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A. Edward Sutherland
Virginia Bruce, John Barrymore, John Howard
Writing Credits:
Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo, Gertrude Purcell

An attractive model with an ulterior motive volunteers as guinea pig for an invisibility machine.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 81 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 8/28/18
Available As Part of the “Invisible Man Complete Legacy Collection”

• None


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The Invisible Woman [Blu-Ray] (1940)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 4, 2018)

Though it took seven years for 1933’s The Invisible Man to spawn a sequel, audiences didn’t wait long for a third chapter. After The Invisible Man Returns debuted in early 1940, The Invisible Woman hit screens at the very end of the year.

Professor Gibbs (John Barrymore) invents an invisibility machine, and he places an advertisement to recruit a test subject. He gets a reply from Kitty Carroll (Virginia Bruce), a fashion model.

Kitty doesn’t agree to go translucent in the interest of science, though. Instead, she wants to settle various scores and figures she can do so more easily in her invisible state.

Technically, I shouldn’t call Woman a “sequel” to the two prior Invisible Man films. Returns shared elements with the original film, but Woman exists in a universe all of its own, with no link to its siblings other than the concept of invisibility.

The movie certainly doesn’t play like a relation to the prior flicks, as from its opening scene of slapstick, it becomes clear that Woman will land firmly on the comedic side of the street. Of course, the original Invisible Man included humorous moments as well, but it mainly provided a dark horror tale.

That doesn’t occur here, as Woman never even vaguely attempts scares. Instead, it becomes much more of a romantic comedy, with a wholly trite – even for its era – connection between Gibbs’ playboy patron Richard Russell (John Howard) thrown into the mix.

Why does it force this “meet cute” relationship down our throats? I guess because Universal assumed the female viewers wanted it – and maybe they did.

The first two movies included romantic subplots as well, but those seemed more organic. In Woman, it feels like we find a relationship between Kitty and Russell solely because that’s what the script dictated.

It doesn’t help that virtually all of the characters seem like terrible people, so they do little to gain our affection or sympathy. Even Professor Gibbs treats his housekeeper rudely, so there’s no one here for the audience to embrace.

Given that Woman eventually wants us to latch onto the romance, that’s an issue, one of many in this misbegotten tale. Silly, sexist and pointless, Woman flops.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C+/ Bonus F

The Invisible Woman appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was one of the weaker Universal monster transfers, but it still looked pretty good.

Sharpness was usually fine, but some variation occurred. This meant more than a few slightly soft shots, though these didn’t become a real issue.

No concerns with jagged edges or moiré effects emerged, and I saw no edge haloes or digital noise reduction. A few small print flaws appeared, but nothing substantial occurred.

Blacks looked fairly deep and dark, while shadows were adequate. Low-light shots could be a bit dense, but that wasn’t a concern. In the end, this was a satisfactory but not great image.

Expect an average DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack from Woman. Speech tended to be a little brittle and reedy, but the lines remained intelligible.

Neither music nor effects offered much range, as those elements seemed somewhat thin and flat. A little distortion came through at times, too. Nothing here seemed really problematic, but the track failed to do much above average for its era.

The Blu-ray includes no extras of any kind.

An odd form of sequel that bears no connection to its predecessors, The Invisible Woman goes nowhere. More a romantic comedy than a horror tale, the movie lacks compelling characters and fizzles. The Blu-ray brings adequate picture and audio but it lacks supplements. Leave this one for Universal horror completists.

As of fall 2018, Invisible Woman can’t be purchased on its own. It can be found as part of a six-film “Invisible Man Complete Legacy Collection”. In addition to Woman, we find The Invisible Man, The Invisible Man Returns, Invisible Agent, The Invisible Man’s Revenge, and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man.

In addition, Woman comes in the “Universal Monsters Complete 30-Film Collection”. It actually packages the Frankenstein set mentioned above with similar compilations for six other Universal Monsters.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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