by Allan Fish
Footprints in the snow
p Carl Laemmle Jnr d James Whale w R.C.Sheriff, Philip Wylie novel H.G.Wells ph Arthur Edeson ed Ted J.Kent m W.Franke Harling art Charles D.Hall spc John P.Fulton
Claude Rains (Jack Griffin), Gloria Stuart (Flora Cranley), Henry Travers (Dr Cranley), William Harrigan (Dr.Kemp), Forrester Harvey (Herbert Hall), E.E.Clive (Jaffers), Una O’Connor (Mrs Jenny Hall), Dudley Digges (Detective chief), Holmes Herbert (Police chief), Harry Stubbs (Inspector Bird), John Carradine (newspaper seller), Walter Brennan (man with bicycle), Dwight Frye (reporter),
The third of James Whale’s quarter of horror classics – after Frankenstein and The Old Dark House and before The Bride of Frankenstein – was probably chosen in response to the successful Paramount version of another H.G.Wells classic about a madman performing experiments, Island of Lost Souls. Like that earlier film, it starred a British actor, though in this case one who was not only in his debut, but whose face would hardly be seen.
Jack Griffin works in the laboratories of Dr Cranley, and is engaged to his daughter, Flora, who is also the object of devotion of Kemp, one of Jack’s colleagues. Jack leaves one day and doesn’t tell his employer or fiancée where he’s going, and arrives at a village inn heavily bandaged and wearing shielding dark glasses. He asks for a room and wants no disturbances. We learn that he has somehow managed to turn himself invisible, and is frantically searching for the antidote. However, his irritation with any interruptions grows into a deep psychosis and he soon begins to succumb to megalomania, in which he tries to implicate his colleague Kemp. (more…)