Monday, November 24, 2014

The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I’m now officially seven movies through a ten-pack of public-domain science-fiction movies.  The trouble with these multi-packs is that most of the movies are real stinkers.  An example is The Amazing Transparent Man.  The movie starts with Joey Foust escaping from prison.  He jumps into a car with a woman and they drive off.  As you might expect, the police have set up roadblocks.  Faust makes it past the checkpoint by pretending to be asleep.  The woman says that he’s tired, so the officer simply lets them pass.

The woman drives Joey back to the residence of a former major, Paul Krenner.  Krenner wants to use Faust to steal some radioactive material.  You’d think that would be difficult, but Krenner has Dr. Peter Ulof in his attic.  Dr. Ulof has developed a way to make living organisms invisible.  Ulof will make Faust invisible so that Faust can walk right in to the facility and just take the material.  (This is why Krenner needs Faust; Faust is a safecracker.)  If Faust turns him down, there’s always the police reward, which is just as good with Faust dead or alive.

Faust agrees, but isn’t the most loyal test subject.  He quickly realizes that he can rob banks just as easily as he can steal the radioactive material.  When he goes to rob the bank, he realizes that there’s a downside to the invisibility.  It starts wearing off before he can leave the bank.  He eventually makes it back to the house, frees the doctor’s daughter and tries to make everything right.

All I can say is that this is one mess of a movie.  IMDb lists the budget at an estimated $100,000.  I have to wonder if that’s in today’s money.  (The movie was released in 1960.)  The acting is over the top, the dialogue is well below par and the concept isn’t really used well.  I mean, Krenner gets a criminal to do his dirty work.  Yes, he needs a safecracker, but there had to be at least one other person out there with the required expertise.  It seems odd that he has to get the bottom of the barrel to steal something that he needs so much.

Then, there’s the scientist.  Most scientists seem to be evil.  There are some that are good, but they’re either trying to protect a loved one.  (I guess it’s usually easier to have the evil scientist so you can cut out the middleman.)  We get to see how easy it is to bust the daughter out of the room.  You can’t tell me that no one was willing to help the scientist and his daughter escape.

I also found it odd that the radioactive material was so poorly guarded.  Joey was literally able to walk in, open the safe, grab the stuff and walk out.  You’d think that they’d have more than two or three guards on duty or a better security system.  At least keep the location secret.  It just seemed too easy to me.

This is definitely a waste of an hour.  The main problem with this movie is that it takes a somewhat decent premise and just totally butchers it.  I think that it could have been done way better.  If you see this movie by itself, don’t get it.  They only way I could see watching it is if you caught it late one night or if you got it as part of a 50-pack of movies for $5.  It’s in the public domain, so I’m sure that there’s no shortage of options. 

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