Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Amazing Transparent Man

At the beginning of "The Amazing Transparent Man" - a 1960 film I last night watched on YouTube - a man has just escaped from jail. From watchtowers above, powerful searchlights sweep the terrain below. Police with snarling dogs search the undergrowth. Roadblocks are everywhere.

This isn't enough to catch Joey Faust, the man who has escaped. There's a car waiting for him on a road. It takes him to the headquarters of Paul Krenner - a former major in several armies - who had arranged that Joey be sprung from jail because, being an expert safe-breaker, Joey's the man the Major needs.

The Major explains to Joey - who didn't know why he'd been sprung from jail - that he wants him to steal from a top-secret safe, radio-active atomic fission material that can make people invisible. The Major is planning to create an army of invisible men that will take over the country, and eventually the world.

The Major has under his control, a scientist in a laboratory who is developing the invisible-making abilities of fission material. There are some flaws still to be overcome. The fission material in the safe that the Major wants Joey to break into, is of the sort that hopefully will iron out those flaws.

After learning he's to break in to the safe, Joey protests to the Major that because he's an escaped prisoner, everyone will know his face since his picture will be posted everywhere. The Major assures him this won't be a problem because he'll be made invisible before he sets out.

Joey is told to lie on a table in the scientist's laboratory. A machine directs rays at him. In next to no time, Joey becomes invisible. Now he can break into the safe in broad daylight with no-one seeing him..........

There is of course lots more, but you should watch "The Secret Transparent Man" to find out.

***

Making men invisible isn't as impossible as it sounds. I read somewhere not long ago that large objects like military tanks have been made invisible through attaching to the tank, mirrors that reflect the surrounding terrain but not the tank.

Think also of x-rays that make invisible the flesh that surrounds the bones.....

While physical invisibility is not yet a widespread reality, what about psychological invisibility? All women above a certain age remember the day they became invisible to men on the street. From being used to seeing admiring glances from men, they must now tolerate these men looking through them as if they're not there.

It's not just women above a certain age who are invisible. It's old people too, whether man or woman. I, myself, being now old, have, at social gatherings, had to get used to young people acting as if I wasn't there.

Not that I blame them. I, when young, acted this way towards old people too.

***

If you wish to watch "The Amazing Transparent Man", *click here*. To tempt you even more, I'll let you know that Joey Faust looks something like Richard Nixon, and sounds like a cross between Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan.

2 comments:

  1. "....I, myself, being now old.....".

    Is there a correlation between your being now old, and your watching paradigms of puerility like "The Amazing Transparent Man", "Maniac", "Mesa of Lost Women" and their like?

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  2. These "paradigms of puerility", as you so quaintly characterise these films, have, at the very least, far more going for them than most films now coming out, that I wouldn't watch even if you paid me.

    Think only of films with Adam Sandler in them. Do I make my point?

    Yes, there is a correlation between my now being old, and my watching films like "The Amazing Transparent Man", "Maniac", "Mesa of Lost Women" and their like.

    When young I spent much time watching films that I wouldn't now watch even if you paid me, and was too snooty to watch treasures like "The Amazing Transparent Man", "Maniac" and "Mesa of Lost Women".

    In addition to being treasures, they are charming and make you think. This is why I'm writing about them.

    Since you've said they are "paradigms of puerility" I'll assume that in order to have arrived at this conclusion, you've at least watched them.

    Try watching them again.

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