Island of Lost Souls

( 7 )

Overview

This first film version of H.G. Wells' Island of Dr. Moreau stars Charles Laughton as Dr.Moreau, a dedicated but sadly misguided scientist who rules the roost on a remote island. Shipwrecked sailor Edward Parker Richard Arlen finds himself on Moreau's island, agreeing to stick around until another boat can come along and take him home. But that's not quite what Moreau has in mind: he'd rather Parker stay on the island and marry the exotic Lota Kathleen Burke, who curiously possesses the characteristics of the ...
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Overview

This first film version of H.G. Wells' Island of Dr. Moreau stars Charles Laughton as Dr.Moreau, a dedicated but sadly misguided scientist who rules the roost on a remote island. Shipwrecked sailor Edward Parker Richard Arlen finds himself on Moreau's island, agreeing to stick around until another boat can come along and take him home. But that's not quite what Moreau has in mind: he'd rather Parker stay on the island and marry the exotic Lota Kathleen Burke, who curiously possesses the characteristics of the panther. In fact, all the island's natives seem more animal than human, especially the hirsute Bela Lugosi. And why not? They are animals who've been transformed by Moreau into humanlike creatures via surgery. Moreau's plans to mate Parker and Lota are complicated by the arrival of Parker's fiancee Leila Hyams, who has been brought to the island by ship's captain Stanley Fields, one of Moreau's flunkies. When Moreau kills Fields for this insubordination, he makes the mistake of breaking one of the rules he himself has imposed on the island: That no creature shall kill another. Island of Lost Souls does its job of inducing goosebumps so well that one can forgive the cherubic excesses of Charles Laughton in his portrayal of Dr. Moreau. The film would be remade under Wells' original title in 1978, with Burt Lancaster in the Laughton role.
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Special Features

Audio commentary featuring film historian Gregory Mank; New conversation between filmmaker John Landis, Oscar-winning makeup artist Rick Baker, and genre expert Bob Burns; New interviews with horror film historian David J. Skal; filmmaker Richard Stanley, the original director of the ill-fated 1996 adaptation; and Gerald Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh of the band Devo; Short 1976 film by Devo, featuring the songs "Secret Angent Man" and "Jack Homo"; Stills gallery; Theatrical trailer; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by writer Christine Smallwood
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
The Island of Lost Souls is that rarity, a horror film from the 1930s that still seems scary. While it may seem a bit creaky by contemporary standards, the film has retained its raw power to unnerve, thanks largely to Charles Laughton, who brings a vivid, sweaty amorality to his performance that's truly disturbing; lots of mad scientists in the movies have played God, but few made it seem more morally repugnant than Laughton. Make-up man Wally Westmore's creations genuinely resemble a grotesque middle ground between humans and animals; if make-up technique has improved considerably since this film was made, the crudity of the effects actually works in this context, giving Moreau's creations a rough, unpolished quality that suits the story perfectly. And while the film is extremely modest in its onscreen violence, the offscreen mutilations are quite shocking in context; the hideously pained overheard screams of Moreau's "manimals" (and later Moreau himself) are as chillingly effective as a hundred Tom Savini-designed limb-loppings. In its day, The Island of Lost Souls was considered a film that went too far (it was banned in England until the late 1960s), and its rough audacity gives it a power that hasn't dulled all these years later; it's inarguably superior to its latter-day remakes, both titled The Island of Dr. Moreau, after the H.G. Wells novel on which the films were based.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/2011
  • UPC: 715515088015
  • Original Release: 1932
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: A
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:10:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 11,410

