Unseen and Loving it

The Invisible Woman has nothing to do with the Fantastic Four. It’s actually a straightforward comedy that gave a woman a shot at invisibility. Although the movie is part of the Invisible Man collection, it has nothing to do with horror. The Invisible Woman isn’t a Universal monster, because most female led projects weren’t taken seriously back then. Dracula’s Daughter being a rare exception. The Invisible Woman makes its comedic tone clear at the very beginning with a series of gags, pratfalls, and overacting.

Griffin is replaced by the friendly, yet sexist Professor Gibbs played by the legendary John Barrymore near the end of his career. Post-Wicked Witch Margaret Hamilton plays his underappreciated maid Mrs. Jackson. Gibbs uses an invisibility machine that can only temporarily make someone disappear. John Howard plays the wealthy playboy Richard Russell who reluctantly funds his invention. Character actor Charlie Ruggles is the most overtly comedic as his butler. A test subject is found through a personal ad and the titular Invisible Woman ends up being model Kitty Carroll.

Virginia Bruce shows her face, but she has the right screwball charm when only using her voice. The effects are on par with the previous movies. Having her be naked is common for Invisible movies, but it’s still scandalous for 1940. Insanity is replaced by impulsiveness since her greatest threat is a sexist boss. Until a band of cartoony gangsters including nobodies favorite Stooge (Shemp Howard) try to steal the machine. Kitty falls for Richard, gets drunk, and uses her wit to outsmart the criminals. The Invisible Woman is amusing when you accept the lack of horror.

15. The Invisible Woman

Professor Gibbs and the Invisible Woman

Preceded by: The Invisible Man Returns & Followed by: Invisible Agent

5 thoughts on “Unseen and Loving it

  1. I love this movie, it’s silly as hell, but it’s so much fun to watch. Not a bad one of the last hurrah’s for John Barrymore actually. Shemp Howard of The Three Stooges (a comedy trio I’ve loved since childhood) being in it made me wanna check the film out originally.

    Liked by 1 person

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