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th=”295″ height=”400″ />When I was younger I used to read a lot of classic novels of all genre’s including such works as, Charles Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’, Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Count Of Monte Cristo’, and even Monsieur Dumas’, ‘The Three Musketeer’s.’ It wasn’t until I was a teenager though that I began to get in to the classic works of horror and Science Fiction fiction… As a matter of fact one of my favorite horror novels is Bram Stoker’s, ‘Dracula’!
But there was one novel that along the lines of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that really fascinated me, and that was, ‘The Invisible Man’ by H.G. Wells… Partly because, (well let’s be honest,) the pranks one could pull when they are invisible, but also the idea that when the novelty wears off, and you begin to realize that you could ultimately end up staying like that permanently (basically a, ‘be careful what you wish for type of scenario…)
Now the reason that I mention this is because I recently have come to discover a fascinating variation on the old tale called, Invisible Agent (1942)…
Written by: Curt Siodmak (Transatlantic Tunnel) and Directed by: Edwin L. Marin (Two Tickets To London). Starring: Jon Hall (Arabian Nights), Illona Massey (Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman), Peter Lorre (The Boogie Man Will Get You), Cedric Hardwicke (Desert Fox: The Story Of Rommel) and J. Edward Bromberg (Halfway To Shanghai).
Invisible Agent, tells the story of Frank Raymond (Hall). Now Frank was not always called Frank Raymond, his original name was Frank Griffin… You see Frank had decided to change his name and become a mild mannered print shop owner in an attempt to escape the stigma of the Griffin name; this is due to the fact that Frank’s grand father was the inventor of a formula that can make some one invisible. But when Frank’s grand father tested it on himself, he could not make himself visible again and ended up going insane!
Needless to say, Frank has been trying to lead a quiet, but normal life. That is until the Axis powers come to discover who Frank really is and send a group of people over to the United States to try and persuade Mr. Raymond in to parting ways with his formula…
The two main people in this group is an SS Officer by the name of Conrad Stauffer (Hardwicke), and a Japanese Baron by the name of Ikito (Lorre)… Well needless to say, that despite a rather violent confrontation, Frank refuses to turn over his invisible potion over to the Axis powers.
Now later on, and after Mr. Raymond has reported the crime to the proper American authorities, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, which brings Frank in to action…
You see after the attack, Mr. Raymond volunteers to use his family’s formula and go on a mission in to the heart of Nazi evil and investigate how, who and when the Nazi’s were planning to sabotage the American war industries… The one catch here is that Frank Raymond will have to get this accomplished before the Nazi’s make their plans a reality!
Now I gotta say that what I like about this movie and what I do think makes this an awesome b movie is a couple of things…
1. I liked this variation of the original H.G. Wells novel because it really does combine everything that was great about the book, and being a military history buff, I found it fascinating that it took place during World War 2 and that the Invisible Man was working with the Allies!
2. The next thing that I wanted to mention is the special effects on this movie, I mean granted they are nearly 70 years old, but they were surprisingly well done for that time! The effects it turns out were so good that the FX team that worked on the movie were nominated for an Oscar during the early years of the Academy Awards!
With all of this in mind, if your looking for a fun patriotic bent on a historic classic, then I recommend this one, it is fun!