Invisible Agent (1942)


Jon Hall plays the grandson of the original Invisible Man, played by Claude Rains in 1933. In this third sequel, Hall is pressured to take his grandfather’s transparency potion to serve the United States as a secret agent in Nazi Germany. Once there, Hall falls in love with a fellow agent (Ilona Massey) and tries to obtain information on a rumored German invasion of America.

Invisible Agent is more a rote, wartime propaganda movie than a Universal Monster Movie. In fact, there’s nothing at all monstrous — or remarkable — about Hall’s performance. The film might as well be called The Invisible Game Show Host. Massey fares better, especially when she spars with a Nazi officer who fancies himself a suitor for her affection. The film also benefits from Peter Lorre and Cedric Hardwicke in villainous supporting roles. The optical effects are more refined than ever before, and there’s a nice sequence in which the Invisible Agent sets fire to a room full of Nazis trying to capture him.

The third act provides a little action and a twist or two, but the film never fully escapes the feeling of having been written on auto-pilot. A more charismatic hero and a more compelling love story could have really set this installment apart.

Oscar Nomination: Best Special Effects

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