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  • Before viewing this 1960 drive-in hit, keep in mind that it is not really a serious attempt at science fiction. Many critics and viewers have panned this movie because they expected some sort of INVISIBLE MAN-style plot with good acting and plenty of special effects. But if it was high-quality cinema they were looking for, then why in the hell did they choose to watch a movie with a title like "THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN"?

    Viewers with no expectations, a good sense of humor, and an open mind will probably enjoy this bizarre little sci-fi romp. The whole mad scientist/escaped prisoner/invisible Nazi story is beyond befuddling, but it is so unbelievably far-fetched that you'll be entertained anyway.

    THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN does a nice job at not dawdling on boring fake science jargon (a shortcoming that most sci-fi yarns of this era suffer from) and somehow manages to dole out one outrageous scene after another during its unusually short running time. Within the course of 58 minutes, you will witness invisible fist fights, invisible robberies, atomic blasts, jailbreaks, in-your-face anti-nuclear-weaponry overtones, and a whole barrage of people stealing from and/or deceiving one another. Every single character either betrays or holds one another hostage at some point during the picture.

    If you're in the mood for something that is so goofy and so off-the-wall that it defies description, then I suggest you run out the VHS cut-out bin nearest you and pick up this movie. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
  • Why are people so down on this modest but enjoyable movie? Beats me. Joey Faust (what a name!), safecracker, is busted out of the pokey and made an offer - turn invisible and steal radium for a mad scientist/soldier planning on setting up an invisible army to conquer the world. Joey goes along with it but quickly decides to use his powers for what comes naturally - stealing lots of do re mi. This causes conflict as you can imagine, and then his invisibility goes on the fritz. Faust is played by Douglas Kennedy who played one of the cops in 'Invaders From Mars', the baddie is James Griffith who had a bit part in Kubrick's 'The Killing', and the movie was directed by Edward G. Ulmer who made the strange Lugosi/Karloff classic 'The Black Cat' back in the 1930s. 'The Amazing Transparent Man' won't change your life, but it's entertaining enough. Worth a look for fans of 1960s/60s b-grade thrillers.
  • Some aspects of Ulmer's Amazing Transparent Man are, in retrospect, pretty funny. James Griffith's poorly mimed fight with an invisible man, the occasional continuity disasters, and the infrequent technobabble are examples. This is not, however, quite funny enough or cheesy enough to have been good MST3K fodder. Underlying the mediocre special effects, the occasionally overblown dialog, and the uneven performances, the story line presents an interesting take on the invisible man theme.

    The heavy, played without much verve by James Griffith, is an ex-Nazi spy who looks and speaks like Mr. Rogers. His plan, involving all manners of extortion, involves forcing refugee German scientist (Ivan Triesault) to use radiation to turn an escaped convict safe-cracker (Douglas Kennedy) invisible. His goal is ostensibly to steal money and radioactive materials to further his experiments. In the role of his co-conspirator and femme fatale we find Marguerite Chapman.

    Chapman and Kennedy have some on-screen chemistry which is used to good advantage in the film, but Chapman's performance is below par. Kennedy does well in a role which used his experience well. Griffith's performance, given his credentials, is surprisingly poor. The ancient and experienced Triesault, the class of the acting talent in this film, steals the show to an extent, but is also the only really sympathetic character in the lot.

    The movie has a somewhat plodding pace at first, but the character development is good enough to draw the audience in. The Amazing Transparent Man is no action film, but once the action begins, it doesn't really let up until the nicely climactic end. Despite all of the bad press this film has received here on IMDb, this film really isn't a bomb, and I recommend it to sci-fi and low budget b movie buffs.
  • Extremely compact (57 minutes) yet entertaining story of ruthless safe-cracker (Kennedy), sprung from gaol by a demented former military agent (Griffith) and his cheap-wine associate (Chapman), forced to endure radiation experiments that make him invisible in order to steal guarded uranium deposits so Griffith can build an invisible army to take-over the world. Street-wise Kennedy decides to turn his transparency into an opportunity to pull a bank heist, but things go awry when the invisibility wears off mid-way through the crime.

