THE INVISIBLE MAN (1984) – This was a British television miniseries version of the H.G. Wells science fiction story and was originally aired in 6 episodes of 27 minutes each. It was later edited and repackaged as 3 episodes running 50 minutes each.
Brian Lighthill directed this excellent series which emphasized period detail – well, except for the studio lighting, of course. That aside, if, like me, you’ve always wanted to see faithful adaptations of all Wells’ works set in their original era, you will especially love this production.
Pip Donaghy shines as the madman Griffin and conveys a true sense of danger behind his envelope-pushing scientific brilliance. Much of his performance rests on his terrific voice-acting, naturally, but he is always convincing.
Sure, there are no surprises waiting for us viewers in such a well-known tale, but don’t let that interfere with your enjoyment. Just sit back and relish the well-rendered mysterious doings at the Inn, the steampunk scientific elements and the proto-slasher feel as the story nears its climax.
Lila Kaye is unforgettable as the Ipping landlady Jenny Hall, David Gwillim is very good as Dr Samuel Kemp and all the other players do pretty well with their roles, right down to the ubiquitous Frank Middlemass as Mr Marvel.
The special effects are never insulting and are mostly quite good. As for period authenticity the scene of a licked envelope in a time when sealing would have been the usual method is about the worst mistake even the most eagle-eyed viewers will spot.
I consider this the best adaptation of The Invisible Man to date, with a perfect Griffin, serious tone and appropriately disturbing random murders. By all means check out this production. +++
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