|Directed by||Edwin L. Marin|
|Screenplay by||Curt Siodmak|
|Produced by||Frank Lloyd|
|Edited by||Edward Curtiss|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures Company, Inc.|
Invisible Agent is a 1942 American action and spy film directed by Edwin L. Marin with a screenplay written by Curt Siodmak.The invisible agent is played by Jon Hall, with Peter Lorre and Sir Cedric Hardwicke as members of the Axis, and Ilona Massey and Albert Basserman as Allied spies.
Frank Griffin Jr, the grandson of the original Invisible Man, runs a print shop in Manhattan under the assumed name of Frank Raymond (Jon Hall). One evening, he is confronted in his shop by four armed men who reveal that they are foreign agents working for the Axis powers and they know his true identity. One of the men, Conrad Stauffer (Cedric Hardwicke), is a lieutenant general of the S.S., while a second, Baron Ikito (Peter Lorre), is Japanese. They offer to pay for the invisibility formula and threaten amputation of his fingers if it is not revealed. Griffin manages to escape with the formula. Griffin is reluctant to release the formula to the U.S. government officials, but following the Attack on Pearl Harbor agrees to limited cooperation (the condition being that the formula can only be used on himself). Later, while in-flight to be parachuted behind German lines on a secret mission, he injects himself with the serum, becoming invisible as he is parachuting down, to the shock and confusion of the German troops tracking his descent, and after landing strips off all of his clothing.
Griffin evades the troops and makes contact with an old coffin-maker named Arnold Schmidt (Albert Basserman), who reveals the next step of Griffin's mission. Griffin is to obtain a list of German and Japanese spies within the U.S. in the possession of Stauffer. Griffin is aided in his task by Maria Sorenson (Ilona Massey), a German espionage agent and the love interest of both Stauffer and Stauffer's well-connected second-in-command, Gestapo Standartenführer Karl Heiser (J. Edward Bromberg). According to their plan, Sorenson attempts to gain information from Heiser during a private dinner, with Griffin as witness. Drunk from champagne, Griffin uses his invisibility to play tricks on Heiser instead. Finally enraged when the dinner table mysteriously tips and soils his uniform, Heiser places Sorenson under house-arrest. Later, an apologetic Griffin demonstrates his existence to Sorenson by putting on a robe and smearing facial cream on his features. The two are attracted to each other.
Conrad Stauffer returns from his efforts in the United States and tries to manage his shifting alliances with Karl Heiser, Maria Sorenson, and Baron Ikito. When he learns of Heiser's disastrous romantic dinner with Sorenson, Stauffer has Karl Heiser arrested and baits a trap for Griffin, whom he comes to suspect has made contact with Maria. Despite walking into Stauffer's trap, Griffin manages to obtain the list of agents, and start a fire to cover his escape. Griffin takes the list of agents to Arnold Schmidt for transmission to England. Conrad Stauffer tries to hide the loss of the list from the prying Baron Ikito, who has been staying at the local Japanese Embassy. When Stauffer refuses to answer Ikito's questions, the two confess to each other that German and Japanese cooperation is not one of trust. Without revealing their plans to each other, both men start separate hunts for the Invisible Agent. Griffin steals into a German prison to obtain information from Karl Heiser about a planned German attack on New York City. In exchange for additional information, Griffin helps Heiser escape his imminent execution. Griffin returns with Heiser to Schmidt, who in the meantime has been arrested and tortured by Stauffer. At the shop, Griffin confronts Maria Sorenson, whom he suspects has betrayed Schmidt, and is captured with a net trap by Ikito's men.
Heiser escapes detection and attempts to save his life and career by phoning in Ikito's activities to Stauffer. Griffin and Sorensen are taken to the Japanese embassy, but manage to escape during the mayhem that ensues when Stauffer's men arrive. For their joint failure to safeguard the list of Axis agents, Ikito kills Stauffer and then performs seppuku, ritual suicide, as Heiser watches from the shadows. Assuming command, Heiser arrives too late to the local air base to stop Griffin and Sorenson from escaping. The couple acquires one of the bombers slated for the New York attack, and destroy other German planes on the ground as they fly to England. Stauffer's loyal men catch up with Karl Heiser and he is shot. Griffin succumbs to his injuries before he can radio ahead. England's air defense shoots down their craft, but not before Sorenson parachutes them to safety. Later, in a hospital, Griffin has recovered and is wearing facial cream so that he can be visible again. Sorenson appears with Griffin's American handler, who vouches for Sorenson that she has been an Allied double-agent all along. Sorenson is left alone with Griffin. Griffin reveals that he is actually visible under the facial cream, and they kiss. Sorenson happily accepts the challenge of discovering how Griffin regained his visibility.
