Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

08/13/2015 19:08

Film: Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

Year: 1951

Director: Charles Lamont

Writer: Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo and John Grant

Starring: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Nancy Guild



This film begins at a detective school graduation. We meet our stars Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Abbott has graduated and there is a joke cracked that Costello is graduating, because the school was paid off to get him out. They get a job together at a local agency.

They get the nightshift and their first job comes through their door. The man who comes in is played by Arthur Franz. There is a news bulletin about a man escaping from jail and the description matches Franz. Costello catches on, but Abbott does not think it could be. Franz asks them to take him to an address.

They all arrive there and Franz goes upstairs, while Abbott and Costello stay downstairs. Franz meets his girlfriend, played by Nancy Guild, and a doctor friend, played by Gavin Muir. At this point it brings up the original ‘The Invisible Man’ film where they claim that Muir was given the serum which made that man invisible. He shows that it works on a guinea pig. Franz asks him to inject him with it so he can clear his name, as he is accused of killing his manager. Muir tells him that there is no agent to return him to being seen and the serum drives those that use it crazy.

While they are talking, another bulletin comes over the television and Abbott realizes that it really is Franz. He wants to turn him in for the reward and as they are talking, the police arrive. They are led by William Frawley. Guild and Muir leave Franz alone to get the police to leave. Franz injects himself with the serum.

He goes downstairs and Abbott tells him they will hide him. Abbott locks Costello and Franz in a room together and the serum begins to work, Franz is now invisible. Abbott brings the cops to the room and they open it to find Costello alone and a pile of clothes. Frawley wants to take Costello to the police shrink, believing he is crazy. We get a funny scene as well where Abbott is accused by Franz for double crossing him and hitting him. Abbott accuses Costello of doing it.

We then get a funny scene of Costello driving the police shrink, played by Paul Maxey, insane and then hypnotizing most of the force. Maxey and Frawley eventually kick Abbott and Costello out of the station and they go back to their office. Waiting for them is Guild and she says Franz wants to retain them to help clear his name. They are given $500 and a suitcase full of clothes.

They go meet him and Abbott once again tries to double-cross Franz. He strips down again and cannot be seen. Another scene of him slapping around Abbott happens and now he realizes that Franz really is invisible.

The trio goes to the gym that Franz trained at and they see the man that he was supposed to take a dive against sparring in the ring. The boxer is played by John Daheim. He is a jerk and we learn that he is upset that his mob boss, who is played by Sheldon Leonard, wanted Franz to take a dive against him.

Franz gives aid to Costello to get him into the fight with Daheim. Abbott steps up as his manager and Franz wants Costello to go through all the motions that he and his manager did so he can prove that he was really framed.

Will Costello be able to survive being in the ring with Daheim? Will Abbott survive if Costello does not dive? Will Franz be cured before he goes insane? Will his name be cleared? Will Muir find an agent to save him?

I have seen a few Abbott and Costello films and I do enjoy them. This one I was not as impressed by. I did like the going invisible scene. I liked the story for the most part, as I know boxing is quite the corrupt sport and that really is backed up by this one. I like the slapstick and wordplay comedy of Abbott and Costello, as well as how the horror elements are blended well together. I also like how Frawley is consistently being confused by Franz and what Abbott and Costello do in front of him. It makes him think he is losing his mind and really we know that it is not true.

What I was did not care for were with the invisible aspects. A lot of my problems come from lack of technology at the time where he smokes, drinks and eats, but every time he does any of this, it becomes invisible inside him before it technically should. It does not ruin the film, but I am not sure the film thought it through enough. I also was not a huge fan of the boxing match and any fights that Costello is involved in with Franz helping. Everyone pretends like they see him punch and claim he is super fast, but we can clearly see that his hands do not move. Again not a huge problem and the characters in the film need to explain it to themselves so they are not crazy, but I was not a fan of it.

If you like Abbott and Costello movies, I would give this one a viewing. This was one of my least favorite ones, but still is worth the time to see it. The comedy is good for the time period and the blend of horror is good as well. This one adds in sports with the boxing, but I was not a big fan of that part. Pretty good horror/comedy I would say.


My Rating: 5 out of 10