The Invisible Agent (1942)

79 mins | Drama | 31 July 1942

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Invisible Spy. HR news items include Lionel Atwill in the cast, but he did not appear in the released film. Modern sources claim that he was cast in the role of "Conrad Stauffer," but was replaced by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. According to Universal publicity materials, the original screenplay for this film included a scene in which Jon Hall's character, "Frank Raymond," while invisible, kicks Adolf Hitler in the seat of his pants. The scene was not included in the final film, due to a wartime ban "imposed on film scenes making Hitler, [Japanese Emperor] Hirohito and [Benito] Mussolini the butt of personal attacks."
       Screenwriter Curtis Siodmak was given an original screenplay credit for this production, though the screen credits state that the film was "suggested" by the H. G. Wells novel The Invisible Man, which had been previously filmed by Universal in 1933. The only connection between that film and The Invisible Agent, however, is the "Frank Raymond" character, who is presented as the grandson of "Jack Griffin," the inventor of the invisibility formula. John P. Fulton and Bernard B. Brown were nominiated for an Academy Award for their special effects work on this film, but lost to the special effects team for Paramount's Reap the Wild Wind. Universal press materials state that stuntman Dale Van Sickle had been an All-American football player, and stuntman Louis Tomei was an ex-Indianapolis race car driver. On 8 Apr 1942, HR announced that independent producer Frank Lloyd had ended his partnership with Jack H. Skirball. Modern ...

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The working title of this film was The Invisible Spy. HR news items include Lionel Atwill in the cast, but he did not appear in the released film. Modern sources claim that he was cast in the role of "Conrad Stauffer," but was replaced by Sir Cedric Hardwicke. According to Universal publicity materials, the original screenplay for this film included a scene in which Jon Hall's character, "Frank Raymond," while invisible, kicks Adolf Hitler in the seat of his pants. The scene was not included in the final film, due to a wartime ban "imposed on film scenes making Hitler, [Japanese Emperor] Hirohito and [Benito] Mussolini the butt of personal attacks."
       Screenwriter Curtis Siodmak was given an original screenplay credit for this production, though the screen credits state that the film was "suggested" by the H. G. Wells novel The Invisible Man, which had been previously filmed by Universal in 1933. The only connection between that film and The Invisible Agent, however, is the "Frank Raymond" character, who is presented as the grandson of "Jack Griffin," the inventor of the invisibility formula. John P. Fulton and Bernard B. Brown were nominiated for an Academy Award for their special effects work on this film, but lost to the special effects team for Paramount's Reap the Wild Wind. Universal press materials state that stuntman Dale Van Sickle had been an All-American football player, and stuntman Louis Tomei was an ex-Indianapolis race car driver. On 8 Apr 1942, HR announced that independent producer Frank Lloyd had ended his partnership with Jack H. Skirball. Modern sources indicate that Skirball left this production at that time and was replaced by associate producer George Waggner. Modern sources also state that Eddie Parker worked as a stuntman on this production. For more information on Universal's "Invisible Man" series, please consult the Series Index and the entry for The Invisible Man (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2148).

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Aug 1942
---
Daily Variety
24 Apr 1942
---
Daily Variety
30 Jul 1942
p. 3
Film Daily
7 Aug 1942
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 1942
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 1942
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
24 Apr 1942
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1942
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1942
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
8 Aug 1942
p. 826
New York Times
6 Aug 1942
p. 23
Variety
5 Aug 1942
p. 27
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2nd unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Curtis Siodmak
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Les White
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
R. A. Gausman
Set dec
Edward R. Robinson
Assoc
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Gen mus dir
Mus dir
SOUND
[Sd] tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
PRODUCTION MISC
William F. Bloecher
Unit pub wrt
STAND INS
Dale Van Sickle
Stunts
Stunts
SOURCES
LITERARY
Inspired by the novel The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (London, 1897).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
The Invisible Spy
Release Date:
31 July 1942
Production Date:
22 Apr--late May 1942
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
11 July 1942
LP11513
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79
Length(in feet):
7,140
Country:
United States
PCA No:
8584
SYNOPSIS

