“I’ll have to see him before I’ll believe he’s invisible.”
Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price) is the owner of a coal mining operation. He has been sentenced to death for the murder of his brother Michael. He is scheduled to be executed in a few hours. Geoffrey maintains his innocence. His fiancée Helen Manson (Nan Grey) is frantic. His cousin Richard Cobb (Cedric Hardwick) tries to consol her. Geoffrey’s only hope is his friend Dr. Frank Griffin (John Sutton).
Griffin’s late brother once discovered a drug that can make a person invisible. The draw back with the drug is that it will render the person using it mad. Frank injects Geoffrey with the drug. As the time of the execution nears Geoffrey vanishes. Detective Sampson (Cecil Callaway) from the Scotland Yard is on to what is happening from the start. He knows that Geoffrey and Griffin are friends. He also knows that Griffin’s brother invented the invisibility serum. He visits Griffin, but is unable to get him to admit anything.
Unfortunately for Geoffrey there still is no antidote for the invisibility drug. Griffin works night and day to try to find a way to reverse the drug’s effects and restore Geoffrey while preventing him from becoming insane. As he works, Geoffrey searches for clues to the real murderer.
Willie Spears (Alan Napier) works for the coal company owned by the Radcliffe family. He has been recently promoted. Geoffrey is suspicious of Spears because he’s slimy. After forcing Spears' car off the road, Geoffrey torments him. Spears believes that Satan is after him. He tells Spears that he is a ghost. Spears is frightened into revealing that Richard Cobb (Sir Cedric Hardwick), Radcliffe’s cousin, is the murderer. Once Spears is out of commission it’s on to Cobb.
“The Invisible Man Returns” was released in 1940 and was directed by Joe May. It is a loose sequel to “The Invisible Man” that was released in 1933. The only real connection is the invisibility serum. The special effects on the film are good. The visual effects were by the same people that worked on the original “Invisible Man” film. The film was nominated for an Oscar for the special effects. There were communication problems during the shooting of the film. The German director spoke no English, so Vincent Price, being fluent in German, had to translate all the instructions to the other cast members.
Granted it is not the theatrical masterpiece that “The Invisible Man” was, it’s still quite good. It takes awhile to get going but once it does it’s a lot of fun. Although all you don’t see Price, you can tell he’s having a fun with the part. Cecil Callaway is fabulous as the wily inspector in a game of cat and mouse. Unfortunately for Callaway, Price is a bigger cat. Unfortunately the movie is one big spoiler as far as the mystery goes. You know well before the end who-done-it. There is still some fun along the way when it comes to getting a confession out of the bad guy.