The Invisible Ghost (1941)

62-64 mins | Mystery | 25 April 1941

Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Murder by the Stars , Phantom Monster and The Phantom Killer , which was also the release title of an unrelated Monogram film released in 1942. According to a 21 Feb 1941 HR news item, the film's story was inspired by the recent "suicide-murder" of General Walter G. Krivitsky. However, there is no similarity between the plot of this film and the life of Krivitsky, a former Soviet military intelligence officer who shot himself in a Washington, D.C. hotel ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Murder by the Stars , Phantom Monster and The Phantom Killer , which was also the release title of an unrelated Monogram film released in 1942. According to a 21 Feb 1941 HR news item, the film's story was inspired by the recent "suicide-murder" of General Walter G. Krivitsky. However, there is no similarity between the plot of this film and the life of Krivitsky, a former Soviet military intelligence officer who shot himself in a Washington, D.C. hotel room. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Apr 1941.
---
Daily Variety
11-Apr-41
---
Film Daily
17 Apr 1941.
---
Harrison's Reports
17 May 41
p. 78.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Mar 41
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 41
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 41
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 41
p.14
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 41
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Apr 41
p. 738.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Apr 41
p. 111.
New York Times
11 Feb 41
p. 1.
New York Times
13 Feb 41
p. 21.
New York Times
8 May 41
p. 21.
Variety
14 May 1941.
---
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Murder by the Stars
The Phantom Killer
Phantom Monster
Release Date:
25 April 1941
Production Date:
20 Mar--late Mar 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
25 April 1941
Copyright Number:
LP10440
Duration(in mins):
62-64
Length(in feet):
5,659
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7243
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As wealthy Charles Kessler sits down to dinner, he speaks lovingly to the empty chair at the other end of the table as if his wife were sitting there. His daughter Virginia explains to her puzzled boyfriend, Ralph Dickson, that her mother left Kessler for his best friend several years ago, and her father always behaves this way on their wedding anniversary. Mrs. Kessler is actually nearby, however, having been rescued years before by Jules, the gardener, after she and her lover were in a car accident. Now mentally unbalanced, she is kept hidden on her husband's estate, her presence a secret to everyone except Jules and his wife, who suggests that Mrs. Kessler might have something to do with the rash of unsolved murders in the area. Later that night, Kessler sees his wife looking at him through the window, which causes him to go into a trance and murder Cecile Mannix, the maid. Cecile's body is discovered the next morning by the butler, Evans, who had overheard Cecile confronting Ralph about their past relationship the night before. When the police find a note from Ralph in Cecile's room, Ralph is convicted of her murder and, despite Kessler's and Virginia's pleas to the governor, executed. Soon thereafter, Ralph's brother Paul arrives, having recently returned from South America. Paul wants to look for the real murderer, and Kessler, who has no memory of his trance-induced actions, invites Paul to stay in his home. That night, Mrs. Kessler makes another appearance, and Kessler goes into a trance and murders Jules. The following night, the sight of his wife again sends Kessler into ... +


As wealthy Charles Kessler sits down to dinner, he speaks lovingly to the empty chair at the other end of the table as if his wife were sitting there. His daughter Virginia explains to her puzzled boyfriend, Ralph Dickson, that her mother left Kessler for his best friend several years ago, and her father always behaves this way on their wedding anniversary. Mrs. Kessler is actually nearby, however, having been rescued years before by Jules, the gardener, after she and her lover were in a car accident. Now mentally unbalanced, she is kept hidden on her husband's estate, her presence a secret to everyone except Jules and his wife, who suggests that Mrs. Kessler might have something to do with the rash of unsolved murders in the area. Later that night, Kessler sees his wife looking at him through the window, which causes him to go into a trance and murder Cecile Mannix, the maid. Cecile's body is discovered the next morning by the butler, Evans, who had overheard Cecile confronting Ralph about their past relationship the night before. When the police find a note from Ralph in Cecile's room, Ralph is convicted of her murder and, despite Kessler's and Virginia's pleas to the governor, executed. Soon thereafter, Ralph's brother Paul arrives, having recently returned from South America. Paul wants to look for the real murderer, and Kessler, who has no memory of his trance-induced actions, invites Paul to stay in his home. That night, Mrs. Kessler makes another appearance, and Kessler goes into a trance and murders Jules. The following night, the sight of his wife again sends Kessler into a murderous altered state, and he enters Virginia's room, advancing on his sleeping daughter until a lightning flash jolts him out of his trance. Shaken, he returns downstairs, and Mrs. Kessler appears again. The next morning, the household is shocked to discover that a portrait of Mrs. Kessler has been slashed. Kessler suggests that whoever defaced the portrait also committed the murders, but police detective Williams tells him that the police were stationed outside all night, and no one entered the house. The body of Ryan, one of the police officers, is then discovered behind the curtains. Meanwhile, Paul examines the portrait and notices a thread from Kessler's robe, and the robe is then found in Evans' room. The police are ready to arrest the butler for the murders, but Paul convinces them to bring in a psychiatrist to examine Evans first. While Evans is being questioned, the police find Mrs. Kessler stealing food from the kitchen and take her upstairs. At the sight of her, Kessler goes into a trance and begins to strangle Williams, but the trance suddenly ends when Mrs. Kessler dies. Kessler is shocked to learn that he is the murderer, and as the police lead him away, he bids farewell to his wife's portrait. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.