*. How do you evaluate a director like Edgar G. Ulmer? As an immigrant Roger Corman, perhaps? His films were hamstrung by poor material, ultra-tight production schedules, and almost no resources (that is, money or talent). Should we just be amazed that he made any movies still worth watching? Or should we consider each film in his oeuvre as the work of a grade-Z auteur?
*. I honestly don’t know. I think this is a pretty worthless little film, but I don’t see how it could have been otherwise. And it is still, at least, watchable.
*. I don’t find anything memorable about the direction. The script though is kind of funny. It takes . . . something . . . to give your main character a name like “Joey Faust.” Or to have lines like: “Honey, right now I need a car more than I need you.” Or: “You’re bitter, Faust — mean and bitter. You trust no one, and you hate everyone. You’re just the man I need and understand.” Or: “You know what one of these bullets will do. Rip out your spine and roll it up like a ball of string.”
*. I do like locating the scientist’s lab in the attic. Especially an attic with corrugated metal ceilings. It makes a nice change from the usual basement setting.
*. The idea that the invisible man can just carry whatever he’s stealing out of the bank vaults without being noticed is a bit odd. It’s a good thing the security guard suspected there was something not quite right about a bag of money floating out the door!
*. The Major’s plot sounds dodgy to me. What is his army of invisible warriors going to do? And why is the Major so damn cheap when it comes to funding scientific research? Considering how he’s playing for all the marbles he should pay the man. It’s like he’s trying to do global domination on the same microbudget Ulmer was making the movie on.
*. Nukes happen. Blowing up half the county and turning it into dust is regrettable, but judging from the remote nature of the villain’s farmhouse there may not have been much collateral damage. “It’s a serious problem,” Dr. Ulof tells us, looking straight at the camera. “What would you do?” A moral dilemma? A throwaway line? Be honest: did you even care? I registered with some surprise that he was talking to me.
*. From the movie poster: “WARNING! Joey Faust, escaped convict, THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN, has vowed to “appear” invisibly IN PERSON at every performance of this picture in this theatre. Police officers are expected to be present in force, but the management will not be responsible for any unusual or mysterious happenings while Faust is in the theatre.” Now that’s ad writing. And can you say that it didn’t happen?