. When a fashion model who is irritated by her job comes in as the test subject, her intentions are not for science, but of kicking her boss right in the pants! Hahaha!