Wednesday, October 26, 2022

#2,849. The Invisible Man Appears (1949)


Produced by Japan’s Daiei Film studio, 1949’s The Invisible Man Appears follows in the footsteps of Universal’s 1933 film The Invisible Man, relating the same basic story of a scientist who, after taking a formula for invisibility, slowly loses his mind.

Segi (Daijiro Natsukawa) and Kurokawa (Kanji Koshiba) work in a laboratory as assistants to renowned scientist Dr. Nakazato (Ryunosuke Tsukigata). Both Segi and Kurokawa have been working, independently from one another, on a way to make living creatures invisible, and have a friendly wager that whichever one succeeds first will win the hand of Dr. Nakazato’s daughter Machiko (Chuzura Kitagawa), who both men love.

What neither of them realize is that their boss has already concocted an invisibility potion, and while it does, indeed, work, he has yet to master the antidote, meaning anyone who drinks it will remain invisible for the rest of their lives.

Nakazato tells his good friend Kawabe (Shosaku Sugiyama) about his groundbreaking elixir, not realizing that Kawabe is, in reality, a jewel thief. Seizing an opportunity to steal a valuable diamond necklace known as the “Tears of Amour”, Kawabe secretly kidnaps Nakazato and hides him away. He then convinces the gullible Kurokawa that the best way to impress Machiko would be to track down her missing father.

Jump to a few days later. News breaks that an invisible man is terrorizing the area, and after attacking several people tried to swipe the Tears of Amour necklace. Who is this invisible man, and can the authorities stop him before he strikes again?

Aside from its subplot about a diamond heist, The Invisible Man Appears has a lot in common with the 1933 movie, right down to its special effects; there’s even a dramatic “unmasking”, where the invisible man, bandages covering his face, slowly peels them away to reveal there is nothing underneath. These effects work just as well here as they did in the earlier movie, and its tale of a brilliant scientist who drinks a formula and goes insane is just as effective.

It may lack the dark humor that made James Whale’s The Invisible Man a classic, but The Invisible Man Appears is well-acted, crisply directed (by Shinsei Adachi and Shigehiro Fukushima), and entertaining enough to make it worth a watch.
Rating: 7 out of 10

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