View Full Version : the island of lost souls

06-19-2003, 04:27 PM
I saw "The Island of Lost Souls" (1933) last night and really loved it. What a great movie! "What is the Law?" Amazingly perceptive about the political-religious-scientific framework for building a slaveholding system.

In the antebellum south, slave owners frequently taught their slaves that the Bible had an eleventh commandment: 'Thou shall honor one's slavemaster.' When black folk began to read, they did not only realize that this commandment never existed, but that a core biblical story (Exodus) was about the liberation of slaves. Things began to change... The "Island of Lost Souls" is basically about this dynamic.

Any ideas on an eventual dvd release?

06-22-2003, 02:57 AM
I liked this movie a lot. The story is good, Laughton attacks his role with relish and the climax is rather grisly for the 30s.

Interesting you mention slavery - I never really thought of that before. The movie is based on "The Island of Dr Moreau" by HGWells and the book reads like an examination of the relationships and differences between humans and animals. This theme is still present in the movie but is watered down and transformed into the standard "mad scientist" motif.

06-22-2003, 08:08 AM
Yes, you are right about the relationships and differences between animals and humans. That is certainly an important theme, especially the theme of scientific abuses of animals for human profit. I guess I really focused on "the Law" and the process by which apartheid-like systems are sustained in societies. These themes are of course related and the film does a great job of linking them. I'm glad you liked it.

04-28-2005, 01:54 AM
I saw this film for the first time today. I would definitely say it's one of the better films out of a strong crop from 30's. Great story and some nice suspense, I don't know what they’re waiting for but we really need a DVD of this Classic film.

04-28-2005, 02:15 AM
I love this movie! It should be cited a little more often as a horror classic, but gets overlooked much of the time, IMO. I used to have it on laserdisc, great print, sold it years ago thinking it's bound to come out soon -- and still hasn't. I very much look forward to it on DVD.

02-18-2009, 08:15 AM
"Are we not men?"

Charles Laughton gives an chilling performance, the kind that reminds me why the sideshow psychos they throw in modern movie just don't do it for me. One of my favorite moments is when he gets punched down and tips over a table. There's this look on his face, I don't know how to describe it but it's perhaps the kind of emotion a sane person could never have. Shame/disappointment and proud triumph all at the same time. Like a split thought, contradictory feelings that somehow create one whole.

Kathleen Burke also gives a very cat like performance as "The Panther Woman," instead of perhaps just strutting around like all models do she carries herself just like a cat. When she's along the pool her whole body movement echoes the way cats react to people. There's also the scene where she's looking at her fingers and seemingly can't understand what's wrong with them but earnestly want's to know. The way she shows them to Laughton has this ring of truth to it.

I have to say though that Lugosi's performance didn't impress me much, he looks rather lost and just kinda staggers around. The scenes themselves are great, but he's rather lackluster.

02-18-2009, 11:43 PM
Amazing that this isn't out on DVD yet. :(

02-19-2009, 10:46 PM
I went on a big Moreau kick a few months back and watched Island of Lost Souls, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) and re-read H.G. Wells' original story. I also read Brian Aldiss' updated telling of the story- "An Island Called Moreau". It wasn't great but an entertaining read nonetheless.

It is amazing that the original movie has never hit DVD though......

02-19-2009, 11:28 PM
It is amazing that the original movie has never hit DVD though......

Word 'round the House 'o Pain is that the elements are in dire straights, it would cost too much money to restore the film.

08-12-2009, 04:29 PM
I can't believe it's impossible to put out some sort of acceptable print on DVD... this venerable classic was hardly released by an obscure studio after all? Having regard to all the dross that appears on disc these days, it's outrageous the Island of Lost Souls can only be seen on VHS! Not even featured on terrestrial TV or satellite here in the UK either for at least 8 years.

03-24-2010, 02:03 PM
Charles Laughton gave so many memorable performances but I think this is one of his best. Such an effectively chilling film. As much as I liked the Burt Lancaster remake, it just didnt have the atmosphere this one had.

04-22-2010, 09:47 PM
7 years since the original post and this movie is still not out on dvd. :(
Will we ever see it on DVD?

Erick H.
04-23-2010, 06:47 AM
I keep hearing whispers of a release,but then,nothing.You know the film was banned in England for decades.

Shock Waves
05-01-2010, 10:50 PM
It's a shame this hasn't been released on DVD. I have an old copy from TBS back in the day that I still watch.
One of my favorites from the time period, along with The Most Dangerous Game and Freaks.

05-01-2010, 11:37 PM
There are persistent rumors that this one is on Universal's radar. Did you guys see this other thread?


I don't see how the elements could be the issue. The early DVD releases of Dracula and The Mummy don't look much better than my VHS rip of Island of the Lost Souls. And I can't imagine that prints of The Island of Lost Souls were screened as frequently. Surely Universal could release The Island of Lost Souls in reasonable quality right now. There must be some other reason for the hold up. Does anyone have an inside line? The general public really deserves to see this movie. And we deserve a quality digital release.

