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The Case studies

Neviditelný Muž / Der Unsichtbare
USA 1933
Director: James Whale

Produced by Universal Pictures Corporation, New York
Austrian Distributor: Universal
Czech Distributor: Universal Film, Praha
German Distributor:?

Overview of the censorship case THE INVISIBLE MAN

Austria Czechoslovakia Germany

4.4.1934: 10613
1951 m, 8 reels

21.3.1935: 363/35 Fc
banned for young people
2015 m; 8 reels

27.10.34: ?

THE INVISIBLE MAN was censored by the Magistrat Wien im selbständigen Wirkungsbereiche des Landes (Magistrate Vienna) according to registration card no. 10613 from the 4th April 1934. There was no kind of restriction noted, but according to PFL from 6th April 1934 the film was, by this time, without an official censorship decision.

The censorship procedure of THE INVISIBLE MAN in Czechoslovakia is very similar to DRACULA. The film was also qualified for public screening without cuts but rated for adults only. The reception of the film by the press can be considered as ambiguous. Pioneering trick scenes in the film and its technical performance were mentioned and appreciated in all reviews. But the simplification of the story comparing with the novel by H.G. Wells was disapproved. It was often criticised that the ethical dimension of the original source was suppressed and that the monstrosity and cheap sensationalism were the dominating points. Nevertheless the film was screened in a cinema used for premiére for four weeks (Havelka, 1936: 58)

It is not easy to provide evidence about the examination of THE INVISIBLE MAN in Germany because official documents were not available. It is not clear if the prohibition for public screening by the Censorship Office Berlin was really issued on 27th October or between the 5th and 17th November 1934 (Der Kinematograph, 5.12.1934). Since there is no censorship decision, no hint to the reasons for the ban can be found. The film premiered almost 20 years after its production, in June 1950.

Although THE INVISIBLE MAN was part of the Biennale programme and was called “one of the forthcoming hit films” (Der Kinematograph, 7.8.1934), the film was rarely mentioned afterwards in Germany.

by Laura Bezerra, Karin Moser and Tomáš Lachman


Source Edition urrogate Production Introduction Censorship Regulations Battleship Potemkin Horror Films Conclusion Bibliography Dracula Frankenstein Freaks King Kong The Invisible Man Vampyr Introduction The Case Studies Freaks Worldwide Genre and Censorship