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Number of reviews: 1
Total points: 9
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January 22, 2002
The INVISIBLE WOMAN 1941. Dispensing with the melodramatic excesses of Universal's previous "Invisible Man" films, 1941's The Invisible Woman aims strictly for laughs and succeeds. Playboy Richard Russell (John Howard) discovers that he is financially broke. He knows nothing about the experiments Professor Gibbs (John Barrymore doing an impression of his brother Lionel). He informs Gibbs however, that he can no longer finance his experiments. He tries to sever his financial relationship with the professor only to learn that he's been working on a formula that will render a person invisible. Now he needs to try it out on someone, so he does what any self-respecting wacky professor would do in such a situation: he places an ad in the local newspaper!Kitty Carroll (Virginia Bruce), an outspoken department store model who longs for adventure is intrigued by Gibb’s ad. She quits her job after a altercation with her tyrannical boss Mr. Growley (Charles Lane). Kitty offers her services to Gibbs who is flabbergasted because he’s unable to conduct his experiment unless the subject is "in the altogether." The experiment is a success. Cloaked in her new invisibility, Kitty gets even with her old nemesis Growley. Since Kitty was away smacking down her boss, Gibbs was unable to show her to Russell to convince him of the experiment’s success. She agrees to become invisible again. They go to Russell's mountain retreat and Gibbs suggests that she remove her clothes for maximum effect. Being stark naked in a cold house on a rainy night, she decides to warm up by having some brandy. After a while, she starts feeling faint. Russell wraps her in a blanket, then he and the professor carry her off to bed. When she wakes up hung over the next day, however, she's still invisible. She comments on how she never liked to drink before, which the professor deduces is a side effect to the formula: it not only causes a craving for alcohol (funny how they work this in), but combining the two prolongs the invisibility. Gibbs’ ad ends up in the Mexican refuge of gangster Blackie Cole (Oscar Homolka), who hopes to use Gibbs' invention for his own nefarious purposes. Unfortunately Blackie is saddled with such moronic henchmen as Bill (Ed Brophy) and Frankie (Shemp Howard). They steal the machine but are unable to make it work. So they kidnap the professor and Kitty. She happens to notice a bottle of pure grain alcohol and takes a few HUGE gulps of it, which quickly renders her invisible. Afterwards, Blackie and his gang don't stand a chance against the clever and resourceful Kitty, who thoughtfully permits the bewildered Richard into thinking that he's rescuing her. The Invisible Woman is consistently funny and inventive, enhanced by Universal's usual excellent special effects.