586 Island of Lost Souls

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Gregor Samsa
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:41 am

Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#76 Post by Gregor Samsa » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:16 am

manicsounds wrote:Landis, like Leonard Maltin, cannot stop moving his head around while talking. (just watch every Maltin interview, when he stops talking, his head stops moving)

Just finished the disc, except for the commentary. Excellent and varying selection of extras.
Agreed. The commentary's well worth checking out when you get the chance too. I particularly liked the ending sections where a large variety of initial reviews are quoted, which gives a very strong (and interesting) idea of how the film was received without later cultural baggage.

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manicsounds
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Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#77 Post by manicsounds » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:05 pm

Just did, Gregory Mank was excellent in his research and knowledge. I know I've heard him before, but I can't find a list of commentaries that he's done. I have "Mask Of Fu Manchu" from the "Hollywood Legends Of Horror" collection. Anything else?

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Grand Wazoo
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Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#78 Post by Grand Wazoo » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:14 pm

Here's a nice list of commentaries from his website.

I remember looking for this after hearing his Cat People track. He's a very enjoyable, energetic speaker. I wish more commentaries had the speaker take this much joy in the subject.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#79 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:18 pm

The Jekyll and Hyde and Cat People commentaries are excellent, too. I'll have to look the other ones up.

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manicsounds
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Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#80 Post by manicsounds » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:29 am

Yes, "Cat People", that was the other one. Now I'll have to watch "The Mayor Of Hell" sometime soon.

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reaky
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Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#81 Post by reaky » Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:11 pm

I like the notion of getting Devo in to talk on a film they like and that inspired their music. I can see this as a trend that could catch on.

Coming soon to The Criterion Collection: Scott Walker on Bergman (The Seventh Seal); Mick Jones on Nicolas Roeg (E=MC2); Morrissey on Visconti and Pasolini (You Have Killed Me); David Sylvian on Cocteau (Ink In The Well, Orpheus). We don't have to call Deep Blue Something.

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tarpilot
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Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#82 Post by tarpilot » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:37 am

Le Tigre roundtable on Cassavetes!

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Tommaso
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Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#83 Post by Tommaso » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:45 am

reaky wrote: David Sylvian on Cocteau (Ink In The Well, Orpheus).
Yes, pleeaase! These Sylvian videos badly need a proper release.
Seriously, I found the Devo interview very interesting, as in an obliquely way it's a good indication of how some of the themes of "Island of souls" are still pertinent today (that whole story about the Jocko Homo pamphlet that inspired the song). And that short film is endearingly hilarious. A really nice addition to a release stacked with fine extras.

As to the transfer: fine, of course, but it's another example for CC pushing the blacks to a level where in some scenes you can hardly make out anything. Of course the film should look dark, but not that dark. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm watching on a tube, and these are said to have far better black levels than LCD TVs, so CC might be calibrating their b&w discs in such a way that they look good on LCDs and thus overly dark on tubes. But then, it's the only quality company whose releases have this problem on a regular basis. I raised the brightness level on my tube a little, and was able to get a far better picture, so it wasn't a big problem. But it will be interesting to see the forthcoming MoC as a comparison.

hsauertieg
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Re: 586 Island of Lost Souls

#84 Post by hsauertieg » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:44 am

Question for you: I have the Criterion DVD. During the scene where Moreau visits Lota to tell her "a man has come from the sea" I could not help noticing an eyelash situated along the top of the frame, about halfway between the left border and the center of the picture. It's dangling into the picture until the end of the scene, and you can even see the little bulb of the hair follicle (in case there's any question of what that curved black line is). Once you notice it, you can't help looking at it. I just think it's funny with all Criterion's claims to have removed thousands of instances of dust, debris etc. that this went unnoticed in the transfer. Has anyone else taken note of this little flaw?

Also, despite some additional lines for Richard Arlen, allegedly (I have not noticed them but I don't deny they are there), there are weird frame drops in scenes that I did not notice on the Universal VHS tape that I replaced with the Criterion disc. Some of the dialogue falls out in the scene where Montgomery gives Moreau his whip at the climax, when he speaks of going back to meet the natives. I hope I'm not being too particular. Generally the dialogue is much clearer than on the Universal VHS version.

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Mr Sausage
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Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#85 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Oct 18, 2021 7:50 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, November 1st

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OldBobbyPeru
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#86 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Mon Oct 18, 2021 2:29 pm

Here's my question: WHAT IS THE LAW?

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swo17
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#87 Post by swo17 » Mon Oct 18, 2021 2:30 pm


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OldBobbyPeru
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#88 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:50 pm

ARE WE NOT MEN?

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OldBobbyPeru
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#89 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:53 pm

His is the house of pain!

