Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)

abbott and costello meet the invisible man poster 1951
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Strong Abbott and Costello, good Invisible Man story

Lou mugs to the camera too much throughout the film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Sports

Release Date(s):  March 19, 1951

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

abbott-and-costello-meet-the-invisible-man-bud-abbott-lou-costello

Hey, Invisible Man, nice to meet you!

Lou Francis (Lou Costello) and Bud Alexander (Bud Abbott) have just become detectives.  When a boxer named Tommy Nelson (Arthur Franz) is framed for killing his manager by mobsters, Bud and Lou find themselves pulled into the mystery.  Tommy undergoes a radical experiment to make himself invisible to solve the crime and evade police and enlists Bud and Lou to help him break the case.  Lou must enter the ring with Tommy’s secretly helping him to flush out the mobsters but runs the risk of getting Bud killed himself…but will the madness caused by the invisibility serum hold off long enough for Tommy to be saved?

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It’s just another 10 rounds…don’t worry…

Directed by Charles Lamont, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (also known as Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man) is the follow-up to their 1950 film Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion.  The movie brings in Universal Monster character the Invisible Man who was last “seen” in The Invisible Man’s Revenge in 1944 (Abbott and Costello did meet the Invisible Man before when he was voiced by Vincent Price at the end of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein).

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man follows in the path of their popular Frankenstein film by having them have another supernatural encounter.  The movie combines this with a detective movie and a sports movie to really bring in a bunch of genres in addition to their traditional comedy.  Opposed to some Abbott and Costello movies which seem like a bit of a chore and forced out, this movie works a bit better.

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Wait, you mean you’ve been naked this whole time Tommy!

The story for Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man is pretty smart.  The flow of events (no matter how ridiculous) is logical and with different genres coming together, it does keep the story moving.  There are some great bits in the movie including the clever money swap scene in which Lou continues to rob Abbott…which I’m sure was lifted from one of their regular routines by its smooth nature.  Part of the reason this film probably works a bit better script wise is that it was going to be an Invisible Man movie, but was combined with Abbott and Costello when they had success with Frankenstein…and with the Invisible Man films going down in quality, Abbott and Costello add some life to the character.

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Oh yeah…give me some sugar!

This is an Abbott and Costello movie, so if you aren’t a fan of the two, it might be hard to take.  Lou is constantly mugging to the camera…way too much.  I do find his “smug Lou” look a bit tedious at time but these movies also were probably one of the primary sources of comedy with TV in its early days.  The movie does feature I Love Lucy’s Fred Mertz himself William Frawley as the detective assigned to the case.

Visually, the movie stays with the strong effects created for the Invisible Man series and it did reuse some footage (including the disappearing guinea pig) for the film.  I do find the “legs on backwards” at the end of the movie a bit stupid, but I would have loved to see a whole movie where Lou had turned invisible…of course then he couldn’t play to the camera.

Abbott and Costello Meets the Invisible Man should be sought out by fans of early comedy and for fans of the Universal Monsters.  It is better than a lot of the mash-ups that came out of Hollywood and a fun ride.  It is also interesting to note that the boxing scenes might not have been that much of a stretch for Costello who had done some boxing as a youth.  Abbott and Costello followed Abbott and Costello Meets the Invisible Man with Comin’ Round the Mountain also released in 1951.

Related Links:

The Invisible Man (1933)

The Invisible Man Returns (1940)

The Invisible Woman (1940)

Invisible Agent (1942)

http://basementrejects.com/review/invisible-agent-1942/

The Invisible Man’s Revenge (1944)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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