Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, 1951

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Dang, this one was good.

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are graduating Detective School at the beginning of this one. ((Bud has bribed the dean of the school twenty bucks to graduate Lou. )) They get hired by a private detective agency and work the night shift alone in the office. Their first night a man walks in with a case. He’s a boxer who’s been framed for murder.

And his girl happens to be the daughter of a doctor, a doctor who inherited the formula for invisibility from Claude Rains! 😀

Before long, the boxer goes transparent, Lou goes into boxing (as a cover to smoke out the real killers), and Bud keeps trying to turn the boxer in for the reward.

The climax is a hoot, Lou in the boxing ring with some invisible help.

And what’s really neat, apart from all the gags that they worked out involving invisibility — and they worked out quite a few, not repeating any one to death — is how this movie keeps tossing off references that, if you miss them, do not undermine your enjoyment of the movie.

There are at least two moments in the film where Lou is clearly scared because of something that happened in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (even though he’s technically playing a different character here), and there’s the aforementioned direct link to James Whale’s original The Invisible Man, including a prominent portrait of the great Claude Rains.

All in all, most satisfactory.

This is another movie that is only available on DVD in The Franchise Collection: The Best of Abbott and Costello, Volume 3 (which, for some reason, Universal has let fall out of print, though you can still get it second-hand with little trouble). And it’s such an excellent comedy that you can buy the set for just this one movie and be satisfied that you spent your money well.


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