Island of Lost Souls (1932)

67m, 70m
35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American horror/science fiction film directed by Erle C. Kenton. It was the first screen adaptation of H.G. Wells' 1896 novel The Island of Dr. Moreau and was banned on three occasions by the British Board of Film Censors, in 1933, 1951 and 1957. It was eventually passed with an X certificate on 9 July 1958.

Plot Summary

Edward Parker is rescued after his ship is wrecked and is rescued by another ship captained by Captain Davies. Parker is thrown of the ship after a fracas and finds himself on the tiny island run by scientist Dr Moreau. There, he finds that Moreau has been experimenting on the local population, creating a hideous race of human/animal hybrids.


Director: Erle C. Kenton
Paramount Pictures
Screenplay: Waldemar Young, Philip Wylie
Novel: The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells
Director of Photography: Karl Struss
Music: Arthur Johnston *
Western Electric Sound System
Locations: Catalina Island, California, USA

Charles Laughton (Dr Moreau)
Richard Arlen (Edward Parker)
Leila Hyams (Ruth Thomas)
Bela Lugosi (Sayer of the Law)
Kathleen Burke (Lota the Panther Woman)
Arthur Hohl (Montgomery)
Stanley Fields (Captain Davies)
Paul Hurst (Captain Donahue)
Hans Steinke (Ouran)
Tetsu Komai (M'ling)
George Irving (American consul)

Alternative Titles

The Island of Dr Moreau – working title

See also
Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952)
Freaked (1993)
Ile d'epouvante (1913)
The Island of Dr Moreau (1977)
The Island of Dr Moreau (1996)
Terror is a Man (1959)
Twilight People (1972)

Extracts included in
Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)
A Century of Science Fiction (1996)
Universal Horror (1998)



  • Art et Essai no.49 (30 October 1968) p.25 – review
  • The Daily Cinema no.8090 (8 December 1958) – review
  • The Dark Side no.66 p.29 – review, credits
  • Empire no.223 (January 2008) pp.216-217 – illustrated article (The top 10 mad by Alan Morrison)
  • Famous Monsters of Filmland no.28 (May 1964) pp.30-39 – illustrated article
  • Fangoria no.133 (June 1994) p.47 – illustrated video review (The Video Eye of Dr. Cyclops)
  • Filmfax no.57 (August/September 1996) p.50 – illustrated article
  • Filmfax no.72 (April/May 1999) pp.42-43 – article (Island of lost souls (1933) by Anthony Slide)
  • Flesh and Blood no.7 p.51 – review, credits
  • Kinematograph Weekly no.2678 (11 December 1958) p.19 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.26 no.300 (January 1959) p.3 (UK) – credits, review
  • Photon no.25 (1974) pp.24-29, 45 – illustrated review (Island of Lost Souls: A Retrospective Review Frank Dello Stritto)
  • Shivers no.25 (January 1996) pp.4-7 – illustrated article (Are We Not Men? by Jonathan Rigby)
  • Shivers no.26 (February 1996) pp.20-23 – illustrated article (Return to the House of Pain by Jonathan Rigby)
  • Video Watchdog no.20 pp.13-14 – review


  • The Aurum Encyclopedia of Film: Horror (2nd edition) by Phil Hardy (ed.) pp.51-52 – illustrated review, credits
  • by Walt Lee pp.224; 225 – credits; stills