The Invisible Man Appears (1949)

“There is no good or evil in science, but it can be used for good or evil purposes.”

Five years before he did the effects for Godzilla, Eiji Tsuburaya worked on this film, one of the earliest science fiction movies to be made in Japan. Much in the same way that Toho continued the Hammer look in movies like Lake of Dracula, this movie continues the look and feel of the Universal Invisible Man films.

Shunji Kurokawa and Kyosuke Sugi were both working under Professor Kenzo Nakazato to figure out a way to make objects invisible. The two became rivals and the professor said that he would reward whoever came up with the solution; the guys think that it may be for the right to marry their mentor’s daughter Machiko.

Nakazato, however, has had an invisibility serum for a decade, but couldn’t find anyone willing to test it. As if that wasn’t a big enough plot twist, diamond thief Ichiro Kawabe has kidnapped the professor and will only release him if someone steals the Amour Teams, a diamond necklace, for him. Kurokawa comes to his senpai’s aid and ingests the formula, which soon makes him mad with anger. Things get much worse when he catches his rival proposing to the woman they both love.

The madness that overtakes the Invisible Man — who hides in bandages just like Claude Rains (and later Vincent Price) — he continually tries to steal the necklace and even strangles Machiko when she gives them to him, yelling that if she can’t be his, he would rather she be dead. He soon learns that there is no cure for his invisibility and the ensuing mania, which ends with him battling the police in a battle that he cannot win.

I didn’t even know these movies existed until Arrow announced them as their March 2021 releases. Now that I have them, I’m beyond excited by them. Both of the Japanese Invisible Man films feature new transfers and English subtitles and look great for the roughness of the original materials that were available.

This is a piece of film history that you can own now. It’s definitely recommended.

You can get this with The Invisible Man vs. the Human Fly on a new double blu ray from Arrow Video.

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