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Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1951). Universal International Pictures. Directed by Charles Lamont. Screenplay by John Grant, Robert Lees and Frederic I Rinaldo, very loosely based on The Invisible Man (1897) by H G Wells. Cast includes Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Nancy Guild, Arthur Franz. 82 minutes. Black and white.

Boxer Tommy Nelson (Franz) is framed for the murder of a boxing promoter when he refuses to throw a bout as ordered by local gangsters. Knowing that his girlfriend's father has the Invisibility formula developed by Doctor Jack Griffin years before (a photo of Griffin on the lab wall shows Claude Rains), Nelson injects himself with the serum and becomes invisible, though aware that this leads to insanity. His girlfriend Helen Gray (Guild) hires the comically inept detectives Bud (Abbott) and Lou (Costello) to clear Nelson before the insanity becomes permanent, leading to slapstick adventures climaxing in a match between Lou – helped by the invisible Nelson – and the mob's corrupt fighter. He wins the fight and gains a confession from the actual killer. Lou restores Nelson to visibility with a blood transfusion, although some of the formula makes its way into Lou's system, making him briefly invisible at the conclusion.

This film was originally intended as a continuation of Universal's Invisible Man series of films beginning with The Invisible Man (1933), and uses some stock footage from previous episodes. The studio's decision to turn it into a vehicle for their top comedians was commercially justified. Such Abbott and Costello films continued into the mid-1950s. [GSt]


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