The Invisible Man (1975)

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Released 15-Aug-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Gallery-Photo
Production Notes-Production Paperwork PDF's
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1975
Running Time 633:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alan J. Levi
Sigmund Neufeld Jr.
Robert Michael Lewis
Leslie Stevens
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring David McCallum
Melinda Fee
Craig Stevens
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Richard Clements
Henry Mancini
Pete Rugolo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Invisible Man by science fiction writer HG Wells has appeared on our screens, big and small, in various incarnations. The classic 1940s movie starring Claude Raines may have been the high point. Other adaptations have been only moderately successful including semi-adaptations like Hollow Man. In 1975 Herve Bennett developed The Invisible Man for NBC featuring the superhot British actor David McCallum ( The Man From Uncle, Colditz). Bennett knew his way around television, having been involved in The Mod Squad and Star Trek. Executive producer Stephen Boscho was responsible for such great hits as LA Law, Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. Although The Invisible Man had its merits and is an entertaining show, it was not a great success and was cancelled after one year.

     This DVD Set from Madman Entertainment assembles the complete series, comprising a pilot and 12 episodes (including one unaired) over four DVDs. By today's standards of science fiction action series it is a little naff but those, like me, who have fond memories of watching the series as a young child will get a lot of fun out of this set.

     The Invisible Man follows the HG Wells novel only in spirit. McCallum plays scientist Dr Daniel Westin, who works with his wife Kate (Melinda Fee) in a research lab where he is working on a project for matter transference. Serendipitously he comes up with a machine that can make objects invisible for a short period of time. The boss of the research institute the Klae Corporation (played by Jackie Cooper in the pilot) is astonished and overjoyed at the success of the experiment and makes a deal with the military to research the possibility of invisible soldiers. Pacifist Daniel is horrified and enraged and breaks into the laboratory, destroying the machine and his research. Before doing so he makes himself invisible and, as luck would have it, he is unable to reverse the effects.

     The extra length pilot episode portrays Daniel as a somewhat harried figure, unable to become visible and seemingly a man on the run. When the series started proper the nature of the show changed somewhat. Rather than a haunted man and his distressed wife racing against time to restore his corporeality it becomes a husband and wife spy romp. Now known secretly as the Klae Resource Western and his trusty sidekick Kate embark on a series of adventures which just happen to use his special abilities. Each episode uses his trademark invisibility as a means of solving the puzzle and there is a lot of lively banter between the couple. Solving the problem of his invisibility seems like a forgotten plot point!

     As said, this is not classic television but it just happens to be a lot of fun. Craig Stevens has taken over from Jackie Cooper as their contact at the Klae Corporation. His role is to set up the mission and express exasperation when Daniel and Kate depart from the rulebook.

     This is classic 70s television so each episode has a few sexual references and a car chase or two. It is a shock to see a married couple exchanging randy banter, TV today sees middle aged married couples as anything but sexy. Interestingly an undercurrent to the show is political machinations over energy issues, something very much on the American mind in the OPEC era USA.

     The Invisible Man makes good use of the charm of David McCallum and his interplay with Melinda Fee is enjoyable throughout. The plots vary in silliness, though not by much! Whether it is chasing down art thieves, protecting potential kidnap victims or outing phony spiritualists the pair can handle any mission!

     Not only does this DVD set include the pilot which was aired some four months before the series proper but it also includes a final under aired episode. Those looking for cutting-edge television should perhaps go elsewhere but anyone who remembers the series fondly from the past could do worse than pick up this set.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The DVD case for The Invisible Man proudly states that is available for the first time on DVD, restored from the original film elements. It is perhaps one of those TV shows that did not cry out for a priority DVD release but it is nevertheless a good thing that it has arrived.

     The episodes are shown in their original 4:3 aspect ratio. This may seem a given however anyone with a bit of spare time on their hands should have a look at the reviews for the Blu-ray set released overseas which has garnered some of the worst criticism in memory. Not only was the entire series crammed onto one dual layered Blu-ray disc but the finished product did not come anywhere near Blu-ray quality.

     This is a restored presentation. The word “restoration" can have any one of a number of meanings. It could mean anything from a simple assemblage to a full-blown frame by frame restoration. In this case it is closer to the former than the latter. The quality of the DVD is consistent throughout but at no stage do you think anything other than that you're watching a 1970s TV show.

     The presentation is quite clear and bright and the flesh tones are reasonably accurate. The colours are consistent with the 1970s which is, in its own way, quite disturbing! There are artefacts throughout however, to be fair, they are only really noticeable in certain scenes, usually stock footage.

     There is one point where the series and the presentation jars. The series was shot on film however all the effects were done on video. So whenever a scene begins in video you know that Daniel is about to walk in and start doing his invisibility trick. Some of the effects are quite dodgy and you can see uneven joins in the occasional video effects. My favourite was in episode 3 where the strings moving an actor could clearly be seen!

     In short, this is not a lovingly remastered DVD presentation. It does, however, looked pretty much as I remembered it and fans may not be concerned at all with the presentation.

    There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The Invisible Man has an English 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack running at 224 Kb/s.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout. There are no technical defects with the sound.

    The theme for the show was written by the great Henry Mancini and is quite memorable.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The DVD set contains but a few special features.

Feature length pilot episode

     This is described as a special feature. It is difficult to understand how this could be the case. Without the pilot it is hard to understand the background to the story despite the summary at the beginning of the episodes. At roughly 70 minutes it is hardly "feature length" but anyway...

Image gallery

    This is a short series of stills from the TV show including production photos.

Production paperwork PDFs

     Insert the first disc into your computer and you can access some of the original production materials including the press kit. This is actually quite fun looking at the way the show was promoted in the 1970s.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is the set to buy.

Summary

     The Invisible Man may have lasted for only one series and it is by no means a classic but it was a fun romp and anyone who remembers the show from the 70s will get a lot of fun out of this set.

     The DVD quality is consistent with the original show and is quite watchable.

     The extras are brief but I would suspect that the likely market for this DVD would not have justified the expense of producing new materials.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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