The Invisible Ray (1936 film)
|The Invisible Ray|
|Directed by||Lambert Hillyer|
|Produced by||Edmund Grainger|
|Written by||John Colton|
|Music by||Franz Waxman|
|Edited by||Bernard W. Burton|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||January 20, 1936|
|Running time||82 min.|
A visionary doctor, Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) invents a telescope that can look far out into space — into the Andromeda Galaxy — and pick up rays of light that will show the Earth's past. Looking at the past on a television-like screen, a group of assembled doctors as well as Dr. Rukh see a large meteor hit the earth thousands of years ago. Rukh convinces the doctors to go on an expedition to find the meteor that appeared to land in Africa. While in Africa, Rukh finds the meteor but is exposed to strong radiation ("Radium X") from the rock, which makes his touch death on the spot, and Dr. Benet (Bela Lugosi) develops a serum that holds this effect at bay, and takes a piece of the stone back to Europe and uses it to heal people, including curing the blind. Rukh, suffering from the radiation, glows at night when not treated, and is slowly losing his mind.
The situation is complicated by the romantic relationship between his wife, Diana (Frances Drake) and Ronald Drake (Frank Lawton) - the nephew of Lady Arabella Stevens (Beulah Bondi), who was part of the African expedition. Crazed with a desire for revenge, Rukh follows his enemies to Paris. There he fakes his own death, upon which Ronald and Diana marry. Rukh then uses the toxic radiation poisoning imparted to him by Radium X exposure to kill off the members of the expedition. He saves Ronald and Diana for last, but finds himself unable to kill his wife.
Rukh's hesitation brings him close to the point where the radiation poisoning will become fatal to himself. He had been able to stave off the terminal stage by taking the antidote developed by Dr. Benet, but Rukh's blind mother (who had foreseen her son's undoing, and had her blindness healed by the meteor) smashes the antidote bottle, and he bursts into flames as he jumps out a window.
- Boris Karloff as Dr. Janos Rukh (billed as KARLOFF)
- Béla Lugosi as Dr. Felix Benet
- Frances Drake as Diana Rukh
- Frank Lawton as Ronald Drake
- Violet Kemble Cooper as Mother Rukh
- Walter Kingsford as Sir Francis Stevens
- Beulah Bondi as Lady Arabella Stevens
- Frank Reicher as Professor Meiklejohn
- Paul Weigel as Monsieur Noyer
- Georges Renavent as Chief of the Sûreté (as Georges Renevant)
The film was originally budgeted at $166,785 but went $68,000 over budget.
The film features music by film composer Franz Waxman. Many of the sets and sound effects were later used in the Flash Gordon movie serials.
- Michael Brunas, John Brunas & Tom Weaver, Universal Horrors: The Studios Classic Films, 1931-46, McFarland, 1990 p151
- Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomohawk Press 2011 p 189
- Invisible Ray The Invisible Ray (1936 film) at the American Film Institute Catalog
- The Invisible Ray at the Internet Movie Database
- The Invisible Ray at AllMovie