Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a double feature of classic Universal studios’ horror films on the eve of Halloween, October 30, in our popular Twofer Tuesday (two films for the price of one) program. We will show a “double treat” of the 85th anniversary of THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933) paired with the 70th anniversary of the horror-comedy ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948).
THE INVISIBLE MAN was a key entry in the cycle of terror films from Universal studios in the early 1930s that helped secure its reputation as the “house of horror” in the early sound era. Produced by Carl Laemmle Jr., son of the studio founder, the film stars Claude Rains in his American screen debut and Gloria Stuart, and was based on the H. G. Wells’ novel, adapted for the screen by R. C. Sheriff (‘Goodbye, Mr. Chips,’ ‘The Four Feathers,’ ‘Odd Man Out’). Universal called on James Whale, the acclaimed director of ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘The Old Dark House’ (with ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’ still waiting in the wings in the genre), to helm the project.
Rains portrays Dr. Jack Griffin, a chemist whose experiments with an obscure drug go awry, rendering him invisible and murderously insane. Rains played the title character mostly as a disembodied voice, often shown swathed in bandages, appearing only briefly on screen. He would later become one of the most recognizable of British actors working in Hollywood, garnering four Oscar nominations (‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’ ‘Casablanca,’ ‘Mr. Skeffington,’ ‘Notorious’) and dozens of notable performances in his illustrious career.
Leading lady Gloria Stuart would have to wait sixty-four years before she capped her career with an Oscar nod for ‘Titanic’ in 1997. THE INVISIBLE MAN was a major hit at the box office, and was named one of the year’s ten best by The New York Times, whose critic at the time wrote,“The story makes such superb cinematic material that one wonders why Hollywood did not film it sooner…it is a remarkable achievement.” In 2008 the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry.
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, as noted by TV Guide, is a “hilarious spoof of the Universal horror films of the 1930s and early 40s.” Bud Abbott and Lou Costello star as railway freight handlers who unwittingly deliver the “undead” bodies of Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein’s Monster (Glenn Strange) to a wax museum, where they are revived. Lon Chaney Jr. co-stars, recreating his role as the Wolf Man, who tries to aid the comic duo. Lugosi donned Dracula’s cape in a featured role for the second and final time on the screen. The Invisible Man also makes a cameo appearance, this time with the voice of Vincent Price.
The film, directed by Charles Barton from a screenplay by Robert Lees, Frederic Rinaldo, and John Grant, was such a huge hit that it propelled Abbott and Costello onto the Top Ten Box Office Stars Poll the following year, where they would be ranked for four consecutive years. Its success also spawned a series of seven films in which the duo would “meet” more of the monsters from the Universal vaults. The film is ranked 56th on the AFI’s list of the Funniest Movies, and was added to the National Film Registry in 2001.
The Halloween Eve Twofer Tuesday double bill of THE INVISIBLE MAN and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN plays at three Laemmle locations: Royal, NoHo and Pasadena Playhouse 7 on October 30.
ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN shows at 4:40 PM and 8:10 PM. THE INVISIBLE MAN shows at 6:30 PM and 9:55.
Click here to get tickets for the 4:40 PM or 8:10 PM ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN with the 6:30 PM or 9:55 THE INVISIBLE MAN included.
Click here to get tickets for the 6:30 PM THE INVISIBLE MAN with the 8:10 PM ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN included.