Foreign spies Baron Ikito and Conrad Stauffer go to the print shop of Frank Raymond, whose real name is Frank Griffin, in an attempt to buy his grandfather's infamous formula for invisibility. When Frank refuses, they threaten to cut off his fingers, but he manages to escape. Frank then meets with government agent John Gardiner, who asks him to turn over the secret formula to the United States government. Frank tells Gardiner that his grandfather's invention is too hazardous, but he changes his mind when America enters World War II. After he insists that he be the only person to use the dangerous drug, Frank is parachuted into Berlin in order to discover Germany's plans to sabotage the American munitions industry. Using his cloak of invisibility, he eludes a German patrol and meets with his contact, mortician Dr. Arnold Schmidt. Schmidt sends him to the home of double agent Maria Sorenson, who is dining that night with Gestapo officer Karl Heiser. Heiser tells Maria that Hitler has ordered a secret attack on the United States, but does not tell her the exact date after the invisible, and slightly drunk, Frank ruins the Gestapo man's plans for a romantic tryst. Later that night, Stauffer and Ikito return to Berlin, and Stauffer questions Heiser about the missing parachutist and Heiser's activities with Maria. The two Gestapo officers then go to Maria's home, where Stauffer places Heiser under arrest for trying to steal his job and girl friend. Suspecting that Maria is harboring Frank, Stauffer then announces that he has, in his office, the secret plans for the invasion of America. The ...

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Foreign spies Baron Ikito and Conrad Stauffer go to the print shop of Frank Raymond, whose real name is Frank Griffin, in an attempt to buy his grandfather's infamous formula for invisibility. When Frank refuses, they threaten to cut off his fingers, but he manages to escape. Frank then meets with government agent John Gardiner, who asks him to turn over the secret formula to the United States government. Frank tells Gardiner that his grandfather's invention is too hazardous, but he changes his mind when America enters World War II. After he insists that he be the only person to use the dangerous drug, Frank is parachuted into Berlin in order to discover Germany's plans to sabotage the American munitions industry. Using his cloak of invisibility, he eludes a German patrol and meets with his contact, mortician Dr. Arnold Schmidt. Schmidt sends him to the home of double agent Maria Sorenson, who is dining that night with Gestapo officer Karl Heiser. Heiser tells Maria that Hitler has ordered a secret attack on the United States, but does not tell her the exact date after the invisible, and slightly drunk, Frank ruins the Gestapo man's plans for a romantic tryst. Later that night, Stauffer and Ikito return to Berlin, and Stauffer questions Heiser about the missing parachutist and Heiser's activities with Maria. The two Gestapo officers then go to Maria's home, where Stauffer places Heiser under arrest for trying to steal his job and girl friend. Suspecting that Maria is harboring Frank, Stauffer then announces that he has, in his office, the secret plans for the invasion of America. The inexperienced American spy falls for the bait and becomes trapped in Stauffer's office, where, despite his invisibility, he is questioned by the Gestapo officer. Frank manages to escape, however, by setting the office on fire, and takes with him a list of every German and Japanese agent in America. After giving the information to Schmidt, Frank goes to the German prison holding Heiser and agrees to release the condemned man if he reveals everything about the planned German attack on the United States. Heiser agrees and states that a suicide plane squadron is leaving Germany for New York that night. Meanwhile, Schmidt is arrested and questioned by Stauffer, so when Frank stops at the mortician's home, he finds only Maria. After Frank accuses her of being a German spy, they are both captured by Ikito and his Japanese agents. Ikito then makes plans to take Frank to Japan, but Frank and Maria flee when Stauffer and his men raid the Japanese embassy. Realizing that he has failed in his mission, and thus dishonored his country, Ikito murders Stauffer, then commits hara-kiri. Frank and Maria make their escape in a German plane, but first bomb the airfield holding the planes bound for New York. Later, their plane is shot down over England, but they manage to parachute to safety. Frank is then taken to an English hospital, where his invisibility wears off and he learns that Maria is truly a British agent whose real name is Goodrich.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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