AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)
The comedy team of Abbott and Costello starred in a series of films in which they meet up with characters from Universal Studios. The first was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948. I reviewed it for AWESOME-tober-fest back in 2009. That movie was a giant hit for Universal.
At the time, Universal was planning another straight forward sequel in the Invisible Man series (the last being The Invisible Man’s Revenge in 1948). However, due to the success of the comedy movie, they had their script rewritten to be another But and Lou comedy. This movie was Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man and it was released in 1951.
Unlike Meets Frankenstein, none of the original Invisible Man actors returned for this movie. Several different actors portrayed the Invisible Man in the Universal movies, but they didn’t get any of them to return. Especially not Claude Rains, the originator of the role as he’d become a huge Hollywood star by this point having starred in Casablanca, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Notorious.
This time the titular invisible man is a new character that benefits from the serum created in the original 1933 classic. And yes, there are some dropped lines here and there to connect this directly to that original movie. The invisibility serum is said to have been invented by Dr John Griffin. We even see a picture on the wall of Claude Rains, who portrayed Griffin in the original movie. So they at least tried to keep some continuity.
So, what did I think? It’s not bad. I had lowered expectations after my viewings of Meets Frankenstein, so that probably helped. Surprisingly the invisible effects aren’t bad, but they are much more gimmicky than the 1933 original. They work, but you can pretty much tell how they work. Part of this may be because many of the effects are recycled from previous invisible man movies. Even going as far as re-using footage and reversing it.
It’s a shame, because I’m a fan of Bud and Lou in their skits and TV shows. I still regularly rewatch skits like Who’s on First? on YouTube because they are GREAT. As a matter of fact, I just stopped writing this article to go watch it again. SO. GOOD. But I’m just not digging the movies I’ve seen of theirs. It’s sort of the same issue I have with The Three Stooges. I love the shorts, but I just can’t get into their movies.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.