By 1942, the United States had entered World War II, leading studios to produce films that were described by the authors of the book Universal Horrors as replacing the "cynicism of the '30s" with the "flag-waving of the '40s".This led to a combination of "horror and propaganda" that the authors described as an "uncomfortable hybrid". These films included productions at Monogram such as King of the Zombies , Black Dragons and Revenge of the Zombies with mad scientists who also worked for Nazis. Universal also made an entry into this hybrid with Invisible Agent. James L. Neibaur, author of The Monster Movies of Universal Studios described the film as not being a horror film, but "an action movie with comical touches".
Invisible Agent was announced under the title The Invisible Spy in early 1942.The screenwriting team of Frank Lloyd and Jack Skirball, who previously worked on Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur , were set to be the film's original producers but were replaced by George Waggner who was assigned the title of associate producer. The film's screenplay by Curt Siodmak has only one connection to the original Invisible Man film, with the "Frank Raymond" character who is the grandson of "Jack Griffin", the inventor of the invisibility formula. The film went into production on April 22 and finished in late May 1942 with a budget of $322,291.
Invisible Agent was distributed by the Universal Pictures Company on July 31, 1942.The film was the most successful of the Invisible Man sequels and one of Universal's highest-grossing films of the season, grossing over $1,000,000 in US rentals, earning $1,041,500.
John P. Fulton and Bernard B. Brown were nominated for an Academy Award for their special effects work on this film at the 15th Academy Awards, but lost to the special effects team for Paramount's Reap the Wild Wind .The film was followed by the sequel, The Invisible Man's Revenge also starring Jon Hall.
The film was released on DVD on as part of the "Invisible Man: The Legacy Collection" set, which included The Invisible Man , The Invisible Man Returns , The Invisible Woman and The Invisible Man's Revenge .It was released again on Blu-ray as part of the "Invisible Man: The Complete Legacy Collection" on August 28, 2018.
Shown on the MeTV show Svengoolie on December 17, 2022.
From contemporary reviews, an anonymous reviewer in Harrison's Reports described the film as "fairly entertaining" and noted the special effects were handled well but were nothing new.Kate Cameron of The New York Daily News found the film "amusing and exciting" with the actors performing "their supporting roles capably, although none of them tries to be convincing".
Some sources commented on the politics and representation of the axis powers in the film, with an anonymous reviewer in Newsweek declared that Universal had "assembled a cast that is much too good for the nonsense on the agenda" and The Film Daily announcing that "this is the ordinary peace-time meller translated into wartime pattern [...] The nazis are made to look pretty stupid and beset with official rivalry, while the Japs appear like slippery villains of the old serial days".A reviewer from The Hollywood Reporter spoke on this, stating: "Possibly, the smartest thing about the picture is its consistent refusal to underrate the intelligence of the Gestapo and Rising Sun operatives. They are as hep to the plot as you are, this being one of the first times such [villains] have been shown as capable of adding two and two to reach a correct answer".
From retrospective reviews, the authors of Universal Horrors stated that the film was a "cut above average" for a war time genre film as well as "maddeningly uneven", and that "far and away the best thing about Invisible Agent is the casting of Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Peter Lorre as the representatives of the Axis", declaring them "casebook example of how a bit of stylish acting can transcend routinely written roles".Bruce Eder writing for AllMovie described the film as "oddly schizophrenic", with its opening sequence resembling a Fritz Lang film is interlaced with scenes that had the "tone and mood of a very flaccid comedy spiced up with some amazing special effects". Eder also praised Lorre while declaring the rest of the film as having "all manner of ludicrous dialogue and a few eye-popping special effects to carry the ridiculous plot and some occasionally wretched acting".
Ilona Massey later reflected in the film in a 1971 interview, where she was described as having "disliked the [film] so much that she can scarcely remember what it was about" and "can't remember what her role in this film was".
Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke was an English stage and film actor whose career spanned nearly 50 years. His theatre work included notable performances in productions of the plays of Shakespeare and Shaw, and his film work included leading roles in several adapted literary classics.
Climax! is an American television anthology series that aired on CBS from 1954 to 1958. The series was hosted by William Lundigan and later co-hosted by Mary Costa. It was one of the few CBS programs of that era to be broadcast in color, using the massive TK-40A color cameras pioneered and manufactured by RCA, and used primarily by CBS' arch-rival network, NBC. Many of the episodes were performed and broadcast live, but, although the series was transmitted in color, only black-and-white kinescope copies of some episodes survive to the present day. The series finished at #22 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1955-1956 season and #26 for 1956-1957.
