INVISIBLE GHOST (1941)

blackbiped
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Joined: April 25th, 2004, 12:58 pm

April 30th, 2018, 9:21 pm #1

Okay, I searched but couldn't find a thread devoted to this classic Lugosi chiller.  I first saw it on USA'S "Night Flight" back in the 80s and have always been fascinated by its weirdness and utter disregard for logic.  

Here's a related video I just made:

Legend, oh legend, the third wheel legend...always in the way.

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Joined: November 25th, 2017, 8:55 am

April 30th, 2018, 10:43 pm #2

Yup, that's a weird one.   Certainly it is Lugosi at his most genteel, but frankly that's what brings the film down.   Seeing Bela Lugosi as a nice guy is a novelty, but it's not his strongest or most entertaining presentation of himself.  Again, neat to show that he can do it, but it makes for a much slower film.  I think Night Key with Karloff has the same issue.

And The Invisible Ghost has one of the all time dumbest plot points in history, which of course is all the business about the caregiver keeping his employer hostage in his shed rather than get her medical care, because he's such a caring old gent.  Creepy, I'm kind of glad he got killed.

** out of ****stars.
Last edited by FritzFassbender on May 1st, 2018, 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wich2
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Joined: September 12th, 2007, 10:09 pm

May 1st, 2018, 12:26 am #3

It's a silly PovRo movie.

But as an actor, I'm sure not gonna begrudge Bela, Boris or anyone else to chance to break the mold once in a while. Geez, let 'em be decent joes (even if a decent joe serial killer, as here!)
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Rick
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Joined: December 22nd, 2004, 2:22 pm

May 1st, 2018, 12:42 am #4

Yeah, I enjoy Bela very much in this one. Kind of nice to see him happy. Or playing happy anyway.

This is still my favorite of the Monogram 9. Certainly not as much fun as, say, VOODOO MAN or RETURN OF THE APE MAN, but, unlike the other 8, this one actually has something you might call "quality." 

I know, it's a stretch, but it's the best I got.
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
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Wich2
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May 1st, 2018, 1:14 am #5

Total agreement.

Yes, VOODOO is more pure fun. But for me, this is the one of Bela's that brushes near "actually a good movie" territory.

(And when I finally saw it a few years back, I saw Boris's THE APE as being that one for him.)
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horrorfilmx
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Joined: October 29th, 2009, 12:09 am

May 1st, 2018, 12:48 pm #6

This one has a lot going for it --- good cast (Lugosi, Loretta Young's sister Polly Ann, Clarence Muse, and perennial dumb cop Fred Kelsey), some surprising twists, talented director Joseph H. (Gun Crazy) Lewis. It doesn't make a lick of sense but come on, who among us really cares about that????
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blackbiped
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May 7th, 2018, 2:18 am #7

Don't forget Best Actress nominee Betty Compson.  
Legend, oh legend, the third wheel legend...always in the way.

Porfle's Secret Blog: http://porfle.blogspot.com/
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Joined: November 25th, 2017, 8:55 am

May 7th, 2018, 2:29 am #8

Clarence Muse is very good in that film, as he was in everything.  While he avoids the type of over-the-top fright takes reserved not just for African-Americans but really any actor playing a scared servant at that point, he also doesn't play it too cool for school.   His reactions are very real, even for such a bonkers plot.

BTW, I only recently realized what a long career Clarence Muse had, appearing in Car Wash and The Black Stallion toward the end of his life.
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 2:37 pm

May 7th, 2018, 8:26 am #9

I recognize its superior merits intellectually, but really--who wants to see a good Monogram film?  I love the daffy, melodramatic over the top bonkers crap like RETURN OF THE APE MAN, THE APE MAN, VOODOO MAN, KING OF THE ZOMBIES, THE CORPSE VANISHES, and those wacky East Side Kids!  
It would be like seeing a good Ed Wood film!   The mind boggles!  We love our Monogramses and Ed Woodses just the way they are!
"I should like to think that an irate Jehovah, was pointing those arrows of lightning directly at my head!"
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blackbiped
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May 7th, 2018, 8:36 am #10

I've never gotten the impression that this movie was overly top-drawer for a Monogram. And the plot is so incredibly daffy that it boggles the mind.
Legend, oh legend, the third wheel legend...always in the way.

