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Film / The Amazing Transparent Man

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The Amazing Transparent Man is a 1960 Science Fiction B-Movie directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, starring Douglas Kennedy, Marguerite Chapman, James Griffith, and Ivan Triesault.

The plot concerns a scientist, Dr. Peter Ulof (Triesault), who—under duress—develops a method for turning men invisible. The particular "guinea pig" for this method is recently liberated career criminal Joey Faust (Kennedy), who is extorted into working for Ulof's boss, disgraced U.S. Army major Paul Krenner (Griffith), who is hoping to create an army for profit. Faust is enlisted to steal "atomic material" to use during the research.

Eventually, Faust discovers that the invisibility process is both unstable and deadly. It falls to the scientist and various others to stop this evil scheme before the world is truly doomed.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

The Amazing Transparent Man contains examples of these tropes:

  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: Apparently, leaving the uranium outside the safe while the invisibility machine's running will cause an explosion that'll destroy an entire county.
  • Binocular Shot: Used twice - and thanks to the use of Stock Footage, they randomly switch camera angles and locations, even though the guy holding them is standing perfectly still.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The final line in the movies is spoken by Dr. Ulof. He turns and faces the camera directly and asks the audience, "what would you do?"
  • Failed a Spot Check: The guard at the roadblock knows a man has escaped from prison yet fails to spot Faust, whose disguise is only a hat pulled halfway down his face. He can't disturb a sleeping man to make sure he's not the escapee?
  • Fantastic Aesop: In the end, Dr. Ulof is glad that the secret of invisibility was lost in the explosion. Otherwise, if the U.S. created an invisible army, the Soviets would steal the plans and create their own. Thank goodness that didn't happen!
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Laura ultimately decides to desert Krenner and tries to get Faust to run away with her. Faust isn't buying it.
  • I Have Your Wife: Dr. Ulof's daughter is being held by Krenner to ensure Ulof's cooperation. Similarly, Krenner has apparently promised to spring Julian's son from prison (the son is actually dead).
  • Invisibility: The plot involves making people transparent.
  • Meaningful Name: His last name is Faust - get it?
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: After Faust receives the invisibility treatment with the experimental radioactive material, he starts turning visible and invisible at random times.
  • Pretty in Mink: Laura wears a mink wrap when she drives the getaway car after breaking Faust out of prison, showing how she's well paid for her services.
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: It can turn people invisible.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Laura betrays Krenner and is shot by him.
    • Faust finally turns on Krenner for the sake of his own daughter (at Ulof's urging), and sacrifices himself by fighting Krenner whilst opening the safe with the uranium and triggering A Nuclear Oopsie.
  • Safecracking: Locks mean nothing to Faust. He picks them easily.
  • Villain Protagonist: Faust. The film begins with his escape from prison, and it's clear that he has no remorse for his crimes. He relishes the thought of going back to a life of robbing banks, he treats everyone he meets as a tool to accomplish his goals, and he isn't timid about using violence to do so.