Psychotronic Ketchup & Rixflix A to Z: The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer // AIP ; 0:57; b/w
Crew Notables: Jack P. Pierce (makeup)
Cast Notables: Marguerite Chapman, Douglas Kennedy, James Griffith, Ivan Triesault, Boyd "Red" Morgan, Carmel Daniel
Cinema 4 Rating: 3

I so wanted to love this movie when I first heard about it. It's Edgar G. Ulmer, stylish director of The Black Cat from 1934, a favorite Karloff-Lugosi film of mine, and also the sublime noir Detour. Even his lesser films tend to have something about them that makes them worthwhile viewing. And look at that poster on the right. Doesn't it make you want to see that film? So, what happened here?

Is it a half-rendered script, with bad characterizations and motivations, that is chiefly to blame? I am fine with the mad science bent of the story -- after all, it seems you can't produce invisibility without it -- but don't threaten the world with invisible zombies without coming through at least partially on the threat. The "hero", an escaped convict who has been set up as a guinea pig for the experiments, is completely unlikable, and does not offer up any compelling reason why we should care about his plight, especially given that his main concern is using his newfound powers to rob a bank. If he is supposed to come off as an anti-hero, well, he really comes off as a scheming asshole from the get-go. The thankful part is that the film plays for less than an hour... whew! But it's just long enough to have to endure some rather rickety invisibility effects, though it is fun in the moments when he becomes partially visible, even if its only a dopey plot device at work.

Again, I have this film on one of those public domain 50 Sci-Fi Classics collections, though I had seen it years before. So, I'm not complaining much about it, but in the end, this one is purely a case of "Cool Poster, Lame Result". Normally, even a bad movie can garner a much longer, pissed off review, but even this natural impulse of mine has been seemingly put to sleep by this film. Call it my "Amazing Disappearing Ability to Give A Shit..."


EggOfTheDead said…
Coincidentally, I just watched The Black Cat. Though it was certainly stylish, it didn't grab me. Something about that ultra-modern mansion Karloff had detracted from the spook factor. The acting was fantastic, and the way Karloff leched after the heroine gave me the heebie-jeebies. It was also nice to see Lugosi in a role that allowed him to display some range, especially the verbal play for the heroine's life over a chess game.

To be fair, everything I see this week is through a haze of pain and a thin coating of phlegm over my left eye (conjunctivitis!)

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