An alarming adaptation of the H.G. Wells story, both for the way it allows its antihero to fully fall into madness and for the violence that this fall involves. Claude Rains, in one of his first Hollywood roles (and only starring ones), plays Dr. Jack Griffin, a scientist whose new power of invisibility brings with it a considerable side effect of megalomania. Challenged early on by villagers who question his experiments, he throttles the investigating police officer and goes on an anti-authoritarian murder spree. Directed by James Whale, The Invisible Man is missing the gothic poeticism of his Frankenstein films, but offers its own sense of unease, especially when the invisible Griffin smashes another cop’s head with a bench. The effects in these trick shots are incredibly sophisticated for the era, as are the moments when Griffin unravels his bandages to reveal … nothing. (“Look!” a villager exclaims. “He’s all eaten away!”) Save for a few unfortunate moments where he lets loose a prankish giggle, Rains uses his stage-trained voice to great effect. He also allows just enough desperation to be heard in Griffin’s declarations, so that when his face is finally revealed in the final, haunting moments, we feel as if we already know the tormented scientist we can finally see.