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Invisible Agent (1942)

 
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:51 am    Post subject: Invisible Agent (1942) Reply with quote



Third film in "The Invisible Man" series from Universal. Jon Hall stars as the son of Jack Griffin, the original invisible man, in this lighthearted morale-booster for the war effort. Hall uses his father's formula to help America battle the Axis forces.

The invisibility formula still causes eventual madness, but certain nations of the world want to use it to unleash invisible armies on their enemies. Secret agents Peter Lorre and Sir Cedric Hardwicke keep the hero on his toes (and steal the show).

Also starring Keye Luke and Ilona Massey (as the slinky girl from Berlin). The plot successfully combines elements of the thriller, melodrama, and farce.

Good special effects by John P. Fulton, as usual. Screenplay by Curt Siodmak, who also wrote "The Invisible Man Returns", "Donovan's Brain" and many others. Directed by Edward L. Marin. Music is credited to Hans Salter. The series ended ingloriously with "The Invisible Man's Revenge", also starring Hall, but not as the same character.

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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess that using an Invisible Man was the only way for Universal to go in battling Nazis as compared to their other classic monsters.

Frankenstein monster might have worked if he figured out exactly just who were the bad guys. He would need direction by the good guys.

Count Dracula was pure evil so he would not have cared either way. He'd kill a Nazi alright but then could turn around & kill an Allied Soldier.

Same for the Mummy.

My personal fav, the Wolf Man, would attack anything. So he's no help.

Dr. Jekyll "might" be persuaded to try & have Mr. Hyde do good for once by going after the enemy. Not sure how that's work out.

Like to have seen a sequel to Invisible Agent.

Invisible Woman Agent?
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I like the way you think, sir.

A platoon of hideous-but-courageous freedom fighters battling the truly evil Nazis is a great idea. I'd love to write the script for that one.

I especially liked the way you addressed the possibility of getting these bad boys to volunteer for combat, instead of just a mind control method that the military leaders employed to "weaponize" the monsters.

A team of monsters, working together, would be the way to go with this idea. Very Happy

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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DC Comics had a series called Creature Commandos that had some of these classic monsters battling the Nazis during WWII!

Tremendous potential here for a live action film, eh?
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

____________________________________

Wow, that does look like fun! Those soldiers of the "Master Race" seem to be rethinking their philosophy concerning the superiority of their race.
Very Happy



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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Enjoy this wonderful trailer or what seems to be a pretty exciting movie.
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__________________ Invisible Agent - Trailer


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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Early title for this movie was The Invisible Spy.

~ Glad they went with Invisible Agent.

The film was released on July 3, 1942 and ran for 79-minutes. Budget: 322,291.

"By 1942, the United States had entered into World War Two leading studios to now produce movies that replaced the cynicism of the 1930s with flag waving of the 1940s.

This led to a combination of horror and propaganda which some felt was an uncomfortable hybrid." Wikipedia.

It could indeed be an awkward mixture. However, it was the motion picture studios attempt to rally the country & raise the morale. These films were usually pretty rushed in production and had average-to-low budgets. So all & all, they probably did the best under the difficult circumstances of a country at war.

King of the Zombies, Black Dragons, and Revenge of the Zombies were films which had the requisite mad scientist working for the Nazis.

~ The film serials did this too, such as Batman who fought a nefarious Japanese mastermind working for Japan.

Special effects artist John P. Fulton furnished the marvelous visuals for the film. They were nominated for an Academy Award for Best FX but lost to Reap the Wild Wind.

"Maddeningly uneven, but fast-moving and entertaining package." Tom Weaver

~ Tom says it all.

"Strangely enough the allied forces gathered military brass all think it's a splendid idea to let this untrained print shop owner to parachute into Nazi territory, take a drug known to turn individuals into power-mad lunatics and locate vital information regarding a German air raid on America." Scifist 2.0

~ Well if you're gonna get picky about the plot . . .
Yeah, it is not at all believable that the best & the brightest political & military minds would ever approve of such a reckless mission.

"Sometimes a passionate man is better than a trained one," states one of the military men, which sort of goes against everything the army teaches. Scifist 2.0.

~ Easy peezy fix here, I'd have scripted it so that our hero is a military officer working in special ops thus making him totally qualified for this assignment.

~ Furthermore, it could be revealed that the invisible formula had been perfected so as not to drive anyone insane at all.

I realize that having the agent going insane while on his daring mission can add a certain suspense & excitement for the film. However, given that the movie is coming in at 79-minutes, do we really have the time to adequately delve into this plot point? Nah, not really.

~ Reviewers point out that the Nazis in Invisible Agent are of the caliber of the ones we saw on Hogan's Heroes each week. Yes they were, and the production could have presented these Nazis in the film as competent, since they did a fine job of showing them as evil & ruthless. Seeing the Invisible Agent overcome bumbling incompetents hardly makes us admire his courage and abilities.

Ilona Massey said in a 1971 interview that she disliked making this film so much that she could scarcely recall what it was about or her role in it.

I do like this film, but it definitely could have been done better from the scripting department and without increasing its budget.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2021 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
~ Reviewers point out that the Nazis in Invisible Agent are of the caliber of the ones we saw on Hogan's Heroes each week. Yes they were, and the production could have presented these Nazis in the film as competent, since they did a fine job of showing them as evil & ruthless. Seeing the Invisible Agent overcome bumbling incompetents hardly makes us admire his courage and abilities.