    Griffith is an impeccably dressed, meek-looking but sadistic villain, keeping his associates subservient via various forms of duress, Chapman plays the life-of-crime broad, mistreated by Griffith (there's a great scene in which Griffith slaps her twice the second he calls "the dot on the i") seeing an opportunity to make it big with Kennedy's safe-cracking skills. Kennedy is the cornerstone, delivering an economical performance of a career criminal with no pride or patriotism, only a loyalty to his young daughter from whom he's forcibly estranged.

    You won't get much in your special effects on this budget, nevertheless it's not a bad variation on the "invisible man" theme like an "Outer Limits" or "Twilight Zone" episode with real exteriors and a capable and reasonably distinguished cast. Look out for craggy-faced Pat Cranshaw ("Old School") as an inept security guard in an early film role.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Bitter and crazed ex-military officer Paul Krenner (an excellent performance by James Griffith) forces kindly scientist Peter Ulof (a sturdy turn by Ivan Triesault) to create an invisibility process using radiation. They proceed to break volatile safe cracker Joey Faust (robustly played with venomous aplomb by Douglas Kennedy) out of jail so he can steal more radium, but things don't go according to plan. Director Edgar G. Ulmer, working from an engrossing script by Jack Lewis, relates the compelling story at a steady pace and maintains an appropriately serious tone throughout. Margueritte Chapman does well as greedy and treacherous moll Laura Matson. The bank robbery set piece is a lot of fun (Faust turns visible again in the middle of the gig!) and the thrilling conclusion ends with a literal explosive bang. Both Meredith M. Nicholson's sharp black and white cinematography and Darrell Calker's moody score give this picture a cool film noir-style atmosphere. The special effects are admittedly rough, but overall decent and acceptable. The tight 57 minute running time ensures that the movie never becomes dull or overstays its welcome. A neat little flick.
  • Ah, now this one gets a bad rap here, but it's too short to be tedious and too cute to be annoying. At 57 minutes, you've got a nice compact sci-fi film that won't tax your brain too much (unless you try thinking about the plot).

    Joey Faust gets busted from the barry hole by a dame, and gets taken to a farmhouse run by a mysterious and shifty ex-army guy who wants to use both Joey's lockpicking skills and a mad scientist's invisible ray gun to create an army of invisible men. That's good stuff right there.

    After turning a guinea pig invisible, Joey kind of eventually agrees to go for it, and I liked that the moment he turned invisible he started beating the shifty guy up. Joey's out for an invisible score but he finds one problem - the ray's effects don't last that long. What's a career criminal to do? Find redemption by rescuing the mad scientist's daughter?

    Never dull, full of banter and daft effects, punch ups and the mad scientist asking the audience a direct question I was too thick to understand, I really liked this little film. Loved the stock footage nuke blasts too!
  • funkyfry24 September 2002
    A prisoner is freed by people who want him to do a job for them -- he doesn't know what it is, just that he'll be "free", but he finds himself the subject of a weird experiment. He eventually turns "transparent" because of radiation treatments, and the guys who are doing it to him are Nazis out to conquer the world with an invisible army (?!!!?). They want him to use his transparency to rob military bases of plutonium for building their army, but he eventually goes back to his stock and trade -- bank robbery. When his floating bag finally attracts notice, he starts to flash in and out of visibility -- cool scene. Decent photography, tight direction redeem this seeming 5 day quickie.
  • The Amazing Transparent Man is very similar to The Invisible Man and one main difference with this movie is that involves the Atomic Age, radiation etc.

    A criminal who has escaped from prison is made invisible by a mad scientist and gets him to steal nuclear fuel to help with future experiments. Things go wrong when he robs a bank though as becomes visible and is also dying through radiation poisoning.

    This movie has some good special effects considering the low budget. Highlights include the "one man" fights.

    The cast includes Douglas Kennedy (The Land Unknown) and Marguerite Chapman (Flight To Mars).

    The Amazing Transparent Man is worth watching if you get the chance. A great way to spend just under an hour.

    Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
  • zardoz-1324 April 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Detour" director Edgar G. Ulmer's science-fiction, crime thriller "The Amazing Transparent Man" sounds like utter hokum with its sensational title. Predictably, most critics and viewers have displayed nothing less than contempt for this modest melodrama. Nevertheless, this low-budget but entertaining epic about an unscrupulous former military officer who blackmails a brilliant foreign scientist and a notorious safe-cracker so that he can create an invisible army to do his bidding qualifies as above-average. Edgar G. Ulmer spent his entire life helming low-budget features, but these low-budgets didn't hamper his cinematic vision. A sturdy cast headed by B-movie veterans Douglas Kennedy, Marguerite Chapman, and the ubiquitous James Griffith, imaginative dialogue by "A Yank in Vietnam" scenarist Jack Lewis, and solid production values make this speculative saga worth watching despite its bombastic title. No, "The Amazing Transparent Man" isn't a special effects extravaganza like "The Amazing Colossal Man," but the science fiction aspect isn't as overblown as in the aforementioned title. Basically, a European scientist has developed a process whereby a man can be made invisible and a former military man wants to appropriate it to create an army that will enable him to conquer the world. Indeed, this is an outlandish, far-fetched film, but at 57-minutes, Ulmer keeps it clicking with several twists and surprises. This is one of those films where the research yields successful result but complications set in when the man chosen to do the villain's bidding turns against him. "The Amazing Transparent Man" is essentially a laboratory experiment gone awry with an explosive finale.

    "The Amazing Transparent Man" opens with an inmate breaking out of prison. Although the tower sentries shine spotlights on him and loosen fusillades of machine gun fire, elusive Joey Faust (Douglas Kennedy of "Nora Prentiss") manages to escape. As he plunges into a nearby swamp, more guards pursue him with dogs straining at their leashes. Joey spots a convertible waiting for him on a bridge. Scrambling toward it, he climbs in and changes into a suit of evening clothes during the ride. Laura Matson (Marguerite Chapman of "Parachute Nurse") keeps mum about their destination. As they approach a roadblock, Joey pretends to be passed out. Laura convinces the policeman that her incapacitated husband indulged himself a little too much at a dinner party. She explains she has to drive because her husband's license has been suspended as a consequence of his drunk driving. The lenient cop figures they look harmless enough and allows them to pass. Later, after Laura has pulled off onto a dirt road, they cruise up to a ranch where a suspicious man with a Winchester repeating rifle, Julian (Boyd 'Red' Morgan of "5 Card Stud"), stands guard outside. Inside, Joey meets Major Paul Krenner (James Griffith of "Raintree County") who is juggling a piece of shrapnel in one hand. Not only do we learn that the piece of shrapnel is a keepsake, but it is also what drummed Krenner out of the military. All along Joey has been packing a snub-nosed revolver. Krenner asks Laura to leave them and the two men discuss business. Krenner explains he broke Joey out because Joey has acquired an enviable reputation in the underworld as a top-notch safe-cracker.

    Initially, Joey is incredibly abusive. "They must have dug that shrapnel out of your head," he growls. "I can't poke my nose through a bank door without getting my head blown off. Every newspaper in the country has got my picture" Krenner shrugs. "You're mean and bitter, Faust. You trust no one and hate everybody." Krenner adds, "You're just the kind of man I need and understand." Indeed,Krenner knows everything about Faust. "We're conducting experiments that require fissionable materials." Faust brandishes his revolver. "A man with a gun doesn't have to bargain." Afterward, Krenner informs Faust that Justin has him covered with a rifle. "You know what one of these bullets will do, son?" Justin asks. "It will rip out your spine and roll it up like a ball of string." Later, Krenner introduces Faust to his resident refugee scientist, Dr. Peter Ulof (Ivan Triesault of "Von Ryan's Express"), and they demonstrate that they can make a guinea pig appear transparent. Krenner needs radium, and he wants Faust to steal it from a government facility by breaking into the vault while he is invisible. Later, we learn Krenner wants to create an army of invisible soldiers and that Dr. Ulof is held against his will and compelled to carry out his experiments because Krenner holds his daughter hostage.

    Scenarist Jack Lewis has penned some memorable dialogue and nobody delivers a bad performance in this tightly paced thriller. Mind you, the special effects of our protagonist vanishing before our eyes pales by comparison with contemporary visual effects. Nevertheless, this stuff was pretty good for its day. There is even a nifty bit of foreshadowing about the finale that occurs early in the plot. "The Amazing Transparent Man" is a good little B-movie that people are ridiculing unfairly because it lacks a big-name cast.
  • A title like "The Amazing Transparent Man" does have you seriously wondering on how poor the movie you are about to watch will be - - for a start, he can't even achieve invisibility (only transparency), so what is 'amazing' about that?

