Boris Karloff, Eddie Craven, and Marie Wilson in The Invisible Menace (1938)


(director: John Farrow; screenwriters: Crane Wilbur/from the play by Ralph Spencer Zink; cinematographer: L. Wm. O’Connell; editor: Harold Mclerner; music: Bernhard Kaun; cast: Boris Karloff (Jevries), Marie Wilson (Sally), Eddie Craven (Eddie Pratt), Eddie Acuff (Cpl. Sanger), Regis Toomey (Lt. Matthews), Henry Kolker (Colonel Hackett), Cy Kendall (Colonel [Bob] Rogers), Charles Trowbridge (Dr. Brook), Harlan Tucker (Reilly), Phyllis Barry (Aline Dolman); Runtime: 55; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bryan Foy; WB; 1938)

No reason to see it unless you’re a Karloff completest or just looking for a time killer.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A ridiculous quickie B movie comical whodunit. It was remade in 1943 as Murder on the Waterfront. Director John Farrow(“Hondo”/”The Sea Chase”/”The Big Clock”) sets it at a military arsenal base on Powder Island. Crane Wilbur bases the script on the play by Ralph Spencer Zink.

The dim-witted army private Eddie Pratt (Eddie Craven) smuggles his cheeky new wife Sally (Marie Wilson) onto the base in a duffle-bag so they can spend their honeymoon together in secret. But when a base civilian ordinance expert named Reilly (Harlan Tucker) is killed with a bayonet after tortured in the explosives storage building where the couple is hiding, their privacy is over. The gruff base commander investigator (Henry Kolker) feels overwhelmed by the case and calls in from Washington his top-level investigator friend Colonel Bob Rogers (Cy Kendall) to help with the investigation. The prime suspect is the civilian engineer Jevries (Boris Karloff), who is caught by Rogers using a false name and was previously imprisoned ten years for theft on a Philippine army base as his wife (Phyllis Barry) and Reilly falsely fingered him.

If Jevries is innocent, then we’re left trying to figure out who did the crime and why.

The acting was wooden, the script was lame and Boris is at his worse. No reason to see it unless you’re a Karloff completest or just looking for a time killer.