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Laughton Dr. Moreau
Bela Lugosi Sayer of the Law
Richard Arlen Edward Parker
Leila Hyams Ruth Thomas
Kathleen Burke Lota, the Panther Woman
Arthur Hohl Montgomery
Stanley Fields Capt. of the Covena
Bob Kortman Hogan
Hans Steinke Ouran
Harry Ekezian Gola
Rosemary Grimes Samoan Girl
Paul Hurst Capt. Donahue
George Irving American Consul
Joe Bonomo
Larry "Buster" Crabbe
John George
Alan Ladd Ape Man
Bob Milasch
Constantine Romanoff
Jack Walters
Duke York Ape Man
Robert Kerr
Tetsu Komai M'ling
Randolph Scott Bit Part
Panther Woman
Technical Credits
Erle C. Kenton Director
Gordon Jennigns Special Effects
Karl Struss Cinematographer
Wally Westmore Makeup
Philip Wylie Screenwriter
Waldemar Young Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 8, 2013

    Strange but good movie !!!!!! This is one of the strangest movi

    Strange but good movie !!!!!!

    This is one of the strangest movie I have seen. It had a very strange story line that I was interested in watching till the end to see how it unravels. The movie is about a guy who finds a portal to John Malco...Read MoreStrange but good movie This is one of the strangest movie I have seen. It had a very strange story line that I was interested in watching till the end to see how it unravels. The movie is about a guy who finds a portal to John Malcovich's brain. Anyone who goes into the portal can watch what John Malcovich is doing and ''be'' John Malcovich for 15 minutes.


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Pre-Code Horror Classic That Ranks With "Dracula" And "Frankenstein"

    Based on one of H. G. Welles' novels, "The Island Of Lost Souls" is one of those genuinely scary films that shows us what happens when men play God. Made in 1932, just before The Hayes Code put serious restrictions on films, this scarifying masterpiece has a lot of things to recommend it: weird make-up effects, gothic cinematography, atmospheric settings and even a Panther Woman. But more about that later...

    The story is about a shipwrecked man (Richard Arlen) who runs aground on a mysterious island, which is pretty much run by Dr. Moreau, played with masterful cool by a then-unknown Charles Laughton. The natives on this particular island have become medical guinea pigs for his experiments, which he performs in what he calls "the house of pain". Sensing the fear of discovery, when others come looking for the shipwrecked man, Dr. Moreau's insanity leads to a fiery, gruesome climax that was rare for films of The Great Depression.

    "Island Of Lost Souls" was directed by Erle C. Kenton, who later became known for helming some of Abbott & Costello's funniest films but you certainly couldn't tell that here. There is a constant sense of palpable fear that permeates the film. As astounding as Laughton is, Bela Lugosi (making one of his first films after "Dracula") is also brilliant as The Sayer Of The Law. And then, there's Kathleen Burke as The Panther Woman, who sort of looks and acts like a 1930's version of Raquel Welch in "One Million Years B. C."

    The DVD from The Criterion Collection features some fine extras, including the video for Devo's "Jocko Homo", which was inspired by a classic phrase used in this film, "Are we not men?" Most people don't know that. Then again, not too many know this film. They did, however, try to remake this film in 1977 with Burt Lancaster and Michael York. Yet, "Island Of Lost Souls" has a gothic eerieness that can easily be compared with The Universal Studios horror films of that day. This film was made EIGHTY years ago and it still has the ability to give any jaded viewer the heebie-jeebies.

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    Still One of the Creepiest Films Ever!

    Forget the chain-saw-wielding, hockey-mask-wearing, blood-spattered schlock that now passes for horror. This original version of Island of Lost Souls is still the best for thrilling chills. Bela Lugosi chews the scenery a bit, but the plot hasn't lost its relevance and Dr. Moreau's "lost souls" are unforgettably creepy yet sympathetic. The grainy black-and-white underscores the darkness of the story line in a way that later remakes of the film couldn't match. If you want to feel the hairs standing up on your neck, watch this in the dark.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2001

    Chilling and frightning

    This is a gory and very scary movie even today. Charles Laughten is wonderfuly creepy as Dr. Moreau. This film was remade with Burt Lancaster who was downright awful. Then in 1996 it was remade again with Marlon Brando and he did a great job but nobody can match up to Charles Laughten. Take my advice see this film if you can stand it.

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    Posted July 15, 2014

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    Posted July 23, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews