Invisible Agent (31-Jul-1942)|
Director: Edwin L. Marin
Writer: Curt Siodmak
From novel by: H. G. Wells
Keywords: Thriller, Comedy, WWII, Espionage, Invisibility
|J. Edward Bromberg
||The Mark of Zorro
||Two Dollar Bettor
||The Maltese Falcon
||Charlie Chan's No. 1 Son, Lee
||Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
Review by Commando Cody (posted on 24-Dec-2008)
Frank Raymond (Jon Hall), grandson of the original Invisible Man, still has the old family formula but won't allow anyone to use it, even though World War II is looming on the horizon. After an unfriendly visit by Axis agents (Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Peter Lorre) and the attack on Pearl Harbor, Raymond changes his mind. He offers the Allies the invisibility formula but insists that no one uses it but him. After all, the drug is dangerous but it's never really explained under the circumstances why. Allied Command somehow agrees to go along with this idiotic idea. Apparently, it never occurred to them that something might happen to Raymond. If so, what would become of the drug?
Raymond becomes a phantom commando with a swift foot for Nazi rears. He parachutes into Germany (an amusing scene) and is supposed to meet with a couple of agents and steal vital information. Instead, Raymond wastes time wooing the beautiful German double agent he's assigned to work with (Ilona Massey) and playing puerile pranks on an overweight Nazi with an undersized brain. Ultimately, Raymond saves the day by thwarting a far-fetched plot to attack New York.
Despite its faults, this was probably just the ticket for uplifting the morale of American audiences during the dark, early days of WWII. Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Peter Lorre steal the movie as a Gestapo official and Japanese spymaster, respectively. Their performances are much better than this lighthearted film deserves. I laughed most over Raymond's confrontation with and escape from Hardwicke and his mindless minions at Gestapo headquarters. Still, it bothered me that Ms Massey's character wasn't selected to become to become the Invisible Agent (over Raymondís objections). She was well placed, well trained as a spy, and highly motivated. She knew the right people with access to the right information, and demonstrated cool under fire. Most important of all, she was a lot smarter than Raymond. If she was invisible, I'm sure the war in Europe would have ended much sooner!
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