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 room. ...

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.

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

More Less

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.

Less

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

TOP SEARCHES

Human Desire

The working title of this film was The Human Beast . A Sep 1950 HR news item reveals that producers Jerry Wald and Norman Krasna originally ... >>

Daisy Kenyon

According to a Jul 1945 HR news item, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Elizabeth Janeway's novel for $100,000, intending to star Gene Tierney in the title ... >>

Westward the Women

The film's pre-release title was Pioneer Women . The opening credits list Robert Taylor and Denise Darcel first, with several other cast members listed after them. ... >>

Watermelon Man

The film was originally titled The Night the Sun Came Out on Happy Hollow Lane, which was later shortened to The Night the Sun Came Out. ... >>

The Covered Wagon

Two title cards introduce the story: “The blood of America is the blood of pioneers—the blood of lion-hearted men and women who carved a splendid civilization out of an ... >>

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.