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be a distinctive one
because of the unusual nature of the role.
He also wanted a highly-trained
and consummate actor,
who would be able to give extra
dimensions to what might be regarded
as merely a highly-charged,
melodramatic role.
Rains had played a vast range of roles
in his many years in the theatre,
and was never typecast.
So far, the film has been following
the HG Wells novel very closely,
but RC Sherriff quite rightly felt that some
changes in Wells's novel were necessary
in order to present a more unified
structure for a 70-minute film
and to give the mysterious stranger
certain sympathetic qualities for contrast.
Sherriffs modifications
were thoughtful and not capricious.
A change of scene.
We are introduced in this sequence
to two characters not in the novel at all,
but very much a strong presence
in the screenplay.
Dr Cranley, played by Henry Travers,
is obviously a scientist or medical man,
and we shortly find out that
the mysterious man at the inn
is probably Jack Griffin,
a scientist employed by Dr Cranley
who has been gone for a month,
working on a private experiment.
But his whereabouts are unknown.
Flora, played by Gloria Stuart,
is Dr Cranley's distressed daughter,
who, we can tell, is very much in love
with Jack Griffin, the stranger at the inn.
To get maximum mileage from this
character introduction and exposition,
we learn a bit about
Griffin's secretive experiments,
which, combined with what we've seen
of his actions previously at the inn,
and the film's title, The Invisible Man,
leaves little doubt
about what he's been up to.
The gradual revealment
is a necessary dramatic setup
for the events that will follow.
This exposition
of character relationships is expanded
by the introduction of Dr Kemp, played by
William Harrigan, a character in the novel
whose role is greatly enlarged
for dramatic purposes in the film.
He obviously is
in the employ of Flora's father,
as is Jack Griffin, the Rains character.
It's necessary to get
Flora and Kemp to another area,
via Whale's use
of the lateral camera move,
which, as in the theatre, breaks away
walls and leads us to another room.
Now Kemp is able to have
a more intimate discussion with Flora.
He's presented here
as a romantic rival for Flora,
and as a not particularly charming suitor.
While under contract
to Universal Pictures for four years,
Gloria Stuart, who plays Flora, did
two other films for director James Whale:
The Old Dark House in 1932
and The Kiss Before the Mirror in 1933.
Stuart has said that Whale was
an exceptionally well prepared
and enthusiastic director.
On his script, he had each
camera setup for the day's shooting
noted in his own handwriting
opposite the dialogue.
Many other performers and technicians
have noted Whale's meticulous approach.
William Harrigan had been an actor
on the stage since the age of five.
In 1929, he went to Hollywood
with the advent of talking pictures,
and the mass exodus
of many Broadway players.
Now, Dr Kemp is declaring,
quite emphatically, his feelings for Flora,
who, not too subtly, is surrounded by
flowers in the photographic compositions.
Flora, flowers.
Anyway, Flora amply
demonstrates a definitive example
of the attraction/repulsion theory
by her reaction
to Kemp's romantic overture.
In this instance,
repulsion wins hands down.
Meanwhile, back at the inn,
the mysterious stranger
is trying desperately
to find a solution to an aspect
of his experiment, one of many,
that we're not too clear about as yet.
We wonder about his intense frustration.
Una O'Connor,
whose real name was Agnes McGlade,
was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1880.
She attended convent school,
and joined the school
of the Abbey Players in Dublin.
She made her official debut in 1911.
Una acted with the Abbey Players,
the Irish Repertory Company,
and the Irish Literary Theatre,
in plays by Shakespeare, O'Casey,
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