STARRING: Douglas Kennedy,
Marguerite Chapman, Carmel Daniel, Norman Smith, Guard
Patrick Cranshaw, Dennis Adams, Jonathan Ledford, James Griffith, Kevin Kelly,
Boyd "Red" Morgan, Ivan Triesault
1960, 58 Minutes, Directed by: Edgar G. Ulmer
B&W 1960 flick is sort of a low, low budget predecessor to
Hollow Man (2000).
A notorious bank robber
(Douglas Kennedy) is busted from prison as they say by a megalomaniacal
ex-military man named Maj. Paul Krenner (James Griffith).
Krenner has co-opted a
brilliant, but down-trodden, scientist named Ulof (Ivan Triesault) into
inventing a process that turns both guinea pigs and humans invisible. Krenner
wants to create an army of invisible (that is, human) soldiers with which to
take over the world. However, so far he hasn’t been particularly successful only
managing to cajole a surly security guard (Boyd 'Red' Morgan) and a greedy moll
(Laura Matson) into his service, neither of them being particularly loyal.
The bank robber (named Joey
Faust – geddit?) isn’t particularly keen on making a deal with Krenner either.
The U.S. army needn’t particularly worry about any potential competition from
Krenner when it comes to the recruitment stakes here though!
Still, the bank robber agrees
to rob a plutonium (or is that uranium?) plant to power the Invisibility
machine, and halfway through a bank robbery to alleviate his own cash flow
problem he becomes visible again and soon things are going to hell in hand
basket. Not just for the onscreen characters that is, but for the audience
watching this illogically and unevenly plotted affair too.
There are about two nifty
invisibility effects, and that’s all. (Clever effects probably being the main
reason why we bother watching “invisible man” movies in the first place.) The
rest is a dull slog (even though the movie clocks in at under an hour!) without
any real point to it all.
Apparently The Amazing
Transparent Man was filmed back-to-back by genre director Edgar G. Ulmer of
The Black Cat (1934), Bluebeard (1944) and Daughter of Dr.
Jekyll (1957) “fame” with another movie (Beyond the Time Barrier)
over a two-week period. It shows. The Amazing Transparent Man was also
featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 –
the now defunct TV series that pokes fun at very, very bad movies. That makes
(The Amazing Transparent Man
is one of 50 titles on the cheap
Science Fiction Classics DVD Collection which
retails for about $US30. Yes, it really has 50 movies – the collection consists
of 12 double-sided discs. Amazing Transparent Man may be a bore, but the
box set does contain some fun B-movie gems such as
Wild Women of Wongo,
Queen of the Amazons
and Teenagers from Space.)