THE INVISIBLE WOMAN. Universal Pictures, 1940. Virginia Bruce,John Barrymore, John Howard, Charlie Ruggles, Oscar Homolka. Directed by A. Edward Sutherland.

   More a low-key screwball comedy than a horror feature, The Invisible Woman is a genial, albeit rather forgettable affair. Released in 1940, seven years after James Whale’s The Invisible Man, the film has a light tone that makes it breezy fun, but not much more than that. Based on a story co-written by Kurt Siodmak (The Wolf Man) and directed by A. Edward Sutherland, the movie does what it is supposed to; namely, provide an hour plus of escapist entertainment.

   When oddball Professor Gibbs (John Barrymore) puts an advertisement in the paper for someone wanting to become invisible, he gets more than he bargained for when working girl Kitty Carroll (Virginia Bruce) shows up. Sassy and strong-willed, she’s determined to use her newfound ability to torment her sexist and demanding boss. While the invisible Carroll gets caught up in a love-hate relationship with playboy millionaire Richard Russell (John Howard), the zany professor is targeted by a gangster (Oscar Homolka) who wants the invisibility machine so he can safely return from his Mexican exile and visit the home country.

   The special effects, by today’s standards, are really nothing special. Truth be told, even for a 1940 feature, there’s nothing particularly impressive doing on in this realm. Director James Whale certainly did it all better years before in the original entry into the Invisible Man series.

   Still, there are some laughs to be had in this comedy. Did I mention Charles Ruggles plays a bumbling butler, devoted – at least financially – to Russell? I guess I would see this one again with a crowd, should the opportunity arise. But to watch it again on VHS? Probably not.