    But the opening titles suggest you might get something a bit better than you were bracing yourself for. It's quite a good mood setting, with the music involving a cello grinding 4 repeating notes ominously. The other give away is that in the opening credits, the directors and producers names are shown in running-writing style - clearly both artists. And the opening prison escape bit is good, as well as the police checkpoint scene, and they involve some nicely framed external shots.

    In fact its all looking like this might be a surprisingly enjoyable film, until the escaped safe-cracking crim Faust (played by Douglas Kennedy) has his first real indoor talking scene. And then you realize that for some reason only known to him, Mr Kennedy plays Faust like some "John Wayne" cowboy. Why a safe cracker would also be a swaggering tough guy who looks like he is ready to say "Ok Pilgrim" is a constant annoyance which does tend to cripple the film.

    Anyway - - I don't think I'm giving much away to point out the early setup in the film when Krenner (the Bad Guy) says something like "Dr, make sure the radioactive material is kept away from the beam, or else we will all blow up", and then Dr Ulof repeating something similar back to Krenner five minutes later - - clearly, something is eventually going to go wrong along these lines much later in the film, and they really don't want you to miss it.

    The other annoying thing about this movie is how quickly the characters (Faust, Krenner, Dr Ulof, Laura (the bad guys girl), and Julian (the bad guys hired help)) seems to keep swapping alliances and personality, all as a result of some simple statement that would even make a daytime soap opera blush.(eg: a "But your son is dead" has Julian swapping sides without a thought that "Hey, maybe she is lying because I have a gun pointed at her?").

    So, the film is not too strong on the logic of how and why the characters act and respond. When combined with its over-earnestness, the final sentence uttered in the film, instead of being the deep and meaningful thought provoker the director and producer obviously intended, resulted in me chuckling for quite a while after the closing credits finished.

    Ultimately - The Amazing Transparent Man is better than its title suggests, but not something to recommend.
  • The notorious safecracker Joey Faust (Douglas Kennedy) escapes from the state prison and Laura Matson (Marguerite Chapman) drives the getaway car. They head to an isolated farm where the deranged Major Paul Krenner (James Griffith) has a laboratory. He has abducted the daughter of Dr. Peter Ulof (Ivan Triesault) to force the scientist to develop a technique to create an invisible army. Paul plans to sell the army for a large amount to any government and now he needs radium to proceed the research. Paul and his partners Laura and Julian (Red Morgan) force Joey to be submitted to the experimental treatment. Then he breaks in a facility and robs the radium. Joey convinces Laura to go with him to the city to heist the National Bank, but he is surprised by an unexpected side effect and becomes visible. What will happen to Joey Faust?

    "The Amazing Transparent Man" has an attractive art on the DVD cover. However the story is a cheesy rip-off "The Invisible Man". The characters are non-charismatic and the conclusion is awful. My vote is three,

    Title (Brazil): Not Available on DVD or Blu-Ray
  • Amazingly…short, maybe? With a running time of barely 55 minutes, this looks more like a random episode of "The Twilight Zone" rather than like a full Sci-Fi picture. Or amazingly wasted potential, perhaps? Naturally, the shortness of this movie also inflicts abrupt plot twists, insufficient character drawings and a forced climax. But probably, it just stands for amazingly good entertainment despite a truckload of shortcomings! With a man like Edgar G. Ulmer ("The Black Cat", "Bluebeard") sitting in the director's chair, it's at least certain that the movie you're about to see will be stylish and containing a handful of well-mounted suspense sequences. The basic premise has a mass of great ideas (that all begged for a more detailed elaboration, actually) and the fluently written dialogues allow all the players to give away stellar performances. Douglas Kennedy stars as a charismatic and eloquent safe-cracker with a very cool name (Joey Faust), running from prison with the help of a vicious ex-military officer who developed a bizarre plan to gain world power! Faust has to serve as a human guinea pig and, whist invisible through radiation, steal more uranium to investigate the possibilities of creating invisible armies. Don't you just LOVE these insane evil masterminds and their grotesque ideas? The wayward criminal he is, Faust doesn't simply follow these orders blindly. The special effects are weak and there's a lack of set pieces, yet it's a fun movie with a good pace. James Griffith portrays my favorite type of underdog-villain; distinguished and calm, but relentless and greedy when it comes to the crunch. Considering this is late 50's/early 60's Science Fiction, the movie ends with a mandatory philosophical debate. Warmly recommended, after all.
  • Another early black and white sci-fi film with some promise........at least in the beginning. Mad dictator "wanna be" springs bank robber from prison to use him in his plan for taking over the world with an invisible army. Sound outrageous? You bet! The sets are cheesy, the story is pretty stupid, the actors either overact or can't act at all, the ending is over the top.......these are all part of the elements that make low budget films fun to watch. Besides, it was directed by Edgar Ulmer, who did some fascinating work. But for some reason, this one is disagreeable.

