The Invisible Ray

1936

Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

0
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 67%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 51%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 2374

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 12, 2021 at 03:03 PM

Cast

Bela Lugosi as Dr. Felix Benet
Boris Karloff as Dr. Janos Rukh
Beulah Bondi as Lady Arabella Stevens
720p.BLU
720.16 MB
988*720
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 19 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by the_mysteriousx 7 / 10

"If your men fail to capture him at the gate..."

Karloff and Lugosi - Together again! This is one of those films that casual fans will pass over and tend not to appreciate as much. It's not an all-out horror film like the duo's previous two hits, The Black Cat and The Raven. But, it is very worthy of both's talents and is a fun film when re-visited.

The Invisible Ray was directed by Lambert Hillyer, a director who mainly made westerns, but curiously in these final days of the Laemmles' reign at Universal, he found himself helming this and the Laemmles' final horror film, Dracula's Daughter. Both are crisp, clean-cut fantasies that are very light on horror content despite the fantastic elements.

Just as Lugosi went wild in The Raven, much needs to be said of Karloff's hamming in The Invisible Ray. The one aspect of the story that is particularly unsatisfying is that Karloff's character, Rukh, acts so madly before he is poisoned by Radium X, that there really isn't much of a change once he starts glowing. This is very similar to the complaint people have about Jack Nicholson in The Shining - He's basically a loony right from the start. There isn't any real transformation. Same here. Halfway through Karloff simply has an added purpose for revenge in his mind. I still enjoyed his performance, though, just as I did Lugosi's over-the-top antics in The Raven.

Meanwhile, Lugosi completely surprises you and gives a restrained, and thoughtful turn as Rukh's rival in science, Dr. Benet. Lugosi also has some of the best lines in the film, including a memorable warning to the police trying to catch Rukh, of which I am in alignment with horror film writer John Soister on - "And if he (Rukh) touches anyone?" the inspector inquires. Lugosi hesitatingly replies, in a way that only Lugosi could deliver, "They die". Just as Lugosi could be so off, he could also be more perfect than any actor. This is one of those moments.

Therefore, Karloff and Lugosi's interactions are all very good as we get the mad antics of Karloff pared off against the cool logic of Lugosi. Karloff would go on to play similar mad scientists many times, however, one wishes Lugosi would have gotten to play more straight roles like this one. He only had one more chance (Ninotchka).

The Invisible Ray is a fun film, and a real treat to the true Karloff and Lugosi fans. It is one of those films that improves on each viewing, not because it is a masterpiece, but because of the charisma and talent of its' stars and how this story complements the darker, more horrific pairings they had. The special effects, by the always innovative John Fulton, are terrific and the supporting actors are all adequate. Frances Drake looks as beautiful as she did in Mad Love and plays a strong woman, something seldom seen in classic horror films. The scene in the end when Karloff stalks her and she doesn't scream is one of the most haunting moments of the film. A terrific, fun film!

Reviewed by franzfelix 10 / 10

Sci Fi Caviar

One doesn't get to enjoy this gem, the 1936 Invisible Ray, often. But no can forget it. The story is elegant. Karloff, austere and embittered in his Carpathian mountain retreat, is Janos Rukh, genius science who reads ancient beams of light to ascertain events in the great geological past…particularly the crash of a potent radioactive meteor in Africa. Joining him is the ever-elegant Lugosi (as a rare hero), who studies "astro-chemistry." Frances Drake is the lovely, underused young wife; Frank Lawton the romantic temptation; and the divine Violet Kemble Cooper is Mother Rukh, in a performance worthy of Maria Ospenskya.

The story moves swiftly in bold episodes, with special effects that are still handsome. It also contains some wonderful lines. One Rukh restores his mother's sight, he asks, "Mother, can you see, can you see?" "Yes, I can see…more clearly than ever. And what I see frightens me." Even better when mother Rukh says, "He broke the first law of science." I am not alone among my acquaintance in having puzzled for many many years exactly what this first law of science is.

This movie is definitely desert island material.

Reviewed by jluis1984 8 / 10

Another minor classic with Boris and Bela

There is no doubt that during the decade of the 30s, the names of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi became a sure guarantee of excellent performances in high quality horror films. After being Universal's "first monster" in the seminal classic, "Dracula", Bela Lugosi became the quintessential horror villain thanks to his elegant style and his foreign accent (sadly, this last factor would also led him to be type-casted during the 40s). In the same way, Boris Karloff's performance in James Whale's "Frankenstein" transformed him into the man to look for when one wanted a good monster. Of course, it was only natural for these icons to end up sharing the screen, and the movie that united them was 1934's "The Black Cat". This formula would be repeated in several films through the decade, and director Lambert Hillyer's mix of horror and science fiction, "The Invisible Ray", is another of those minor classics they did in those years.

