Island of Lost Souls

Year: 1932

Production: Paramount

Director: Erle C. Kenton

Starring: Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams, Kathleen Burke, Bela Lugosi, Alan Ladd, Randolph Scott

Screenwriter: Waldemar Young, Philip Wylie

Based on The Island of Dr Moreau (1896) by H.G. Wells

72 minutes; B/W


Though somewhat altered from the Wells original, and adding such Hollywood touches as a seductive Panther Girl, this memorable film incorporates much of the novel's moody atmosphere. A young couple is shipwrecked on an island where the leering, whipcracking Moreau (Laughton), by means of vivisection and other cruel medical techniques, is trying to turn animals into men. (Wells disliked the depiction of his twisted idealist, Moreau, as a sadist.) The pathetic beast-men - rendered with first-rate and often horrific make-up - are kept in check by their belief that Moreau is a god. But, when they see him murdering his human assistant and thereby breaking one of his own commandments, their fear of him dissolves and they carry him off to the House of Pain - the laboratory where they were all created - and wreak bloody, surgical vengeance. Two remakes are The Island of Dr Moreau (1977) and The Island of Dr Moreau (1996).

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

Back to the List