The Invisible Man is a 1933 American science fiction horror film directed by James Whale based on H. G. Wells' 1897 novel The Invisible Man, produced by Universal Pictures, and starring Gloria Stuart, Claude Rains and William Harrigan. The film involves a Dr. Jack Griffin (Rains) who is covered in bandages and has his eyes obscured by dark glasses, the result of a secret experiment that makes him invisible, taking lodging in the village of Iping. Never leaving his quarters, the stranger demands that the staff leave him completely alone until his landlady discovers he is invisible. Griffin returns to the laboratory of his mentor, Dr. Cranley, where he reveals his secret to Dr. Kemp and former fiancée Flora Cranley who soon learn that Griffin's discovery has driven him insane, leading him to prove his superiority over other people by performing harmless pranks at first and eventually turning to murder.
Griffin, also known as the Invisible Man, is a fictional character who first appeared as the protagonist of H. G. Wells' 1897 science fiction novel The Invisible Man. In the original work, Griffin is a scientist whose research in optics and experiments into changing the human body's refractive index to that of air results in him becoming invisible. After becoming invisible, he wraps his head in bandages and dons a pair of goggles or glasses in order to enable others to see him. Unable to reverse the invisibility process, he descends into insanity and becomes a criminal.
Son of Frankenstein is a 1939 American horror film that was directed by Rowland V. Lee and stars Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. The film is the third in Universal Pictures' Frankenstein series and is the follow-up to the 1935 film Bride of Frankenstein. Son of Frankenstein stars Rathbone as Baron Wolf von Frankenstein who, with his wife Elsa and son Peter, return to his late father's estate. Near the castle lives Ygor, a crazed blacksmith whose neck was broken in an unsuccessful hanging attempt. Among the castle's remains, Frankenstein discovers the remains of the monster and decides to try to save his family name by resurrecting the creature to prove his father was correct. He finds, however, the monster only responds to Ygor's commands.
The Invisible Man Returns is a 1940 American horror science fiction film directed by Joe May. The film stars Cedric Hardwicke, Vincent Price, Nan Grey and John Sutton. The film is a sequel to the 1933 film The Invisible Man, and the second film in the Invisible Man film series. The film is about Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe (Price) who is condemned for a murder he did not commit, which leads to him begging Dr. Frank Griffin (Sutton) to inject him with the invisibility serum despite Griffin's warning that the serum will drive him mad.
The Invisible Woman is an American science fiction comedy film directed by A. Edward Sutherland. It is the third film in Universal Pictures' The Invisible Man film series, following The Invisible Man and The Invisible Man Returns, which were released earlier in the year. It was more of a screwball comedy than a horror film like the others in the series. Universal released The Invisible Woman on December 27, 1940.
Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man is a 1951 American science fiction comedy film directed by Charles Lamont and starring the team of Abbott and Costello alongside Nancy Guild.
The Invisible Ray is a 1936 American science-fiction horror film directed by Lambert Hillyer. It stars Boris Karloff as Dr. Janos Rukh, a scientist who comes in contact with a meteorite composed of an element known as "Radium X". After exposure to its rays begins to make him glow in the dark, his touch becomes deadly, and he begins to be slowly driven mad. Alongside Karloff, the film's cast includes Bela Lugosi, Frances Drake, Frank Lawton, Walter Kingsford, Beulah Bondi, Violet Kemble Cooper, and Nydia Westman.
The Ghost of Frankenstein is a 1942 American horror film directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring Cedric Hardwicke, Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi. It is the fourth film in the Frankenstein series by Universal Pictures, and the follow-up to Son of Frankenstein (1939). The film's plot follows the previous film's: Frankenstein's Monster and his companion Ygor are chased out of town. They go to another small town to encourage the younger son of Henry Frankenstein to continue his father's experiments, so that Ygor can have revenge against his enemies and his brain transplanted into the Monster's skull.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is a 1943 American horror film directed by Roy William Neill and starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster. This was the first of a series of later called "monster rallies" combining characters from several film series. This film's script written by Curt Siodmak follows The Ghost of Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. The film involves Larry Talbot who is brought back to life. Seeking a way to return to his death to escape his werewolf curse, he meets with gypsy Maleva who advises him that the only way to stay dead is to confer with Dr. Frankenstein. The doctor is long dead but his equipment is in working condition, leading Talbot to seek the help of scientist Dr. Mannering and Frankenstein descendant Baroness Elsa Frankenstein. Talbot then attempts to have his life sucked from his body and transferred into Frankenstein's monster.
