Review of “Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man” (1951)

trailer from YouTube

We had pizza and watched a bad movie with Svengoolie while waiting for Santa. Fortunately, we had enough leftovers we didn’t have to venture out.

Plot:

It’s graduation day 1951 at Dugan Detective School. Among those receiving diplomas are Bud Alexander (Bud Abbott) and Lou Francis (Lou Costello).

Lou says, “This is the happiest day of my life. How did I ever graduate?”

Bud tells him, “I slipped the guy twenty bucks. Now keep quiet.”

This pretty much sets the tenor for the movie.

Their first case involves Tommy Nelson, a boxer accused of beating his manager to death. He hires Lou and Bud to help prove him innocent. The boys agree, but Lou is also tempted by the reward money the police offer for turning Nelson in.

Tommy decides the perfect way to find the real killer is for Bud to go undercover as a professional boxer. Nelson will do the actual boxing. What could go wrong?

Thoughts:

This film is one of seven “Abbott and Costello Meet” movies made between 1948 and 1955. Many—but not all—of them involved Universal Studios monsters.

The movie calls back to the original 1933 The Invisible Man first with a picture of Claude Rains as the inventor of the invisibility serum. Rains played the original invisible man, Jack Griffin. The demonstration of the serum on guinea pigs in little harnesses in the present film also took place in the original.

That’s about where the similarity stops. The original was a dark film where the main character’s invention drove him insane. He never reverted to his true, visible form until his death—almost like a werewolf.

This movie is silly; most scenes are setups for awkward and ridiculous situations. Boots Marsden (Adele Jergens), the girlfriend of the gangster Morgan (Sheldon Leonard), comes on to Bud to try to convince him to throw an upcoming fight. He’s torn because he likes her, but he doesn’t want to throw this fight… that he’s not going to win anyway. And she offers him a lot of money.

In a scene where Bud and Lou are at a restaurant with Tommy, the waiter has to deal with hearing Tommy’s order, but not seeing Tommy and wondering why Lou wants steak and spaghetti. The viewer gets a visual of Lou and Tommy sharing spaghetti, Lady and the Tramp style.

The good guys win, the bad guys—who are not very bright—get what’s coming to them.

While I can’t say this is a deep intellectual flick, it was a nice goofy hour’s entertainment. I enjoyed it.

The movie can be watched here. Kiitos, Tommi!

Title: Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951)

Directed by
Charles Lamont

Writing Credits
Hugh Wedlock Jr….(story) and
Howard Snyder…(story)
Robert Lees…(screenplay) and
Frederic I. Rinaldo…() and
John Grant…(screenplay)
H.G. Wells…(novel The Invisible Man)

Cast (in credits order screenplay)
Bud Abbott…Bud Alexander
Lou Costello…Lou Francis
Nancy Guild…Helen Gray
Arthur Franz…Tommy Nelson
Adele Jergens…Boots Marsden
Sheldon Leonard…Morgan
William Frawley…Detective Roberts

Released: 1951
Length: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

14 thoughts on “Review of “Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man” (1951)

    1. Thanks once again for your kind words. I understand if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Nothing appeals to everyone. It is entertaining, but I couldn’t take a steady diet of it.

  1. ❤️ I own every single A&C film, to me this is one of the more tolerable films from their 50’s output. A favorite scene is when Lou is boxing and sprayed perfume on Tommy to know where he is in the ring, Tommy steps out and Lou gets knocked out wakes up and starts sniffing, the Ref asks what he’s doing and Lou say’s Smellin’ The Ref then says “That’s poor English but you sure do” 🤣

    1. Yeah, that was one of the cute episodes. The dearly beloved and I are recovering from bronchitis. We needed something like this. And a blanket and some hot tea.

      Thanks for your note. Hope the New Year is good for you.

  2. I love Abbot and Costello. I watched their antics every Saturday afternoon on our local station. Of course I was watching them as reruns. But to me they were terrific verbal and physical comedians. Thanks for the memories!

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