Showing posts with label 1933. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1933. Show all posts

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Invisible Man

“He’s invisible, and mad!” Those four short words from the classic Universal horror The Invisible Man sum up the film more than any plot synopsis ever could. Directed by James Whale in between 1931’s Frankenstein and 1935’s Brideof Frankenstein, the movie is often overshadowed by its monstrous companions but The Invisible Man should not be overlooked. The movie features some astounding and groundbreaking special effects which seem years ahead of their time. These are combined with H.G. Wells’ classic story to form a memorable if not at times slightly formulaic horror movie.

Production on The Invisible Man was fraught with difficulty and set backs and the story went through several incarnations before it was decided to follow Wells’ own novel closely. Alternative versions featured invisible rats or even foregoing Wells’ novel altogether but it was finally decided to use the source text much more closely than originally intended. Casting for the central role was also difficult with a number of actors including Whale favourites Boris Karloff and Colin Clive coming and going before an unknown English stage actor was given the part on the merit of a rather disastrous screen test. Claude Rains had just one Hollywood screen test, years before the film was made and it didn’t go particularly well. It was said that his acting was stiff but forced and the test lead nowhere. When James Whale was looking for an actor whose voice would be doing the acting though, Rains’ test screamed out to him and he was offered the part.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sons of the Desert

A colleague of mine, knowing about my love of Buster Keaton and especially Charlie Chaplin asked what I thought of Laurel and Hardy. I had to admit to him that I’d never actually seen one of their films and he helped to rectify that by lending my Sons of the Desert, a film which he told me was one of their most accessible. Laurel and Hardy make a pledge that they will go to the Sons of the Desert Convention in Chicago but have trouble convincing their wives to let them go. After sweet talking fails to work they resort to deception but trouble is waiting for them when they get back home.

For my first Laurel and Hardy film I was mildly impressed but not left with an urge to see more of their work straight away. I enjoyed the story and the characters are great but I didn’t laugh that much. Rather, I had a satisfied smile on my face which only broke into laughter on a couple of occasions. The naughty little boy act was quite fun and Oliver Hardy’s looks to camera were something that seemed familiar to me despite never seeing one of his films before.