Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Invisible Man (1933) - Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection – Universal Pictures (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1933
Director: James Whale
Cast: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan, Henry Travers, Una O'Connor, Forrester Harvey, Holmes Herbert, E.E. Clive, Dudley Digges, Harry Stubbs, Donald Stuart, Merle Tottenham

Release Date: October 5th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 71 Minutes 33 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 Aspect Ratio / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono French, DTS-HD Mono Spanish (Castilian), DTS-HD Mono German, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish, Japanese, German, Dutch, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese (English Version)
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $79.99 (Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection)

" Covered by bandages and dark glasses, the scientist arrives at a small English village and attempts to hide his amazing discovery. He soon discovers, however, that the same drug which renders him invisible is slowly driving him insane and capable of committing unspeakable acts of terror." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

The Invisible Man (1933) comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD. 

Disc Size: 56.7 GB

Feature: 49.8 GB

When Universal Pictures released The Invisible Man (1933) on Blu-ray in 2012 for Universal Pictures 100th anniversary. The source used for that transfer looked fantastic. For this new release Universal uses that transfer as its source.

For a eighty-eight year old film The Invisible Man (1933) the source used for this transfer looks exceptionally good. Contrast, black levels and image clarity look solid throughout. I did not see any compression related issues and there are no issues related to noise reduction, this transfer retains an organic look. That said, when optical effects occur the image does not look as crisp.

Audio: 4.5/5

The Invisible Man (1933) comes with five audio options, a DTS-HD mono mix in English, a DTS-HD mono mix in French, a DTS-HD mono mix in Spanish (Castilian), a DTS-HD mono mix in Dutch and a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian. For this review I listened to the DTS-HD mono English track. There are no issues with distortion or background hiss, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and ambient sounds/the score are well-represented. That said, for a film that’s ninety-years old, this audio track sounds excellent. The English version comes with thirteen subtitles options, English SDH, French, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish, Japanese, German, Dutch, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Chinese.

Extras:

Extras for The Invisible Man (1933) include an image gallery with music from the film playing in the background titled Production Photographs (posters/lobby cards/stills), a trailer gallery: The Invisible Man Returns (2 minute 5 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Chinese subtitles), Invisible Agent (1 minute 43 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Chinese subtitles) and Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man (1 minute 57 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Chinese subtitles), a featurette titled 100 Years of Universal: Unforgettable Characters (8 minutes 19 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Chinese subtitles), a featurette titled Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed (35 minutes 19 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English SDH, French, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, Dutch, Chinese subtitles) and an audio commentary with film historian Rudy Behlmer.

Included with this release is a Blu-ray that has all the content on the 4K UHD except Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man trailer. Also, the Blu-ray only comes with two audio options, DTS-HD mono English and DTS-HD mono French. There are only two subtitles options, English SDH and French.

Also, the Blu-ray is the same as Universal’s 2012 Blu-ray.

The Invisible Man (1933) is part of Universal Classic Monsters: Icons of Horror Collection, a box set that also has Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931) and The Wolf Man (1941).

Summary:

Though billed as one of Universal’s classic monster movies. Content wise, The Invisible Man (1933) is more a Science Fiction film than it is a horror film. That said, when it comes to the protagonist he embodies many traits that are similar to Universal’s other monsters.

By the time James Whale directed The Invisible Man (1933), he had firmly established himself as Universal’s premier horror director. Having directed at that point Frankenstein (1931) and The Old Dark House (1932).

Where Universal's earlier monster films had monsters who menaced with their piercing glances or were imposing in size. The Invisible Man (1933) had a protagonist who spends most of the film unseen. And though having a monster that cannot be seen would present some challenges. This is all but forgotten the moment you hear Claude Rains’ voice.

From its opening moments James Whale’s superb direction creates a world that’s utterly tangible. Also, the way in which he introduces the protagonist perfectly lays the foundation for what follows.

When discussing The Invisible Man (1933) it's hard to look past Claude Rains’ contributions to the film. Where most films allow an actor’s mannerisms to shine. With his performance The Invisible Man (1933), he had only his voice to rely on. And he gives what is arguably one of cinema’s most memorable performances.

From a production standpoint, The Invisible Man (1933) is an impressive film that is still a marvel to behold today. The premise is superbly realized and a well-executed narrative does a great job building tension. Another area where The Invisible Man (1933) excels is its use of humor, most notably the protagonist's interactions with the wife of the owner of the inn where he’s staying. Also, though special effects have improved a lot since 1933, the special effects actually hold up extremely well. Ultimately, The Invisible Man (1933) is an extraordinary film that is just as potent today as when it was originally released.

James Whale’s The Invisible Man gets a solid 4K upgrade, highly recommended.

                                                      4K UHD screenshots.












Written by Michael Den Boer

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