Sunday, 26 May 2013

Island of Lost Souls

Year:  1932
Director:  Erle C. Kenton
Screenplay:  Philip Wylie and Waldemar Young, based on the novel The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
Starring:  Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen, Kathleen Burke, Bela Lugosi, Robert Kortman
Running Time:  67 minutes
Genre:  Science-fiction, horror

This classic and hugely influential film tells the story of shipwreck survivor Edward Walker (Arlen) who finds himself stranded on a mysterious island owned by sinister scientist Doctor Moreau (Laughton).  Walker soon learns that Moreau has been conducting grotesque experiments on animals and has created a race of part human/part animal hybrids. 

The film was the first, and is definitely the best known, of several screen adaptations of H.G. Wells' classic scienc-fiction novel.  It is very well made and atmospheric.  Laughton turns in a great performance as the silkily charismatic and ruthlessly amoral Moreau.  Bela Lugosi is also extremely impressive under heavy makeup as the "Sayer of the Law", the leader of Moreau's creations.  Kathleen Burke is seductive as the "Panther Woman", Lota.  The special make-up effects are very impressive with each of the creatures having a distinct look and personality.

With it's themes of genetic engineering and plastic surgery, the film is still relevant today.   

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