H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man – Odds Against Death

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Brady is appalled to learn that one of his most trusted colleagues, Professor Owens (Walter Fitzgerald), is refusing to return from his holiday in Italy.  Instead he’s taken to spending all his time at the roulette table.  Brady rushes out to confront him, but everything’s not as it seems ….

It’s a little odd that the opening scene effectively blows the mystery.  We see Owens and his teenage daughter Suzy (Julia Lockwood) being menaced by Curly Caletta (Alan Tilvern) which makes it pretty obvious that Owens is being forced to use his mathematical skills in order to win huge sums of money for Caletta.

Had this scene not been included, then the reason for Owens’ sudden change of character would have been less easy to understand.  But no matter, bringing Tilvern in at the start means that he’s got a little more screentime (which is most welcome).

Alan Tilvern had the sort of face which ensured he spent a great deal of his time playing villains.  He only has to pop up here in the background, glowering gently, and you just know that his character’s a bad type.  And with a name like Curly Caletta it might not surprise you to hear that he’s an American gangster of Italian extraction.

Walter Fitzgerald, who earned a guest star credit, isn’t called on to do a great deal except look  worried and bewildered whilst Julia Lockwood, playing Owens’ daughter, has the sort of cut-class accent which wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a 1930’s film.  She’s very winsome and appealing as a damsel in distress though, even if she doesn’t have a great deal to do.

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Once Brady learns of Owens’ dilemma he pledges to help, which means using his invisible skills to rig the roulette table.  It’s rather strange that nobody questions the way that the ball seems to suddenly have developed a mind of its own – dashing from left to right until it settles precisely where Brady wants it to go!  Dee, who unexpectedly turns out to be a devotee of the roulette table, is more than delighted at the way things turn out.

Familiar faces can be spotted at the casino.  Olaf Pooley is the harassed casino manager whilst Oliver Reed is an uncredited player at the roulette table.

Like the ITC shows of the sixties, this episode mixes stock footage and studio sets to create an impression of foreign climes (pretty effectively it must be said).  The climax allows the invisible Brady to confront Caletta with a string of obvious comments. “Your luck’s run out. The odds are against you. You spun the wheel just once too often.”

Another agreeable twenty five minutes, helped along by Alan Tilvern’s polished villainy.

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