    There are holes in the plot as big as Rhode Island and there is something very sleazy about all the actors, even though a couple of them are mainstays of "B" films, and in the case of Ivan Treisault, "A" list big productions ("Notorious", for example.)And there is that constant bickering........it seems that 75% of the dialogue is shouted. The special effects......well, I've seen worse, much worse, even though you can see the wires. We've seen wires in films before. So what is it that makes this little programmer unpleasant? It just doesn't seem to gel but I don't know why. Maybe it was that Wurlitzer organ in the middle of the living room! So catch it on MST3K with Mike and the 'bots.....without them, it is pretty damn dismal.
  • You have to grade on a curve with movies like this. At least a little bit. I'm sorry, this is not a mainstream Hollywood picture. This is an independent, low budget piece of fare for the Drive-Ins of 1959.

    Nothing on offer here but pure entertainment. At least, that is what the intent of the filmmakers is, in spite of some heavy-handed attempts to throw in an anti-nuclear message. But that seems no more than an afterthought, and not the main point. So, the question is, was I entertained by this movie?

    Yes. I sure was. It is certainly not a science fiction masterpiece. This is a fun, low-budget action potboiler which uses a science fiction gimmick to sell the movie. The acting is a bit over-the-top, but not inappropriately so. Ulmer is one of my favorite cult directors and he does workmanlike duty with what must have been very limited resources. One of the more enjoyable '50's Drive-In movie leftovers, and its 59 minutes (making it a TRUE B-movie, by the way) will fly by. Silly but enjoyable. If you must take your science fiction seriously, then stay away.
  • The Amazing Transparent Man has deep connections to the director's own experiences from his native country of Austria and the aftermath of what happened during World War II. The use of the names Faust, Krenner and Ulof have European connotations to represent Old, Middle, and New Germany as a metaphor. I thought that it was deep in the ideology of politics from Ulmer's point of view.
  • Griffith plays a sinister, ruthless villain, and Kennedy does well as an early example of an antihero. The movie is far better than the title and many of these pretentious reviews would have you believe. This film has the skeleton of an entertaining story, but characters change alliances and motivations far too quickly, with any explanation as to why happening off-screen or apparently not at all. I say grab you drink of choice and have fun with it. Take it too seriously and one would wonder why you wanted this in the first place. Unless you just wanted to write a pompous ass review on imdb.
  • Rainey-Dawn12 January 2016
    This film has nothing to do with Universal's 'The Invisible Man' film series. This is a completely different film with a completely different story. The only similarity is the idea of a scientist inventing invisibility and an invisible person - that's it.

    This film does not have the same quality as any of the Universal classics nor do I think this film is better BUT it is a pretty neat sci-fi that is worth watching if you like the idea of invisibility or older sci-fi films. It has it's own charm - it's just not as good as the classic Universal "Invisible" films.

    I liked this film: A 'mad' scientist invents invisibility and plans on using it to take over the world by creating a group of invisible zombies. A neat sci-fi idea that is fun to watch.

