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  • Criterion Collection: Island of Lost Souls [DVD] [1932] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Criterion Collection: Island of Lost Souls [DVD] [1932] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005D0RDKM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,693 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A. W. Wilson TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 May 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I ordered this last September (at a much lower price) and was disapointed when the release was put back by 7 months or so. Also, most if not all the "reviews here are "In anticipation" rather than an actual viewing of this Eureka Release. Well worry not everyone. This Dvd comes with a Blu Ray disc, excellent booklet (with full cast list) and extras with Simon Callow, and other items. Given this film was made in 1932 the restoration is superb (this is the DVD not Blu Ray - I don't have a player), sound and picture quality no problem at all. The photography is so classic 1930's B/W -moody and magnificent. The acting is of the period too, but don't let that put you off. Laughton is hugely creepy and very effective. The Makeup for the man/beasts is as good as many a CGI of today (well, I think so). It all moves along at a spanking pace and conveys the Horror perfectly. Highly recomended to lovers of good serious cinema (Does that sound pompous? - I do hope not). I loved it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER on 18 July 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is one of those films I have wanted to see since as long as I can remember and it does not disappoint. The furore around this production was as much the attraction as the ghoulish tale itself. Based on the classic novel, `The Island of Doctor Moreau' by H.G. Wells, who was pleased when this was banned in the UK as it `vulgarised' his book. This was made in the pre censor era of Hollywood, when almost anything could be tried. As such the dark creeping horror of the subject matter was not seen as an issue - the British film sensors banned it as being `against nature'. Australia banned it to be seen by Aborigines.

It tells the story of Edward Parker, who has been shipwrecked, he is picked up by a boat bearing a strange cargo bound for an un named and uncharted island, that has a reputation the causes it to be the stink of the Pacific. He then gets marooned there by his unwelcoming Captain. At first his host, the evasive Dr. Moreau wants nothing to do with the uninvited guest, but then he remembers `The Panther Woman' and the possibilities of more interesting, furry progeny.

The jungle on the island is teeming with manimals, of varying levels of hairiness and decrepitude. Moreau wanders around king of all he observes carrying a bull whip to maintain discipline. Once the true horror of Moreau's experiments are realised by Parker he just wants to escape.

This is a classic of classics, the make up is stupendous and Bella Lugosi as `Sayer of the Law' is so well made up that I didn't even recognise him. Charles Laughton is at his swaggering and understated best, he oozes evil in such a way that even a simple phrase he utters is dripping with menace.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul WJM on 27 Nov. 2011
Format: Blu-ray
This is the first of three adaptations of the H G Wells book, Island of Dr Moreau (the second being made in the 70s, and the third - probably not final - take being the condemned mid-90s production that Richard Stanley should have directed). Whilst reportedly not being a strict conversion of the material for screen (I haven't personally read the book), it is nevertheless a powerful film for its time that retains a twisted quality that even some of today's more open minded audiences may appreciate. The story introduces typical American hero Ed Parker, who is rescued from shipwreck but dumped again, after disagreements with the captain, with a group of odd people that inhabit an isolated island. There Parker discovers that vivisectionist experiments are being conducted to transform animals into humans, these creatures being ruled over by their creator and law-enforcer, Dr Moreau. Initially control is maintained, but soon things begin to get out of order, and the deformed inhabitants of the island gather mob-like to overthrow the crown.

Directed with a flair uncommon in the 30s by Erle C Kenton (whose other horrors include the not-so-impressive Ghost of Frankenstein, and the fun but similarly ill-fated double act that was to end Universal's more serious monster movie run, House of Dracula/Frankenstein) Island of Lost Souls is striking in its portrayal of the doomed creatures that are forcibly brought out of their natural lifestyle to adopt human characteristics for no better reason other than to prove that it's possible (and maybe to feed the god-complex of the Moreau character, who here resembles an amoral Dr Frankenstein). Bela Lugosi is amongst them, though not receiving a huge amount of screen time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 Nov. 2011
Format: DVD
Dr. Moreau: What is the law?
Sayer of the Law: Not to eat meat, that is the law. Are we not men?
Beasts: Are we not men?

Dr. Moreau: What is the law?
Sayer of the Law: Not to go on all fours, that is the law. Are we not men?
Beasts: Are we not men?

Dr. Moreau: What is the law?
Sayer of the Law: Not to spill blood, that is the law. Are we not men?
Beasts: Are we not men?

When Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) cracks his whip, asks his question and we hear the answers mumbled and shouted from those gathered below him, the obvious answer from us is "Hey, wait a minute." Moreau on his tiny island in the Pacific seems to have a tribe of hairy, hunched males obeying him. Then we notice how they're standing and how they look...some with eyes peering out from under bony brows, noses misshaped, dumb stares or suspicious looks, feral teeth, bulky shoulders, long arms, a foot with a hoof...and lots and lots of fur. The Sayer of the Law is unrecognizable as Bela Lugosi. His face is covered with long hair as he struggles to state the litany.

If you've never seen Island of Lost Souls, in glorious black and white from 1932 based on H. G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, you are in for a treat. If you've seen only the later versions of the story (1977 with Burt Lancaster as Moreau and 1996 with Marlon Brando as Moreau), you are in for a revelation. The Island of Lost Souls is a first class movie and Laughton is a memorable Moreau.

The story line could be campy. Here it's not. Edward Parker (Richard Arlen) through no fault of his own winds up on a jungle island. Dr. Moreau and Moreau's younger assistant, a man named Montgomery (Arthur Hohl), take him to Moreau's house.
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