The Invisible Man (Universal). While other Hollywood producers confine themselves to the humdrum mishaps of prostitutes, millionaires and college footballers, Carl Laemmle Jr's Universal studio specializes darkly in supernatural pasquinades. The hero of The Invisible Man is as nasty a pumpkinhead as Frankenstein's monster or The Mummy. He is a young physician named Griffin, whose love for beauteous Flora Cranley (Gloria Stuart) is not sufficient to prevent him from discovering a drug which not only makes him invisible but turns him simultaneously into a homicidal lunatic.
The first thing Dr. Griffin does when he is out of sight is to wrap his body, which remains solid, in garb as unprepossessing as he can find. Well aware that when he removes the bindings from his face or the trousers from his legs, there will be nothing there, he takes pleasure in frightening the host of a village inn by doing so. Presently he kills a policeman and then, intoxicated by the certainty that he can commit crimes with no possibility of being detected, he wrecks a train, kills another young doctor whom he has forced to be his partner, plans to make himself a world dictatorfor by using his drug in wholesale quantities, he can have an invisible army. These plans of Dr. Griffin's are foiled in a manner which must not have been ingenious enough to satisfy Carl Laemmle Jr. The invisible man has already realized that he must not operate after meals until his food has been transparently digested and that he must never go out in the rain lest water, collecting on the tip of his vague nose, betray his presence. He is stupid enough, none the less, to go to sleep in a barn one snowy night. When he comes out a posse of policemen shoot him in his tracks.
In his first cinema rôle, which must have been easy for him to play since it amounts to very little more than an offstage noise, Claude Rains gives an alarming performance, almost as frightening when he is present as when he is not. Good shot: a poker, with which Dr. Griffin is planning to hit someone, stirring uneasily beside its fireplace.
The Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau). A young man engaged in painting a portrait is suddenly disturbed to find, in the palm of his hand, a surprising deformity: two human lips which engage him in a fragmentary conversation. The young man succeeds in transferring these lips to a statue of a young woman, who advises him to walk through a mirror. Having done so, the young man finds himself in the Hotel des Folies Dramatiques where, peeking through keyholes, he witnesses a horrid scene between an old lady and a child whom she is teaching to fly. When he emerges from the mirror, the young man finds himself transformed into a statue above a courtyard where children are fighting with snowballs. Snowballs eventually smash the young man in his statuary form. Dressed in evening clothes, at a table in the snow, he plays cards with the young lady who advised him to walk through the mirror, no longer marble now but a solemn and equivocal Muse. A polite audience chuckles at the game from the balconies of the courtyard. When the young man tries to cheat and fails, he puts a bullet through his brain.