In "The Invisible Ray", Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) is a brilliant scientist who has invented a device able to show scenes of our planet's past captured in rays of light coming from the galaxy of Andromeda. While showing his invention to his colleagues, Dr. Felix Benet (Bela Lugosi) and Sir Francis Stevens (Walter Kingsford), they discover that thousands of years ago, a meteor hit in what is now Nigeria. After this marvelous discovery, Dr. Rukh decides to join his colleagues in an expedition to Africa, looking for the landing place of the mysterious meteor. This expedition won't be any beneficial for Rukh, as during the expedition his wife Diane (Frances Drake) will fall in love with Ronald Drake (Frank Lawton), an expert hunter brought by the Stevens to aid them in their expedition. However, Rukh will lose more than his wife in that trip, as he'll be forever changed after being exposed to the invisible ray of the meteor.

Written by John Colton (who previously did the script for "Werewolf of London"), "The Invisible Ray" had its roots on an original sci-fi story by Howard Higgin and Douglas Hodges. Given that this was a movie with Karloff and Lugosi, Colton puts a lot of emphasis on the horror side of his story, playing in a very effective way with the mad scientist archetype and adding a good dose of melodrama to spice things up. One element that makes "The Invisible Ray" to stand out among other horror films of that era, is the way that Colton plays with morality through the story. That is, there aren't exactly heroes and villains in the classic style, but people who make decisions and later face the consequences of those choices. In many ways, "The Invisible Ray" is a modern tragedy about obsessions, guilt and revenge.

A seasoned director of low-budget B-movies, filmmaker Lambert Hillyer got the chance to make 3 films for Universal Pictures when the legendary studio was facing serious financial troubles. Thanks to his experience working with limited resources, Hillyer's films were always very good looking despite the budgetary constrains, and "The Invisible Ray" was not an exception. While nowhere near the stylish Gothic atmosphere of previous Universal horror films, Hillyer's movie effectively captures the essence of Colton's script, as he gives this movie a dark and morbid mood more in tone with pulp novels than with straightforward sci-fi. Finally, a word must be said about Hillyer's use of special effects: for an extremely low-budget film, they look a lot better than the ones in several A-movies of the era.

As usual in a movie with Lugosi and Karloff, the performances by this legends are of an extraordinary quality. As the film's protagonist, Boris Karloff is simply perfect in his portrayal of a man so blinded by the devotion to his work that fails to see the evil he unleashes. As his colleague, Dr. Benet, Bela Luogis is simply a joy to watch, stealing every scene he is in and showing what an underrated actor he was. As Rukh's wife, Frances Drake is extremely effective, truly helping her character to become more than a damsel in distress. Still, two of the movie highlights are the performances of Kemble Cooper as Mother Rukh, and Beulah Bondi as Lady Arabella, as the two actresses make the most of their limited screen time, making unforgettable their supporting roles. Frank Lawton is also good in his role, but nothing surprising when compared to the rest of the cast.

If one judges this movie under today's standards, it's very easy to dismiss it as another cheap science fiction film with bad special effects and carelessly jumbled pseudoscience. However, that would be a mistake, as despite its low-budget, it is remarkably well done for its time. On the top of that, considering that the movie was made when the nuclear era was about to begin and radioactivity was still a relatively new concept, it's ideas about the dangers of radioactivity are frighteningly accurate. One final thing worthy to point out is the interesting way the script handles the relationships between characters, specially the friendship and rivalry that exists between the obsessive Dr. Rukh and the cold Dr. Benet, as this allows great scenes between the two iconic actors.

While nowhere near the Gothic expressionism of the "Frankenstein" movies, nor the elegant suspense of "The Black Cat", Lambert Hillyer's "The Invisible Ray" is definitely a minor classic amongst Universal Pictures' catalog of horror films. With one of the most interesting screenplays of 30s horror, this mixture of suspense, horror and science fiction is one severely underrated gem that even now delivers a good dose of entertainment courtesy of two of the most amazing actors the horror genre ever had: Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. 8/10

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