H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man – The White Rabbit

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Brady heads over to France after a story surfaces about an invisible rabbit.

That’s one of the most succinct story synopsis I’ve had to type for this series, but it seems to cover everything.  I love the opening few minutes, which sees Suzanne Dumassie (Marla Landi), out walking her dog, suddenly watch with incredulity as a rabbit appears before her eyes.  I think it’s the juxtaposition between the rabbit’s sudden materialisation and the dramatic music which is rather amusing.

Normally in a series like this you’d expect to see a collection of British actors putting on French accents.  That’s generally what happens here, although with one exception – Marla Landi was Italian.  Quite why an Italian was playing French is anyone’s guess (but I assume that genuine French actors were thin on the ground in late 1950’s Britain).

Keith Pylott, here playing Suzanne’s father, had a very long career although with my Doctor Who hat on he’ll always be the Aztec High Priest Autloc to me.  Austin Trevor is another very decent actor attempting a mild French accent (luckily nobody goes overboard with comedy accents – although Paul Daneman comes closest).

As so often with the series, the mystery is easily solved.  The rabbit was observed in a field opposite a large, heavily guarded, chateau.  It therefore seems plain that invisibility experiments are taking place inside.  But even if this were so, why would it concern Brady?  Have invisibility experiments been outlawed?  If not, then there’s no reason to suppose that the work in the chateau is anything but disinterested, scientific research.  Of course it turns out to be part of an evil masterplan – but Brady and the others weren’t to know that …..

Rocher (Daneman) is a fascist politician who dreams of taking over the country with a handpicked team of invisible men.  Given that Brady’s the expert in this field (even if his self-inflicted invisibility was accidental) it’s strange they didn’t attempt to lure him over from Britain in order to pick his invisible brains.

The plot plays out as you’d expect – damsel in distress Suzanne is abducted and taken to the chateau.  Bound and gagged, she’s due to be used as an unwilling guinea pig (or white rabbit) unless Brady can save the day.  Hmm, I don’t think she has anything to worry about.

Another efficient, if somewhat unremarkable, story.  As touched upon before, there’s not always the time to develop characters in any depth, so Rocher remains a rather mysterious figure.  He wants to take over the country because, well, just because.

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