The strangest character yet created by the screen [from the novel by H.G. Wells] roams through The Invisible Man. Sometimes he is seen, dressed and bandaged up into a fantastic, eerie-looking figure, at other times he is moving through the action unseen.
As the invisible madman (Claude Rains) is moving around, the negative reflects the things he does, such as rocking in a chair, smoking a cigarette, carrying something, opening doors, or socking someone in the jaw with the impact felt rather than seen.
First reel evokes considerable comedy in sequences at a small country inn where the invisible one secures lodging and indulges in his first murder. The innkeeper and his wife (Forrester Harvey and Una O’Connor, respectively) are swell comedy types and make the most of the opportunity. O’Connor relies a lot on a very shrill scream.
At the outset it is learned that a young chemist has discovered a terrible formula, including a very dangerous drug, that makes human flesh invisible. His interest had been strictly scientific but the drug had the effect, after use, of turning him into a maniac. At about the time he starts the murders he is looking for the antidote to bring him back to a normal condition.