For the fourth entry in their Invisible Man series, Universal sent the first of their monster characters into the war with Invisible Agent. Thoroughly boring Jon Hall plays Frank Raymond, grandson of Claude Rains’ character from the original 1933 The Invisible Man, who now possesses his grandfather’s formula. When enemy agents (including Cedric Hardwicke and Peter Lorre) try to get the secret from him, Raymond instead turns it and himself over to the government. Despite his complete lack of experience, they send him parachuting down, invisible, behind German lines to stop an attack planned for America. The film’s focus veers wildly from slapstick (one Nazi, played by J. Edward Bromberg, is straight out of To Be or Not to Be) to the horrors of war (Albert Basserman has his fingers completely crushed by Nazi interrogators), with casting similarly all over the map. Despite his German nationality, Lorre plays a Japanese agent, not atypical of a cast in which Asian actors play Japanese characters and Americans play German characters—though of them all, he still remains the only compelling actor in the cast. The effects (by series veteran John P. Fulton) remain outstanding, but little else about the production does, rendering Invisible Agent the worst of the series yet.
Where to Watch
Buy it on DVD in The Invisible Man: Complete Legacy Collection