And that's my name for my dentist's office, The House of Pain. Ask your doctor about vivisection. Vivisection may not be for everyone. Side effects include walking upright, eating vegetarian and speaking in a thick Hungarian accent.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#90 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Oct 18, 2021 6:27 pm

Has anyone read the novel? What are the differences from the film? Apparently HG Wells was not a fan of the film

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Gregory
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#91 Post by Gregory » Mon Oct 18, 2021 7:10 pm

One of my favorite lines in this is when Moreau is talking about his experiments with plants and he casually points at one example and says, "That's unfortunately what happened to some asparagus."

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knives
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#92 Post by knives » Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:47 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:
Mon Oct 18, 2021 6:27 pm
Has anyone read the novel? What are the differences from the film? Apparently HG Wells was not a fan of the film
If memory serves the biggest difference is with the tone and characterization. The book is almost closer to The Tempest as Joseph Conrad novel.

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OldBobbyPeru
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#93 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Mon Oct 18, 2021 10:17 pm

Charles Laughton had a pretty good year with this film and The Old Dark House. He was on his way. Lugosi was riding high that year, too. No doubt he never suspected that Dracula was the high point, and it was a slow decline from there to working with Ed Wood. And I don't mean to sound disrespectful, I loved Lugosi when I was a kid. I lived for the Friday Night 'Creature Features' on Channel 2 in Denver. The Universal horror movies were my Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have vivid memories of watching House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula, where Universal piled on all the monsters. Was White Zombie the same year as this?

But this film, as others have noted, was introduced to me by Devo, bless their pointy heads, several years later. It's a great film. The atmosphere, the failed experiments running around the island, the panther woman all stay in my mind. The remakes were all awful--no one came close to this film.

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OldBobbyPeru
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#94 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Tue Oct 19, 2021 2:07 am

The real horror (for me, at least), is that at the climax of the film, as the creatures rebel, and start their insurrection, it is impossible to not think of January 6. The creatures become Oath Keepers (What is the law?), and Oaran declares, "Law no more!"

https://youtu.be/LL1bIeDL2ro

The film is from 1932, and America now resembles that year in Germany. This country is doomed. Sorry to get political, but between the pandemic and the rise of neo-Nazis and fascism, I'm a bit shell-shocked.

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OldBobbyPeru
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#95 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Tue Oct 19, 2021 7:21 pm

Never mind. YouTube has blocked the video for copyright reasons. Apparently, a short 90 second clip will bring down the wrath of NBCUniversal, who oddly claimed copyright on a film that should be public domain, or at least Criterion or Janus should be in on it. Did I miss it, did they get bought by NBC? SMH.

This is why we can't have nice things.

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DrunkenFatherFigure
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#96 Post by DrunkenFatherFigure » Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:32 am

One thing that struck me while revisiting this recently was the casual racism with which Moreau treats the "natives" at the beginning, and how it seems to be taken for granted by the main character. He doesn't seem to bat an eye at the idea that Moreau has seemingly planted himself on an island and subjugated the indigenous people living there and treats them as less than human. It's not until they are revealed as literally less than human that the protagonist acknowledges the horror of the situation, although even then, his terror seems more rooted in disgust at the existence of the creatures rather than sympathy for their torture.

So, a couple questions: What is the nature of the horror in the film? Is it disgust at the creatures who were created? Sympathy for their mistreatment? Existential terror at the thought of having been unwillingly brought into existence? Which of these do you think was the film's intent? And for that matter, what was Wells'?

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Drucker
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#97 Post by Drucker » Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:51 am

I've never read the book, but this is one of my favorite horror films and I try to revisit it every year around this time. Maybe it's my own political biases getting the best of me, but the film almost certainly is painting Moreau as the monster who is trying to play god. I was at a friend's house recently and rewatched a small part of Jurassic Park on his TV, namely the dinner table scene where Goldblum explains "life will find a way," and I think that's the takeaway for this film. A man trying to play god, and thinking he can control his creation, is utterly horrific. The experiments being performed are science for science's sake. These creatures are not beautiful at all, and the act of creating them (the screams, the house of pain) is utterly horrific. Laughton plays a man cast away from decent society, and he gets his rightful comeuppance.

Orlac
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Re: Island of Lost Souls (Erle C. Kenton, 1932)

#98 Post by Orlac » Sat Nov 06, 2021 8:12 pm

OldBobbyPeru wrote:
Mon Oct 18, 2021 10:17 pm
Charles Laughton had a pretty good year with this film and The Old Dark House. He was on his way. Lugosi was riding high that year, too. No doubt he never suspected that Dracula was the high point, and it was a slow decline from there to working with Ed Wood. And I don't mean to sound disrespectful, I loved Lugosi when I was a kid. I lived for the Friday Night 'Creature Features' on Channel 2 in Denver. The Universal horror movies were my Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have vivid memories of watching House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula, where Universal piled on all the monsters. Was White Zombie the same year as this?

White Zombie was the same year, as was Lugosi's bankruptcy.

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