The 1933 version of the work of H.G. Wells opens with title and credits. A man trudges through the snow to the small village of Iping. His destination is the Lion's Head Pub and Inn. The place is a buzz of activity: drinking and laughing, and a game of darts.
The stranger, Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains) walks in covered from head to toe, head bandaged, and wearing a false nose.
All sound in the Pub ceases. The stranger approaches the proprietor, Herbert Hall (Forrester Harvey) and requests, "I want a room and a fire." Hall calls to his wife, Jenny (Una OConnor). Jenny explains they have no rooms ready, as summer is their normal season, but one can be prepared.
Jenny calls to Minnie (Merle Tottenham). Jenny leads Dr. Griffin to his room, sending Minnie on ahead. Minnie lights a lamp while Jenny builds a fire and explains, "It's the coldest winter we've had down here for years." Griffin asks about his luggage, but Jenny explains she'll arrange for it in the morning.
His final request before Jenny departs is for some food. Griffin closes the drapes in his room. The townsfolk are suspicious of the stranger. One man speculates, "If you ask me, he's a criminal flying from justice." He advises Herbert to lock up his money.
Jenny carries a tray up to his room and walks in without knocking. Griffin asks about a key and is told there is none. He emphatically states, "I want to be left alone and undisturbed." Jenny leaves and Griffin removes his coat. Jenny returns to the kitchen only to be told by Minnie that she forgot the mustard. Jenny makes a second trip to Griffin's room. Again she does not knock, just bursts in. Griffin is seated, and the lower half of his face is gone.
Jenny is shocked by what she sees as Griffin masks his face with a napkin. Griffin angrily reminds the landlady, "I told you not to disturb me."
Jenny cautiously approaches, mustard in hand, and asks Griffin if he's had a motor car accident. Griffin tells Jenny to take the overcoat to dry, but leave the hat. Jenny leaves Griffin's room. She runs downstairs to report to all who'll listen, "Bandages right up to the top of his head, all around his ears."