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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The turn of the 20th century. The ship the 'Lady Vain' is lost at sea, and three survivors find themselves cast adrift in a small wooden boat. After seventeen days at sea, they come across an island, by which time there are only two survivors. The ship's engineer Andrew Braddock(Michael York) pulls the boat ashore, and leaving his ill shipmate behind, goes looking for water. Braddock is startled by something or someone moving in the undergrowth, and falls into an animal trap. When he comes to, he is in bed, and meets a man called Montgomery(Nigel Davenport), who informs him that his companion has died of heat exposure.
Montgomery runs the house, but is employment of the owner, a certain Dr Moreau(Burt Lancaster), who welcomes Braddock with open arms, offering him the hospitality of his home. There is also a lady called Maria(Barbera Carrera), who Moreau informs Braddock was found abandoned as a baby in New Orleans. Braddock is enjoying the paradise island, but the strange animal noises he hears at night concern him. After seeing Moreau's servant M'Ling, in chains being dragged into an unknown out house, curiosity gets the better of Braddock, and he enters the building. What he finds brings a realisation that Dr Moreau has very good reasons for wanting to stay on an isolated island, as he is very active in conducting terrifying experiments, experiments which seem to have been going very wrong...
I must confess, this is the only film adaptation of H.G Wells story that I have seen. The 1932 version, 'The Island Of Lost Souls' is meant to be the definative version, but you could do a lot worse than visiting this adaptation, as although it doesn't follow the book to the letter, it is a pretty faithful version.
Michael York is very good as the male lead, especially in the scenes where he is struggling to maintain his humanity, Nigel Davenport is good if a little underused as the mercenary Montgomery, but one performance I have seen lambasted in some reviews for this film is Lancaster in the title role. Well, I thought he delivered a pretty good performance, excellently conveying the banality of evil, as Moreau calmly explains his atrocious experiments to Braddock. The creature make-up is pretty good, and theres a wonderful, haunting music score by Lawrence Rosenthal. Add to that some excellent cinematography, and you will find this a very enjoyable viewing experience.
One thing bothers me though. When I watched this on on television over twenty years ago the ending seemed different to the one at the end of the film on the DVD. Either my mind is playing tricks on me, or the ending we have here is more sanitised and ambiguous than the one I had previously seen. If anybody could let me know if there are two versions of the film, with slightly diffrent closures, I would very much appreciate it. 4 out of 5 for the film though as usual for Optimum, there are no extras to speak of on the disc. What matters most of course is that picture/sound quality are excellent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
As a huge H G Wells fan I always make a point of watching film adaptations. This one from 1977 is reasonably faithful. Its of its time but never the less is a good film.I will assume that most of you will know the premise having read the book, vivisection, animals into humans with the fallout that the beast within will always come to the surface, Hence the sleeve picture.
As for this blu ray well, it has zilch by way of bonus features but the picture quality is excellent, crisp sharp and blemish free. Audio is only 2 channel stereo. Lancaster, is to my mind a bit miscast as Moreau and although Yorks character has a name change from Prendick(the book),to Braddock in the film he is good in the role.Nigel Davenport, always good to watch is great as Montgomery. The make up effects for the beastmen is quite good(dated ofcourse).
Overall a good film, now looking its best.
Read the book, see the film, then try the other adaptation featuring Brando and Kilmer made a good few years later.
BEST WELLS ADAPTATIONS?
Island of Lost Souls
The Time Machine, G.Pal
War of The Worlds, G.Pal
First Men In The Moon film and Gatiss tv version
Invisible Man.J.Whale
Things To Come.Korda.
I would like to see a release of Food of The Gods soon on blu ray, surely another cult classic
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not as shockingly powerful as Island of Lost Souls or as balls-to-the-wall silly as the Marlon Brando version, 1977's The Island of Dr Moreau is an effective adaptation of H.G. Wells' allegory of genetic manipulation, with shipwrecked sailor Michael York (who would play a thinly disguised version of Dr Moreau in an episode of Sliders a couple of decades later) discovering his brilliant host is using his island as a lab in his attempts to crack DNA and isolate the link between man and beast by trying to turn the local wildlife into men. Part-Albert Schweitzer, part-Josef Mengale, Lancaster's take on Moreau is very different from Laughton's - he at least has a purpose, and has convinced himself that the end justifies the means to the extent that he's immune to any moral considerations. Whereas Laughton's Moreau used his shipwreck survivor to test how human his creations were, Lancaster has something more radical in mind: since his creations inevitably revert to their animal form, what he needs is someone intelligent who can tell him what changes they're going through, so decides to reverse his usual modus operandi and turn a human into an animal. Cue some decent make-up effects from John Chambers before this perverted Eden starts its own inevitably violent fall...

Unfortunately the film suffers a bit from the studio's decision to cut it down to avoid an R-rating, losing the shock ending in the process (even though the film's poster was built around one character's transformation from human back to animal) and somewhat downplaying the grotesque nature of the creatures, though whether that's intentional or simply down to Don Taylor's direction lacking atmosphere is debatable. On it's own terms it's fine, even if it plays more as an adventure yarn than horror. There's a decent supporting cast - Nigel Davenport, Barbara Carrera, Richard Basehart as the Sayer of the Law and Lancaster's old circus buddy Nick Cravat under creature makeup - surprisingly rich photography from Gerry Fisher that emphasises the deceptively tropical paradise-like look of the island and there's a typically brutal Laurence Rosenthal score, but it's a pity there are no extras on any of the DVD releases (aside from the trailer there was a rather good short film about the production and the animal 'affection training' from its theatrical release that could have been included).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2012
The 1977 version with Burt Lancaster in the leading role, is far superior to the remake of the 1990's with Marlon Brando, in spite of the lower budget for the production in 1977.
The blu-ray transfer is excellent with excellent colors and sharpness. I remember owning a 16mm print and it looks as good if not better. The soundtrack is an OK digital 5.1. For fans, it is a must have disc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2014
Low Quality transfer without subtitles
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on 18 February 2015
The present day society of New Zealand as if straight from the movie - Islands of social experiments and manipulation of Zombies for Great New man experiment.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2013
This is the best version of The Island Of Dr Moreau which is out there. I think the film weakens slightly towards the end but all in all it is a good attempt to cover and explain what surely must be one of the greatest works from the giant of literature, HG Wells
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2014
great.old fashion,always Nice og back in time.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2015
Good happy
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2015
Great
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