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The Invisible Woman (1940) DVD

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The Invisible Woman (1940)

Dispensing with the melodramatic excesses of Universal's previous "Invisible Man" films, 1941's The Invisible Woman aims strictly for laughs. Virginia Bruce stars as Kitty Carroll, an outspoken department store model fired from her job by tyrannical Mr. Growley (Charles Lane). Intrigued by an ad in the personal columns requesting the services of an "adventurous woman", Kitty offers her services to eccentric scientist Professor Gibbs (John Barrymore, doing a dead-on impression of his brother Lionel). Much to the dismay of his timorous butler George (Charles Ruggles), his housekeeper Mrs. Jackson (Margaret Hamilton), and his nephew-financier Richard Russell (John Howard), Gibbs has been experimenting with an invisibility formula, and Kitty turns out to be a most willing guinea pig. Cloaked in her new invisibility, our heroine gets even with her old nemesis Growley and sets out for new escapades, while Gibbs and his entourage anxiously search for the girl lest harm befall her. The whole affair ends up in the Mexican refuge of gangster Blackie (Oscar Homolka), who hopes to use Gibbs' formula for his own nefarious purposes. Given the fact that Blackie is saddled with such moronic henchmen as Bill (Ed Brophy) and Frankie (Shemp Howard), he doesn't stand a chance against the resourceful Kitty, who thoughtfully permits the nonplussed Richard into thinking that he's rescuing her. Shakespeare it isn't, but The Invisible Woman is consistently funny and inventive, enhanced by Universal's usual excellent special effects. Future leading lady Maria Montez shows up as one of the models in the early scenes, along with former Warner Bros. star Anne Nagel.

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