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DVD review: 'Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man'

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'Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man'

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Abbott and Costello were one of the bigger comedy teams of yesteryear. While they had many popular routines and they are the source of the legendary 'Who's On First' bit, they also became known for the series of movies where they met famous monsters.

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Let's explore 'Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man.'

Tommy Nelson (Arthur Franz) is a boxer who is framed for the murder of his manger after he refuses to throw a fight. He escapes from jail and turns to Lou (Lou Costello) and Bud (Bud Abbott), two numbskulls who have just barely graduated from detective school, to help prove his innocence. With the police hot on his trail, Tommy convinces his fiancee's uncle to inject him with an experimental drug that will render him invisible. Looking at the title, you can surmise that he is successful.

As our hapless heroes conduct an investigation with their invisible friend, mobsters begin to make their presence known.

Can Tommy prove that he didn't kill anyone and that it is the suspicious-looking fellows who are lurking around? Can he become visible again? Can Abbott and Costello make it through a story without any hijinks?

As you can predict, this is a lighthearted affair. There is nothing even remotely scary or horrific about the premise which seems like it is just a prolonged comedy short. The boxing setup was a very popular trope in old movies and vaudeville, so this is into some well-worn territory. The invisible man just so happens to be an important ingredient in this story

If you aren’t familiar with the sense of humor of A&C, it is generally verbal in nature with some silly, intermittently amusing visual elements. It isn’t overly aggressive with the slapstick while it lacks the acerbic wit of the Marx Brothers. I have always thought of Abbott and Costello as a slightly watered-down Laurel and Hardy, if that means anything to you.

For the time, the special effects were probably something special. There are a few admirable moments, but there are far more which anyone can tell that the hat, utensils or whatever object is being held up with some invisible wire. To the film’s credit, though, it actually references the original Invisible Man story, which was a nice touch.

Special features include: nothing.

'Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man' isn't essential viewing. It isn't even a good place to start if you want to explore the duo. If you know that you like this stuff, it’s not a bad experience at all, just a slightly cheap mashup with little substance.

Not Rated 82 minutes 1951

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