    5.5/10
  • Not as bad as I have read. It always surprises me how Ulmer managed to come up with different camera set-ups considering his budgets and time tables, allowing the editors to add some rhythm to the films he directed. The main problem with "The Amazing Transparent Man", in my opinion, is not Ulmer's direction. He was always resourceful even in the worst conditions, and signed quite a few good movies, as "People on Sunday", "The Strange Woman", "Strange Illusion", "The Black Cat", "The Naked Dawn", "Detour", "Ruthless" and my favorite, "Bluebeard". The problem is Jack Lewis' unfocused script, a too verbose tale about power madness, materialism, lust, raw evil and the danger of atomic experimentation. Everybody here can't stop talking, even when the running time is so short. Surely the script should have had 30 pages full of dialogues and more dialogues. Thankfully it is over fast.
  • Despite its shortcomings, "The Amazing Transparent Man" is smarter and better than most of the cheap sci-fi films you can find in your average movie bargain bin. It has an interesting premise, original characters and at just under an hour, it moves quickly so you won't be bored. There's some sci-fi mumbo jumbo to explain the invisibility, some pretty laughable special effects, but you can tell there was some effort put into this. The special effects aren't always awful either, I'd say most of the time they're passable. The ending is where the movie really shines, which is what makes up for the rough spots. If you're at all curious about this one or if you are a fan of these older quickie sci-fi flicks, this is one of the better ones. If you're not one of the connoisseurs though, I don't know if there's going to be anything here for you. (Dvd, September 20, 2012)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    *Spoiler/plot- 1959 The Amazing Transparent Man, Crazed ex-military officer has dreams of world domination. He forces unwilling nuclear scientist to do his orders. The scientist has developed a process for invisibility through atomic radiation. With this process, military man wants an invisible army and sell it to the highest bidder. They break out of prison a famous well-known safe-cracker. This crew make the criminal invisible so he can break into government's safes to collect more atomic unstable fissionable materials. The event take an unexpected turn. *Special stars- Very recognizable actor, Douglas Kennedy does very well in his role and safe-cracker & pushy mob boss on screen. James Griffith plays his usual slimy sneaky military guy here. Hansome female actor, Marguerite Chapman does well in her sensitive gangster moll role. *Theme- Family values and patriotic fervor will win against baddies. *Based on- ??? *Trivia/location/goofs- Film was shot in Texas. One of the two SF films directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, who did also 'Beyond the Time Barrier', a good film. *Emotion- The title claim "Amazing" is too much for what is essentially a thriller film about a criminal using an invisibility serum. Film's ending is great but somewhat unbelievable and a bit funny.
  • I'm afraid I can't condemn this film, nor recommend it as "so bad it's funny".

    In fact, despite impossibly silly moments throughout this undoubtedly cheaply made B-movie (the worst being the moment the scientist's daughter is at last let loose from a closet and we suddenly realize that the doctor could have gotten her out a long time before), the film actually has a couple of really important positive qualities. The first is the acting - the actors do a remarkable job with what is very clearly little or no preparation whatsoever. This is especially true of Douglas Kennedy as the criminal who is able to remind us through facial expressions alone that his deepest inner turmoil concerns a daughter he's never been allowed to see - a fact of his past mentioned only once, yet Kennedy keeps it fresh for us the whole movie long.

    The second is the writing. Clearly written "on the fly", the script manages some strong moments, like Faust's decision to return to the farm house for the final confrontation, as well as evoking some unpleasant political and historical issues - the development of the atomic bomb, obviously, but, more subtly, the tortuous pseudo-scientific "experiments" conducted at Nazi concentration camps (which the doctor confesses to having performed).