House of Frankenstein is a 1944 American horror film starring Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine. The film was directed by Erle C. Kenton based on a story by Curt Siodmak, and produced by Universal Pictures. The film is about Dr. Gustav Niemann who escapes from prison and promises to create a new body for his assistant Daniel. The two murder Professor Lampini and take over his sideshow that involves the corpse of Count Dracula. After disposing of the Count, the two move on to the ruins of Castle Frankenstein where they find the body of Frankenstein's monster and Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man preserved in the castle. Niemann thaws them and promises to cure Talbot of his werewolf curse, but secretly plots to revive Frankenstein's monster instead.
House of Dracula is a 1945 American horror film released and distributed by Universal Pictures. Directed by Erle C. Kenton, the film features several Universal Horror properties meeting as they had done in the 1944 film House of Frankenstein. The film is set at the castle home of Dr. Franz Edelmann, who is visited first by Count Dracula and later by Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man, who are trying to cure their vampirism and lycanthropy, respectively. Talbot is eventually cured, which leads him to discover the body of Frankenstein's monster in a cave below the base of the castle. Edelemann takes the monster's body back to his laboratory but finds Count Dracula has awakened and by attacking his assistants, he captures Edelmann and forces a reverse blood transfusion, which gives Edelmann a split personality and makes him a killer.
The Mummy's Hand is a 1940 American black-and-white horror film directed by Christy Cabanne and produced by Ben Pivar for Universal Studios. The film is about the ancient Egyptian mummy of Kharis, who is kept alive with a brew of tana leaves by The High Priest and his successor Andoheb. Meanwhile, archeologists Steve Banning and Babe Jenson persuade magician Solvani to finance an expedition in search of the tomb of Princess Ananka. They are joined by Solvani's daughter Marta, and followed by Andoheb who is also the professor of Egyptology at the Cairo Museum. Kharis is ordered to kill off expedition members Dr. Petrie and Ali, while Andoheb becomes attracted to Marta who he plans to kidnap and make immortal.
The Raven is a 1935 American horror film directed by Louis Friedlander and starring Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi. Billed as having been "suggested by" Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 poem of the same title, excerpts of which are quoted at a few points in the film, it was adapted from an original screenplay by David Boehm. Lugosi stars as a neurosurgeon obsessed with Poe who has a torture chamber in his basement, and Karloff plays an escaped murderer on the run from the police who Lugosi manipulates into doing his dirty work.
The Invisible Man's Revenge is a 1944 American horror film directed by Ford Beebe and written by Bertram Millhauser. The film stars John Carradine as a scientist who tests his experiment on Jon Hall, a psychiatric hospital escapee who takes the invisibility serum and then goes on a crime spree. The film was announced on June 10, 1943, and began shooting on January 10, 1944 finishing in mid-February. On its release, reviews in The New York Herald-Tribune, The New York Daily News and The New York World-Telegram noted that the film series and its special effects became tired, while a review in The Hollywood Reporter declared it as one of the best in the series.
Universal Classic Monsters is a media franchise based on a series of horror films primarily produced by Universal Pictures from the 1930s to the 1950s. Although not initially conceived as a franchise, the enduring popularity and legacy of the films and the characters featured in them has led the studio to market them under the collective brand name of Universal Studios Monsters. Steve Jones of USA Today described Universal's most famous monsters as "pop culture icons", specifically Dracula, Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, and the Wolf Man.
The Mad Doctor of Market Street is a 1942 American horror film produced by Universal Pictures starring Lionel Atwill. The film was a low-budget project that utilized the studio's contract players and gave rising director Joseph H. Lewis an opportunity to demonstrate his versatility with little production money.
Frankenstein is a film series of horror films from Universal Pictures based on the play version by Peggy Webling and the 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. The series follow the story of a monster created by Henry Frankenstein who is made from body parts of corpses and brought back to life. The rest of the series generally follows the monsters continuously being revived and eventually focuses on a series of cross overs with other Universal horror film characters such as The Wolf Man. The series consists of the following films: Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).
The Invisible Man is a film series by Universal Pictures. The series consists of The Invisible Man, The Invisible Man Returns, The Invisible Woman, Invisible Agent, The Invisible Man's Revenge and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. The film series borrows elements from H. G. Wells's novel The Invisible Man, but it focuses primarily on the idea of a serum that causes someone to go invisible and its side-effects.