“We’d deem it a highly patriotic service if you would permit us to use the drug.”
Frank Raymond (Jon Hall) runs a printing shop in Manhattan. In reality he is the grandson of the man who invented the formula for invisibility. Axis spies find out who he is and try to buy the formula. He refuses to sell. Lieutenant Conrad Stauffer (Cedric Hardwicke), from Germany’s SS, and Baron Ikito (Peter Lorre), a Japanese officer, are members of the Axis powers. They try to strong arm him threatening to amputate body parts if he does not comply. He manages to escape with the formula.
Frank believes that the formula is too dangerous for any government to have. However, when Pearl Harbor is attacked he agrees to give the formula to the United States under one condition. The he be the invisible spy.
Frank is flown behind German lines. He injects himself with the formula and parachutes down. After he lands he evades German troops and makes his way to his contact, a coffin maker named Arnold Schmidt (Albert Basserman). Schmidt tells him of his mission. Frank is to obtain a list of German and Japanese spies within the U.S. The list is in the hands of Conrad Stauffer.
The next leg of his mission is to contact Maria Sorenson (Ilona Massey). She is a German spy and the love interest of both Stauffer and Stauffer's second-in-command, Karl Heiser (J. Edward Bromberg). Through Heiser Frank learns that there is a planned German attack on New York City. Frank gets drunk and plays games on Heiser that results in Stauffer suspecting that Frank is in Germany and invisible. Because of his incompetence Stauffer throws Heiser in prison.
Eventually Frank manages to get the list from Stauffer and send it to the allies. But he’s not done. Now he has another problem. Next Frank sneaks into the German prison to talk to Heiser. He needs to gather information on the scheduled attack on New York City before it’s too late.
“The Invisible Agent” was released in 1942 and was directed by Edwin L. Marin. It was the fourth “Invisible” movie distributed by Universal. There are lots of invisibility special effects and they are outstanding. Although the slapstick is a little over the top it shows the quality of the special effects. The film was nominated for best visual effects at the 15th Academy Awards in March 1943.
There is lots of action and it is an excellent propaganda movie. Nazi’s are bad. Japanese are bad. British are good. Americans are good. The movie was made smack in the middle of WWII. What a perfect way to advertise your movie than to make it a reflect history that was being made now. There are some silly spots but it’s still an entertaining film. Lots of spy stuff. I liked it.