In some films, Hollywood was making the Nazis and Japanese look incompetent as a way of boosting the nations morale. They were cinematic pep rallies that said, in effect, "Ah, don't worry, folks! We'll beat these guys. Look how dumb they are!"

I admire the pride and resolve that America had in those days. It's certainly a different attitude than the shameful one so many people have today . . . Sad

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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2022 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Wiki: Universal Monsters:

Reportedly a scene had been edited out where our hero placed his boot into Hitler's backside. This was added to the movie as a response to an official ban on all such images.
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Sidebar: I'm assuming it was Germany that decreed such a ban.

One trouble with doing such a scene — if this story is true — is how closely the actor portraying Hitler resembles the dictator. If they picked an actor that really doesn't have a strong resemblance to Hitler, then the scene falls flat.

Kind of like a joke that bombs.

Some might suggest that such a scene also can take the audience mentally and emotional out of the picture. It is just to wild and unbelievable humorous as it may be.

Could well be. However, these pictures were as much propaganda morale boosting efforts as they were entertaining science fiction adventure war movies.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2022 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
. . . these pictures were as much propaganda morale boosting efforts as they were entertaining science fiction adventure war movies.

This is true — and anybody who criticizes such moral-building efforts during these dark days is simply a clueless child of our modern, pampered culture!

Many Americans today pay little attention to the sacrifices our troops make by fighting the enemies of our country. As a veteran who served four years in the Air Force while stationed in South Korea and German, guarding aircraft on the lightline, it shames me to realize that the patriotism of today's citizens pales in comparison to those of the people who endured the horrors of World War II.

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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


Last edited by Bud Brewster on Tue Jun 14, 2022 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2022 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Universal Studios MONSTERS: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory.

The fact that the opening credits for Invisible Agent feature a special title card for John P. Fulton is an indication as to whom Universal was considering to be the major contributor to the series' success.

The invisibility effects by Fulton took another leap in sophistication, this time showing Griffin partially reveal himself on camera by painting his face with cold cream.

However, for the scene of Griffin lifting Maria up in the air, an old-fashioned harness and wires were used, to the great indignation of Ilona Massey.

But it is Peter Lorrre, making his only Universal Horror appearance, who steals every scene he is in.

A publicity still for the movie has transparent spy Frank Griffin Jr. confronting Axis spy Conrad Stauffer (Cedric Hardwicke). The see-through silhouette in the chair for Griffin in the tricked-up publicity still is not actor Jon Hall; ironically, it's Vincent Price.

Universal invested a comparatively high budget in Invisible Agent---about $320,000 — but it paid off, earning more than $1 million worldwide.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2022 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Nitpicks:

Anyone here really think that once America went to war that the U.S. government & military would leave print shop owner Frank Raymond a.k.a. Frank Griffin, whose grandfather, Frank Sr., developed the invisibility formula, all alone?

Yeah, me neither

Look at the miniature model of the airplane that Frank is flying in on his way to be dropped off via parachute on his mission. All the windows are opaque! Yet inside the plane we see they are clear normal looking windows.

Frank injects himself with the serum just before he jumps from the plane, then becomes invisible as he descends to the ground. As he's coming down he proceeds to remove his clothing. Wouldn't that be a difficult task while you're harnessed into your chute? And darn cold up there so high.

Frank lands on the roof of a barn, then breaks a window on it in order to crawl into an upper loft. He didn't have any tool to break the window, so was the window that fragile that he could easily bust it with his bare hands or feet? Wouldn't he get cut? How about once he crawled into the loft with all the broken glass laying about, he could get cut then.

Frank contacts double agent Baroness Maria Sorenson once on the ground. She's entertaining a Nazi officer named Karl Heiser for dinner where she hopes to have him blab about important military secrets. Frank sabotages the dinner by playing pranks on Heiser such as taking food off of his plate, spilling a champagne bucket on him, and finally tipping an entire table with food on it onto Heiser.

This interrupts Heiser from revealing vital intelligence, and in a rage, Heiser places Maria under guard. So how swift was that of Frank? He halted Heiser from talking and managed to get Maria confined to her home.

Then the brilliant Frank decides to (somewhat) show Maria what he looks like. He dons a bathrobe and places cold cream on his face and hands and wears sunglasses. Maria is all for it. Frank, Maria, don't you recall that Heiser placed several guards outside of Maria's home during this time. Not really the best time to make an appearance when any of the guards could come barging in. And Maria is a trained agent!

Frank goes to Nazi officer Conrad Stauffer's office in order to obtain a book he has that has the list of all German-Japanese spies in America. Three guards are placed outside the office door. Frank's clever plan has him simply walk past them, invisible of course, open and close the door. Frank doesn't think to attempt some kind of distraction for the guards, or wait and walk in behind someone going into the office. Nope, again, the Invisible Agent is about as cunning as Gomer Pyle

Maria & Frank escape by stealing a big ole' German plane. This giant thing barely rolls down the airstrip before lifting up into the air for flight! This bird barely needed an airstrip for takeoff!

Frank also learns about a planned Nazi airplane attack on New York. Never mind the fact that none of the participants in World War II had planes that could cross the ocean without refueling.

It's still a fun picture to watch. However, I wish the scripting could have been much better thought out than it was.
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