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The Invisible Man - part of the Universal Classics Monsters Boxset [Blu-ray]
(James Whale, 1933)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 27,825,005,263 bytes
Feature Size: 19,734,964,224 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.30 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 2nd, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1769 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1769 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), Spanish, none
• Commentary by Rudy Behlmer
•Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed (35:21)
• Production Photographs (4:30)
• Trailer Gallery
• 100 Years of Universal
Description: From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection showcases 8 of the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature From the Black Lagoon. Starring Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these original films set the standard for a new horror genre with revolutionary makeup, mood-altering cinematography and groundbreaking special effects. Featuring over 12 hours of revealing bonus features plus an exclusive collectible book, each film has been digitally restored from high resolution film elements for the ultimate classic monster experience.
A mysterious stranger, his face swathed in bandages and his eyes obscured by dark spectacles, has taken a room at a cozy inn in the British village of Ipping. Never leaving his quarters, the stranger demands that the staff leave him completely alone. Working unmolested with his test tubes, the stranger does not notice when the landlady inadvertently walks into his room one morning. But she notices that her guest seemingly has no head! The stranger, one Jack Griffin, is a scientist, who'd left Ipping several months earlier while conducting a series of tests with a strange new drug called monocane. He returns to the laboratory of his mentor, Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers), where he reveals his secret to onetime partner Dr. Kemp (William Harrigan) and former fiancee Flora Cranley (Gloria Stuart). Monocane is a formula for invisibility, and has rendered Griffin's entire body undetectable to the human eye. Alas, monocane has also had the side effect of driving Griffin insane. With megalomanic glee, Griffin takes Kemp into his confidence, explaining how he plans to prove his superiority over other humans by wreaking as much havoc as possible. At first, his pranks are harmless; then, without batting an eyelash, he turns to murder, beginning with the strangling of a comic-relief constable. When Kemp tries to turn Griffin over to the police, he himself is marked for death. Despite elaborate measures taken by the police, Griffin is able to murder Kemp, considerately taking the time to describe his homicidal methods to his helpless victim. After a reign of terror costing hundreds of lives, Griffin is cornered in a barn, his movements betrayed by his footsteps in the snow. Mortally wounded by police bullets, Griffin is taken to a hospital, where he regretfully tells Flora that he's paying the price for meddling into Things Men Should Not Know. As Griffin dies, his face becomes slowly visible: first the skull, then the nerve endings, then layer upon layer of raw flesh, until he is revealed to be Claude Rains, making his first American film appearance. So forceful was Rains' verbal performance as "The Invisible One" that he became an overnight movie star (after nearly twenty years on stage). Wittily scripted by R.C. Sherriff and an uncredited Philip Wylie, and brilliantly directed by James Whale, The Invisible Man is a near-untoppable combination of horror and humor. Also deserving of unqualified praise are the thorouhgly convincing special effects by John P. Fulton and John Mescall. With the exception of The Invisible Man Returns, none of the sequels came anywhere close to the quality of the 1933 original. Trivia alert: watch for Dwight "Renfield" Frye as a bespectacled reporter, Walter Brennan as the man whose bicycle was stolen, and John Carradine as the fellow in the phone booth who's "gawt a plan to ketch the h'invisible man.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Engrossing adaptation of HG Wells' tale of a scientist made invisible by his experiments with the drug monocaine. The megalomania that ensues upon Rains' ability to go about unseen is played for suspense, pathos and tongue-in-cheek humour (he can't go out in the rain, because it would make him look like a ridiculous bubble). The real strengths of the movie are John P Fulton's remarkable special effects (Rains removing his bandages to reveal nothing, footsteps appearing as if by magic in the snow), lending much-needed conviction to the blatant fantasy; and the fact that we never see the scientist without his bandages until the very end of the film. No wonder Karloff, disdainful of a role in which he would for the most part only be heard, turned down the part; but Rains, with his clear, sensitively inflected voice, was lucky: it made him a star.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Invisible Man looks excellent on Blu-ray as part of the Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection. The image quality has reached a zenith for digital Home theater and the dated effects are charismatically amusing. This is also dual-layered with a high bitrate. Contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels, and there is some texture and depth. Considering the production limitations of the age it was made this 1080P transfer does a wonderful job of presenting the film. This Blu-ray is solid throughout and has no discernable flaws that I could ascertain.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is rendered via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1769 kbps. Heinz Roemheld's score builds tension and suspense and sounds decidedly crisper via the uncompressed transfer. Rains maniacal laughter has a chilling edge. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Not quite as stacked as some of the other disc in the package but still a handful, to be sure. From the Legacy DVD we get the professional commentary by Rudy Behlmer. We get another good documentary by David J. Skal - Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed running about 35-minutes with Behlmer, Bill Condon, Ian McKellen, Paul M. Jensen and others supplying soundbytes. There is a slideshow of Production Photographs, a Trailer Gallery , another 100 Years of Universal video and the disc is 'My Scenes' capable.
September 26th, 2012
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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