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The Island of Dr. Moreau

original movie poster
Directed by Don Taylor
Produced by Skip Steloff
John Temple-Smith
Written by Al Ramrus
John Herman Shaner
Starring Burt Lancaster
Michael York
Nigel Davenport
Barbara Carrera
Richard Basehart
Nick Cravat
Music by Laurence Rosenthal
Cinematography Gerry Fisher
Editing by Marion Rothman
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release date(s) July 13, 1977
Running time 99 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6,000,000 (estimated)

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) is the second movie version of the H. G. Wells science fiction novel about a scientist who attempts to convert animals into people, starring Burt Lancaster, Michael York, Barbara Carrera, and Richard Basehart. Lancaster perfectly matches Wells' description of Moreau's physical appearance, unlike the other two actors to play the role on screen, Charles Laughton in 1933's Island of Lost Souls and Marlon Brando in 1996's The Island of Dr. Moreau. This movie was filmed in Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Synopsis

Andrew Braddock is a shipwreck victim from the "Lady Vain", having also been a member of its crew. After many days at sea, he and one other survivor arrive, unknowingly, upon the island of Dr. Moreau. Besides Moreau, the others in the compound are his associate Dr. Montgomery, his deformed servant M'Ling, and a lovely young woman, Maria.

At first, an "honoured guest" (prisoner) on that island, Braddock finds his contacts with the natives increasingly disturbing, for they are not like any men he has ever seen. Eventually, it transpires that these "men" are in fact experimental reconstructions from wild animals made by a particularly sinister scientist, Dr. Moreau. He feels that he is in danger from the animal/men and from Dr. Moreau himself and does not know where to turn.

After one of the man-beasts attacks an animal, breaking the rules that Moreau has established, Moreau intends to take it to the "house of pain", his laboratory. The beast panics and leads chase, and Braddock kills it in sympathy. Convinced that Moreau is insane, Braddock plans to leave the island with Maria, with whom he has developed a mutual attraction. They are caught however, and Moreau straps Braddock in his lab, intending to conduct experiments on him. Montgomery objects and Moreau kills him in cold blood. M'Ling and Maria move Montgomery's body into the woods where the man-beasts find it.

While the man-beasts become agitated over Moreau breaking another of the rules ("man shall not kill man"), Moreau injects Braddock with a serum that gives him animal characteristics. Braddock becomes more animalistic and struggles to maintain his humanity. The men-beasts storm the compound and in the chaos Moreau is killed. Braddock, Maria, and M'Ling stall long enough to engineer an escape, but the compound is burned and most of the man-beasts are killed by the wild animals which Moreau kept for his experiments. M'Ling is also killed in the final escape.

Braddock and Maria manage to sail away in the lifeboat that Braddock arrived in, but only after a bloody battle with one of the man-beasts. Some time later, they are rescued by passing ship, and the serum has worn off, returning Braddock to his full human state. Maria's features, however, have become more feline, revealing that she was one of the experiments.

Main cast

Actor Role
Burt Lancaster Dr. Paul Moreau
Michael York Andrew Braddock
Nigel Davenport Dr. Montgomery
Barbara Carrera Maria
Richard Basehart Sayer of the Law
Nick Cravat M'Ling
Fumio Demura Hyenaman

External links

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