    All of this not only raises difficult questions for the viewer, but also remind us that the director once made a number of truly amazing films, most memorable being the virtuoso performance of "Black Cat". we'll never understand his failures, but we shouldn't let these make us forget his gifts.
  • Ulmer manages to take zero money, unknown actors, a script with more plot holes than swiss cheese and pull you in from the first 30 seconds. And keep you there. I know it seems over the top silly to those who cut their movie teeth on CGI, but the story and the moral are in there. It's also a good look into the mindset of a nation post WWII, in a Cold War. And into the thought process of an Austrian Jewish Refugee. Very simple little film, but kept my attention throughout and it will leave you with many questions swirling around inside. Many of these low budget filmmakers like Corman and Castle and Ulmer gave us much more than newer directors would think possible with precious few dollars. They are worth investing the time to watch their films and study their struggles to produce the best possible on a shoestring. A film does not need $200 million to tell a good story.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A determined(quietly deranged under the surface) Major Krenner(James Griffith)wishes to possess the ability to create an invisible army and enlists, through an arranged escape, notorious criminal Joey Faust(Douglas Kennedy)a thief and all-around bad hombre, to steal money from banks while completely unseen thanks to the genius of dying former Nazi scientist Dr. Peter Ulof(Ivan Triesault)(..the "former Nazi" part is more subtly mentioned in the screenplay never elaborating what country he worked for, but the horrifying description of what he did to his wife, through undetermined experiments, one can see who he represented considering the atrocities committed). Ulof's daughter is being held captive in a locked room and if he doesn't define his experimental invisible formula, which works through a peculiar use of radiation using a unique method regarding X-rays and how they can completely transform the body, then her safety is in danger. The Major uses those under his watch through various means..his gunsel, Julian(Boyd Morgan), believes Krenner knows the whereabouts of his son, supposedly held captive in Europe, Joey is an escaped con for whom can be sent back to prison(..dead, more than alive, since his body's worth 5 grand either way), and femme fatale Laura(Marguerite Chapman)who fears for her own life if she even decided to leave her employer. But, soon double-crosses will be attempted and we see that if one toys with radioactive material for use in corruptive schemes only bad can come from it. In this respect, director Edgar G Ulmer doesn't abandon his noir roots, for nearly every character has been(..or is) corrupt in one way or another. Major Krenner, wounded not only physically by war(..the shrapnel which ended his military career, Krenner habitually tosses around in his hand, quite a reminder of what ruined what could've been)but haunted by it psychologically as well. Faust, using the invisibility as a means to continue his profession without the restraints once holding him. Scientist Ulof, haunted by his shady alliances with a government whose atrocities committed against humanity exploded in his face with the murder of his wife by his own hands, and now forced, against his will, to continue experiments which could lead to a threat against the United States by outside forces thanks to his invisibility creation. And, Laura, a dame all too willing to stab her employer in the back for cold hard cash in an alliance with Faust. Blindly loyal Julian knows what his employer is up to in using the others for the benefits of invisibility, and is all too wiling to hold his shot gun pointedly at Faust and others who dare try to escape.

    Basically, this is Ulmer's take on THE INVISIBLE MAN, using the dangers of atomic energy as a type of lesson to preach against. When Faust is invisible, the other actors pretend he's there by mimicking his presence(..such as when he attacks Krenner) This particular film shows Faust, in and out of stages of invisibility, including one ingenious sequence where parts of him appear and disappear after he holds up a bank. Ulmer, seemingly always burdened with little budget to work with, has a precious few scenes where objects move by themselves. Ulmer counts on his cast to parlay to the viewer where Faust is..not an easy task, but I give the cast credit for giving it the ole college try. But, in my opinion, this is more of a noir cheapie with sci-fi undertones..a mad scientist B-movie regarding the dangers of tampering with science for our own personal gain. I know Ulmer often gets a bum wrap for making no-budget films which show the lack of funds he had available to him, but I like the idea of a cross between the mad-scientist and noir sub-genres. I like the fact that this motley group is doomed right from the start because when you have untrustworthy types, with their own greedy agendas, and a dangerous weapon(..in this case invisibility and the tools used to create it)only bad can come from such an enterprise.
  • Given the total low-budget look of the film, the indifferent performances of the entire cast, the lack of credibility from scene to scene, and the overall amateurishness of acting and direction, it's merciful that this film directed by Edward G. Ulmer is only 58 minutes.

    DOUGLAS KENNEDY (looking a bit flabby and tired) is the lead, a man who has just escaped from prison and has a girlfriend (MARGUERITE CHAPMAN) waiting just outside for a quick getaway. After that, all plausibility is over, as she takes him to the home of a mad Army Major who is housing a scientist able to make objects invisible.

    The wounded Major seeks some sort of revenge for his wounds and envisions an army of invisible men, but Kennedy advances another idea--a bank robbery with him stealing into the vault while invisible. Reluctantly, the doctor agrees to the plan--but the plot takes a few twists when things don't go as smoothly as planned.

    No one in the film gives a performance worth remembering, and the mad scientist played by IVAN TRIESAULT is worst of all in a key role. In one crucial scene he appears to be reading his dialog off cue cards as he recites the ingredients of his experiment.

    To say DOUGLAS KENNEDY is wooden is to be charitable. The same can be said for Miss Chapman who has absolutely no chemistry with the leading man.

    All of it looks like it was put together in five days with some very primitive special effects. Considering that Edward G. Ulmer did direct some very successful scary films at Universal, this is nothing less than a disaster.
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