Dr Griffin, played by Pip Donaghy, uses his scientific brilliance
to make himself invisible and as a consequence of this goes
of an orgy of petty theft and common assault under the guise
of taking his revenge on society. His insistence at running
round the English countryside naked, leads to his timely,
but not so tragic end...
by Barry Letts, a then veteran of Doctor Who and directed
by Brian Lighthill, The Invisible Man has been filmed
a number of times and this was the third television adaptation,
originally scheduled as a six parter to fill the Sunday tea
time slot it was successfully moved to a more prestigious
midweek evening slot.
To be honest I don't remember watching the series when it
was originally transmitted, so came to this with no preconceived
prejudices, and I am sorry to say I didn't like it. In fact,
to tell the truth, I fell asleep twice trying to work my way
through all six episodes. The Invisible Man starts
on a feeling of mystery and dread and then just keeps it up
for all six episodes leaving the viewer with a feeling of
lot of the faults with the production stem from following
the original book too closely. What works in a novel doesn't
always work as a piece of drama. With the loss of the descriptive
passages, to add depth and character insight, the dramatist
is thrown back on creating contrasting scenes which brings
out the comedy and drama of the story, and this just didn't
happen. There are many good individual performances in the
piece, the 'oh ah thrickity' West Country landlady, is a nice
comic turn in an otherwise unrelenting story. It also boasts
a plethora of character actors and actresses from that period,
who individually do a good job.
main problem comes from the central character of Dr Griffin.
His motivation appears obscure leaving the viewer with little
more than a parody of a mad scientist, though I suppose that
running round the English countryside naked, getting goose
pimples, would be enough to break even the strongest will.
Nor is it really explored either why he has such resentment
towards society or why he thinks that being invisible will
bring him power.
special effects are fine given its age and the budgetary limitations
on a television drama. The sight of the odd axe or knife floating
through the air just isn't as menacing as I'm sure they thought
it would be, and I never did work out why his nose and hair
were visible when he was covered by bandages, but otherwise
invisible, although I may have fallen asleep at that point.
incidental music is really that, far and few between, which
sounds a little odd to the modern viewer as it appears to
have been inserted almost at random. Scenes which could have
benefited from music are silent, and the lighter moments are
not scored at all, the music's thematic range seems limited
to pre-dread and dread.
is only a single extra on the DVD, and a strange one at that,
given that is an extract of the Did You See program'
with Ludovic Kennedy, where the general consensus is that
the program, like the original novel, really doesn't work
all that well. Picture quality betrays the age of the show,
but is eminently watchable, with no noticeable artefacts,
but with some colour bleed giving the picture a very soft
feel. The disc comes with the usual episode and scene selection
options as well subtitles.
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