Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Island of Lost Souls


The island in question is that of Dr. Moreau, created by H.G Wells in 1896. I was expecting a shoddy creature-feature, of the sort we’ve been watching a few of lately, but I was surprised. This is a well-written, well-mounted production. The photography is first-rate, with wonderful use of shadows. Some entire scenes are shot with faces in shadow, like in the newsroom in Citizen Kane. The make-up department did a bang-up job of creating the man/animals. Some of those dudes had to sit for a long time to have it all applied. Charles Laughton as Moreau gives a restrained yet intense performance as Moreau, and Kathleen Burke—billed lewdly as “The Panther Woman” on the posters—is pretty good, too. There is a moving sequence when the man/animals are gathered and Moreau is making them recite The Law, the rules he has given them to live by. Their chant of “Are we not men?” was apparently used by several rock bands, most notably Devo.