09-12-2010, 10:03 PM
This isn't an official release is it?

http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/Raremoviesondvd/items/Island_of_Lost_Souls__DVD_Rare_Horror_and_Scifi_Dv d

It don't see a upc number or it listed on any other site.

09-12-2010, 10:53 PM
This isn't an official release is it?

http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/Raremoviesondvd/items/Island_of_Lost_Souls__DVD_Rare_Horror_and_Scifi_Dv d

It don't see a upc number or it listed on any other site.

Not likely. Check that disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

*Some of our Dvds come from an International source, Public Domain source, or a private collector. These films DO NOT currently have copyrights within the United States. These are Region-Free NTSC DVDs. They are NOT factory made DVDs. There are no refunds for these DVDs. Only exchange for defective DVD and for the SAME TITLE only. This applies to All-Region dvds and Region 0 dvds in our store. Any questions please contact us. Thank you.

09-13-2010, 12:04 AM
I managed to see a print of this shown at the University of Chicago last fall. Seeing it projected gave me more appreciation for it (compared to the laserdisc version I have a copy of). Would love Universal or someone else to commit to a restoration of it. The brutality of it helps the film stand out more from other early Unis too.

Touch The Sun
09-16-2010, 01:47 AM
i remember seeing this, but it was so long ago i forgot what the movie is about and even if i liked it or not :(

05-22-2011, 06:12 PM
There has been whispering for the past few years that Universal was working on it (http://www.horrordvds.com/vb3forum/showthread.php?t=39615) and a few months ago a not so subtle hint that this will be coming within the year (http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/topic/37157/Film-in-Most-Need-of-a-DVD-Release-or-Restoration) also circulated. Now Criterion has dropped the following clue in their latest newsletter...


As we all know Criterion has released a handful of Universal films lately; even re-releases of Universal Blu's. If this is true a Blu-ray seems likely and might even be paired with Kuroneko (1968) which was riddled earlier in the year.

06-18-2011, 07:40 PM
Tweet from Eureka's Masters of Cinema:Not to go on all fours. That is the law.

If I can screen this on Blu-ray for Halloween I'll be thrilled.

06-28-2011, 12:40 AM
More info trickles down:I won't reveal any sources, but Island of Lost Souls is coming from Criterion (probably sooner than later). Greg Mank has recorded the audio commentary and there will be a talking heads documentary also. I expect there will be a formal announcement soon. Also, there was word going around the Bash that another TCM set is coming including The Thing That Wouldn't Die, Dark Intruder, and Curse of the Undead. Finally a future TCM release of the Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D is supposedly in the works also (most likely next year for it). I'll try to verify those rumors when I return home.http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/sreply/732144/Film-in-Most-Need-of-a-DVD-Release-or-Restoration

I think he means The Thing That Couldn't Die (1958).

Very cool news but I believe we missed the window for Criterion to make it for Halloween. Not a big deal though. (Also Criterion has dropped a hint that a Salo Blu-ray is in the works. Hopefully it'll be a remastering, as the current HD transfer is a DNR nightmare.) With TCM we may not know until a few weeks before the release, or hell maybe even a few weeks after the release, but October is still a possibility.

Now with the Creature 3D we will hopefully get It Came from Outer Space and Revenge of the Creature shortly after in 3D as well. At first I was thinking Blu-ray 3D releases but with him saying it'll be a TCM release I doubt that now. But to release only in anaglyph seems backwards.

06-28-2011, 05:29 PM
Turns out the TCM set is not coming...


07-01-2011, 12:46 PM
Turns out the TCM set is not coming...


Well, hopefully it's just that they're just not coming from TCM. That Creature 3D would come from TCM was doubtful to begin with. Maybe the contact still wasn't at liberty to say, or in the know anymore, etc. Hey, I'm just being optimistic.

07-02-2011, 03:36 PM
if titles like creature from the black lagoon start receiving blu ray 3d releases, it will definitely be the most convincing argument i've heard to pick up a 3d tv. an anaglyph release would be very disappointing (although i'd still pick it up - watching friday the 13th part III with blu and red glasses was still a thrill)

07-20-2011, 03:51 PM
From DVD Drive-In (http://www.dvddrive-in.com):

"The Criterion Collection has just announced on its website that it release the 1932 horror classic ISLAND OF LOST SOULS. Directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi, the film has been one of the most long-awaited cult gems to make it to the digital format, and Criterion is releasing it to both DVD and blu-ray on October 25. It will contain a new high-definition digital restoration of the uncut theatrical version (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition) and extras include an audio commentary by film historian Gregory Mank, new video conversations with John Landis, Rick Baker, Bob Burns, David J Skal, Richard Stanley and others, as well as the original theatrical trailer and a booklet featuring a new essay by critic Christine Smallwood."

07-31-2011, 02:29 PM
Master of cinema will release "Island of Lost Souls" as well, one day before Criterion. Its availanle for pre-order on amazon.co.uk
But no mention of a blu-ray from Moc yet, so seems Criterion is definetely the one to get.

08-17-2011, 03:54 AM
Amazon's pre-order price for The Island Of Lost Souls Blu-ray is down to $24.99.