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The Phantom Ruler (Stanley Price) has discovered the secret of
invisibility, which has to do with a certain compound being lit by a
certain ray. Now the guy figures being the master of invisibility, he can
become the leader of his own invisible army to rule the whole world - but
there is a small glitch, he doesn't have enough money to secure a big
enough supply of the compound, and since there are no large enough
supplies of the compount in the USA he has to ship it from abroad and
smuggle it in rather than just steal it. So he has spent quite a bit of
money on smuggling a handful of refugees from other countries into the
USA, providing them with false documents and CVs to get them jobs in high
profile companies ... to rob these companies, extort them or whatever else
you can think of.
But when the Phantom Ruler and gang conduct a bank job
using the invisibility ray that leaves the police baffled, that puts
insurance detectives Lane (Richard Webb) and Carol (Aline Towne) onto the
job, and they'e quick to get on the gang's trail, even if they don't
figure there's an invisible man in the gang's ranks for the longest time.
The Phantom Ruler has a problem though, the supply of his compound runs
low even for personal use, so he can't use it all that much and leaves
most of the actual work to his visible and not very bright henchmen, so
Carol and especially Lane manage to spoil his plans at pretty much every
twist and turn - which leads to many fistfights, shootouts, carecrashes,
explosions, narrow escapes, and of course chases by foot, car and boat,
until ultimately Lane and Carol collect enough evidence to put two and two
together to figure out the secret of invisibility - but by then the
Phantom Ruler has pulled another hair-raising bank job. He succeeds, too,
but Lane manages to capture one of his men (George Meeker) and makes him
talk, then raids the hideout of the Phantom Ruler with the help of one
single cop. Of course, despite being outnumbered and despite one of their
opponents being invisible, Lane and the cop succeed in the end ...
Invisible Monster is pretty solid for a serial from 1950, but it also
shows the format has been in steady decline for the last decade or so and
is now on its tail end (even if Republic hung onto it about 5 more years):
Basically, quite a bit of action of this one was lifted from earlier
serials, the main attraction of the piece (invisibility) is handled rather
unspectacularly and without wasting much time or effort on special
effects, the cast is disappointingly small given the fact this is about a
baddie wanting to build himself an army to conquer the world, and the plot
and situations are pretty much routine fare bordering on the boring.
the plus side, at least The Invisible Monster is decently paced,
and it tells its tired yarn well. And some of the stock footage used is at
least pretty exciting.
Basically, nothing to get overly excited about,
but an ok cliffhanger from the tail end of the era of cliffhangers ...