<i>The Invisible Man</i>

Photofest

Location Info:

MOMA, Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters
11 W. 53rd St.
New York, NY  10020
212-708-9480
Hollywood special effects peaked in the Thirties — when the waning otherworldliness of celluloid synthesized perfectly with the torrential rollout of innovative practical and optical illusions — and few directors of that era could make you doubt your own mind like James Whale. His 1933 film of The Invisible Man, brisk as a cold morning walk, all but vibrates with macabre delight, as R.C. Sherriff's script inflates H.G. Wells's troubled scientist first into a mischief-maker, then later into a mass murderer and arsonist. You won't know if you're falling up the stairs or tipping into a ravine. But the film shrewdly front-loads the main event: Claude Rains cackling as he strips off his bandages to reveal a double void of corporeality and scruples. The uncanny hybrid of wonder and gravity of the ageless visual trickery binds us to Griffin, even when our subsequent complicity makes us feel a little sick.

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