The Amazing Transparent Man (DVD, 2003) Reviews
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The Amazing Transparent Man (DVD, 2003)

5 ratings (5 Epinions reviews)
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Scifi Classics: The Amazing Transparent Man (5/50)

Oct 18, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:It was very short, good character development.

Cons:The acting was just plain laughable.

The Bottom Line: Well, it's certainly science fiction.  Classic? . . . I'm thinking not so much.

Joey Faust is a career criminal, a man to whom locks mean nothing, and a recent escapee from prison--with the help of Major Paul Krenner and his femme fatale Laura Matson. Joey doesn’t know why the Major has broken him out of prison, but at the time he didn’t seem the kind of thing to question. But when Laura gets Joey back to the Major’s rural ranch, all is revealed.

The Major doesn’t have friends, nor really employees--instead he’s got people around him who feel forced to work for him. Julian the guard and right-hand man believes Krenner has information about his son, so he sticks around in hopes of learning his whereabouts. Laura’s just looking for a free ride. And Dr. Peter Ulof is held prisoner to Krenner by his daughter Maria, whom Krenner keeps locked in a room in the attic. Krenner is using Ulof’s genius to create an invisibility ray he’ll then sell to the highest bidder to help create an invisible army. But acquiring some of the materials they need in order to perfect the machine will take a man with the kind of skills Joey Faust possesses.

So Ulof renders Joey invisible, Joey steals what Ulof needs for his invention, and Krenner lets them both live. Until Joey, a real charmer, worms his way in with Laura and, later, Julian, double crossing the Major, but with good intent. Joey only wants enough money to flee the country and, possibly, take his own daughter with him, and as for the others, once he’s done with Krenner, they’ll be free to go, too. But when Ulof’s machine, which is slowly poisoning Joey with radiation, doesn’t work as well as they’d hoped and Joey becomes visible again in the middle of a robbery, the plan must be pushed up and action taken immediately. In the end, all that radiation and lasers leaves a pretty big hole in the ground.

THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN, released in 1960, is 57 minutes of pure stupid. I mean that in a good way. Douglas Kennedy (Joey Faust) and James Griffith (Paul Krenner) are not good actors. Kennedy projects a definite smarminess that comes off as too intentional, put-on; you can see the “acting” from a mile away. And Griffith alternates between being the man in control and being the man about to lose his sht. His frightened face when Joey knocks him around after becoming invisible for the first time is riotous, but the fight between them at the end, when Krenner is wailing on Joey’s back like a confused ape, then screaming like a 4-year-old girl at the sight of a spider in her bed when Joey gets the upper hand is just friggin’ hilarious.

Jack Lewis (who also is listed as an uncredited writer of BILLY THE KID VERSUS DRACULA) has simply tossed together a plot, but not thought through the mechanics very well. For example, Krenner keeps Ulof’s daughter locked in the attic--but Ulof’s lab is in the attic as well, and Maria’s room is just off to one side of it, so Ulof’s pretty much working alongside his daughter all day. There’s nothing to stop him from just slipping a note to her under the door. And on Joey’s first night there, he tries to get Julian’s attention so the henchman will come into the room and Joey can attack him. How does he get Julian’s attention? By scraping his drinking glass against the wall. What? Hey, whatever, man.

The effects were decent enough, I guess, watching a guinea pig, and then Joey, become invisible. You couldn’t see the strings on the items invisible Joey carries around, but the fight scene with invisible Joey knocking out a security guard were embarrassing to watch. It’s not Sonny Corleone Vs. Carlo Rizzi bad, but still pretty bad.

And yet . . . there’s something overall charming about this movie. I know it’s crap, but I’ve seen it three times now and will probably, eventually, see it again. I know part of that is my affinity for bad movies, but despite its cheese factor, there is something very watchable about THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN, and I just haven’t figured out yet what it is. I suspect it may have something to do with the characters and how, in the end, they’ve all gone through the growth necessary for a successful story. Julian and Laura betray Krenner, Ulof is freed, and even Joey goes back one last time to do the right thing. That is very satisfying to me and shows that, even though there were holes galore in the plot, someone was paying enough attention to care about the characters and give the audience something to cheer for in the end.

I think all of these factors balance each other out pretty well, which earns this movie a solid 3 stars. At this stage, considering the quality we’ve seen so far in this series, I’ll take what I can get.

other Scifi Classics
The Incredible Petrified World
Queen of the Amazons
Moon of the Wolf
She Gods of Shark Reef

Recommend this product? Yes

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