Friday, June 17, 2016

Universal Japan: The Invisible Man Appears

Leave it to Japan to even make their own Title sound silly!  Today's Film is The Invisible Man Appears, a 1949 Japanese Film 'inspired' by Universal's Film Series.  This isn't a very overt redo (like Evil of Dracula), since the preceding Films involved Scientists on the run, Scientists solving a murder, a Shopgirl fighting crime, fighting the Nazis and finally one just being a crazy man.  There are alot more of these Films than most people realize!  It is kind of funny to think that we made a Film about an Invisible Man fighting against the Axis Powers in 1942 and then Japan would make their only Film only seven years later!  History is fun.  In this Film, a guy is experimenting with an Invisibility Formula (for no reason), two guys doing a similar Formula and a love-triangle that is forced in.  Yes, it does drive the Plot, but it was still pretty route in 1949.  Oh well.  To find out if this Film matches up to the Universal ones, read on...
This Film is subtle, playing this quote at the beginning and the end.  Get it?  GET IT?!?
An old Scientist has created a Formula that can turn Animals invisible.  Finally- invisible Dobermans!
To the Film's credit, most of the Invisibility effects work well (see the Stinger).  Cute kitty.
After setting up the Love Triangle, the Formula and the obviously-evil guy, the Scientist is kidnapped.
"Use your hate.  Let it drive you.  I, this line."
The driving point for this Film- a fancy necklace.  That's it.

I know your post-WWII Economy was rough, but this is still kind of silly, right?
Despite being made nearly 70 years ago, the Film's portrayal of Media Coverage is spot-on though.
In the end, it turns out that the obviously-going-to-turn-evil guy was tricked into doing all of this by the truly-evil guy all along.
He kills the villain, but is too far gone and gets killed by the Police.  In what is supposed to be a sad sentiment, all I can see is someone being a bit self-centered.  Oh well.  The End.
Pretty run of the mill stuff, but solid.  This one kind of falls into the same category of Evil of Dracula for me.  It tells the Story well, has some good moment and works overall.  It just didn't 'wow' me as much as I was hoping.  The Story is good, giving some decent twists and turns.  They do the whole 'withhold information from the audience' thing, which is kind of a cheat though.  The Film does play with the Invisibility angle well, having some obvious moments in which it is used.  Aside from those, it has people *pretend* to be the Invisible Man as well, which is a nice wrinkle.  This is still a story about someone going way out of their way to steal a necklace though.  He must have really wanted that bauble!  To do so, he commits several more crimes, drives a guy to crime, drives a guy crazy and ultimately leads to a few deaths.  I guess just putting on a mask was out of the question!  Granted- knowing that a guy has an Invisibility Formula would be tempting.  However, it is ultimately just used for one robbery plan.  Previous Invisible Men sought to conquer the world (original), clear their name from murder (sequel) and turn the tide of WWII (later sequel).  It just seems like kind of a low-aiming scheme, that's all.  Speaking of aiming low, can I ask why there is string tied to that table cloth?  Oh, it is for your effect, isn't it?
Next up, another Universal-inspired Film from Japan.  This one is a bit less direct, but I'm doing it anyways.  Stay tuned...

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