review of No Name (8/10)
October 26, 2001
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 Iping. He demands that the staff leave him completely alone. The stranger doesnot notice when the landlady walks into his room that evening to serve him dinner. But she notices that her guest seemingly has no head! The stranger, one Jack Griffin, is a scientist, who'd left Iping several months earlier while conducting a series of tests with a strange new drug called "monocane." Unknown to Griffin, monocane has the side effect of causing insanity. When the landlord attempts to throw him out for failing to pay his back rent and causing a ruckus Griffin removes his bandages and everything else to reveal that he's invisible terrifying the simple townsfolk. He eventually makes his way to the home of Dr. Kemp, (William Harrigan) a former colleague where he reveals his secret. Griffin gleefully takes Kemp into his confidence, explaining how he plans to use his superiority over other men by wreaking havoc and committing murders. Kemp tries and fails to turn Griffin over to the police. Despite elaborate measures taken by the police, Griffin is able tomurder Kemp. After a reign of terror costing hundreds of lives, Griffin is cornered in a barn, and driven out into a snowstorm. His movements betrayed by his footsteps in the snow Griffin is shot and mortally wounded by the police. On his death bed, Griffin tells his lady love that he's paying the price for meddling into Things Men Should Leave Alone. As he 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 that he became an overnight movie star (after nearly twenty years of performing on stage). A Sci-Fi Classic.