26 January 2003 | CommandoCody
The Wrong Agent Was Invisible
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 comes to his senses. He offers the Allies the use of the formula but insists that no one uses it but him. After all, the drug is dangerous but it's never really explained why. Allied Command somehow agrees to go along with this dumb idea. Apparently, it never occurred to them that something might happen to Raymond. If so, what would then become of the drug?
Raymond becomes a phantom commando with a heavy boot for Nazi rears. He parachutes into Germany (an amusing scene). He's supposed to meet with a couple of people and steal vital information. Instead, Raymond spends 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 in dark, early days of the war. 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. She was well placed, well trained as a spy, and highly motivated. She knew all the right people, who had 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!