Porfle's Secret Blog: http://porfle.blogspot.com/
HK and Cult Film News: http://hkfilmnews.blogspot.com/
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horrorfilmx
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May 7th, 2018, 12:56 pm #11

FritzFassbender wrote: Clarence Muse is very good in that film, as he was in everything.  While he avoids the type of over-the-top fright takes reserved not just for African-Americans but really any actor playing a scared servant at that point, he also doesn't play it too cool for school.   His reactions are very real, even for such a bonkers plot.

BTW, I only recently realized what a long career Clarence Muse had, appearing in Car Wash and The Black Stallion toward the end of his life.
I love the little interaction between Muse and Fred Kelsey in the kitchen. Kelsey tries to give Muse the tough cop grilling and Muse merely asks him if he'd like some coffee, totally disarming the man.

Re: the quality of Monogram's product, I've been watching a lot of their stuff lately and I've come to the conclusion that a lot of their bad rep stems from the quality of the prints we're seeing. You see a Monogram picture in good condition and it's frequently as good as a B from Universal or Warners. Sometimes, as in the case of their B musicals versus Universal's, better. 
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Wich2
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Joined: September 12th, 2007, 10:09 pm

May 7th, 2018, 1:39 pm #12

^This.

You could slap a different studio opening on a solid print of something like INVISIBLE GHOST or THE APE, and easily fool some folks.
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TomWeaver999
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Joined: November 22nd, 2004, 3:38 am

May 7th, 2018, 7:52 pm #13

Wich2 wrote: You could slap a different studio opening on a solid print of something like INVISIBLE GHOST or THE APE, and easily fool some folks.
SOME folks, yes. But for most diehard old-movie fans, I bet the music scores would be a giveaway that they were Poverty Row.
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Joined: November 25th, 2017, 8:55 am

May 7th, 2018, 10:43 pm #14

I'll never forget digging through a bin of $2.99 VHS tapes at Best Buy as a little boy and by gum there was a copy of The Devil Bat, a movie I'd only read about.  What a steal!   This was a movie STARRING BELA LUGOSI and these nitwits at Best Buy were letting it go for peanuts.   I kind of miss that feeling.

And the answer is no, I was not disappointed when I watched the movie.
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Andy
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Andy
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May 7th, 2018, 11:11 pm #15

Goood-biiiiiii, Fritz.

Andy.
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Wich2
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May 7th, 2018, 11:37 pm #16

FritzFassbender wrote: digging through a bin of ... VHS tapes ... as a little boy 
You must be a mere wisp of a lad!
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Joined: November 25th, 2017, 8:55 am

May 8th, 2018, 1:41 am #17

Well, not bad for a lad.  May not have been a "little" boy at the time, come to think about it, but I was a ways from driving.
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 2:37 pm

May 8th, 2018, 5:09 am #18

I don't have the book in front of me, but in 1943 or so a poll was taken of most recognized studio logos (except for 20th Century Fox) Monogram came in third!

I also have many wonderful memories of Mom describing the Monogram films she had seen first-run, and telling me how frightened the audience was!  She said Lugosi really scared people and the movies were very effective thrillers in their day.
"I should like to think that an irate Jehovah, was pointing those arrows of lightning directly at my head!"
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blackbiped
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Joined: April 25th, 2004, 12:58 pm

May 8th, 2018, 5:21 am #19

I wish I had grown up with Monograms but my stations didn't show them.  Oh well, it gives me some new vintage stuff to watch now.
Legend, oh legend, the third wheel legend...always in the way.

Porfle's Secret Blog: http://porfle.blogspot.com/
HK and Cult Film News: http://hkfilmnews.blogspot.com/
My Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/porfle
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Monsterpal
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Joined: July 5th, 2006, 10:01 am

May 16th, 2018, 11:32 pm #20

"Apple pie! Won't that be a treat!"
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