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Island of Lost Souls (1932) Poster

Trivia

In response to British censors who claimed the film was "against nature", Elsa Lanchester (Mrs. Charles Laughton) is said to have stated, "Of course it's against nature. So's Mickey Mouse!"
Bela Lugosi made the film for a salary of just over $800, which was less than any other actor on the project. Lugosi accepted the fee and the role because he was in the middle of bankruptcy.
This movie was refused a cinema certificate in 1933 by the BBFC and remained banned in the UK until 1958, when it was released with an X certificate with cuts made. Among the board's objectives were references to vivisection and "cutting a living man to pieces", and Moreau saying, "Do you know what it means to feel like God?". The film was finally released uncut on DVD in 2011 with a PG certificate.
According to film historian Gregory W. Mank on his commentary for the Criterion edition of this film, producer/actress Gail Patrick competed for the role of the Lota the "Panther Woman". She lost out to Kathleen Burke but became good friends with her. Patrick noted that she was happy that she lost because Burke was defined by the role and eventually left show business. According to Patrick, Burke couldn't get roles after her performance in the film.
To create the language of the mutants sound-man Loren L. Ryder recorded a mixture of animal sounds and foreign languages, then played them backwards at alternating speeds. The effect: the sound induced nausea and caused the audiences to vomit in the theaters.
Charles Laughton claimed that he based his Dr. Moreau appearance on that of his dentist.
The shooting location for Moreau's mysterious uncharted island was actually Catalina.
One of the film's uncredited actors, Joe Bonomo, nearly drowned during filming. He fell into a water tank and the foam rubber in his costume soaked up water, causing him to sink.
The filmmakers wanted an unknown actress to play Lota, the Panther Woman. Kathleen Burke, their selection, was working as a dentist's assistant at the time. It was her first film role ever.
All the fog seen in this film was real.
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Charles Laughton already knew how to use a whip. He learned to use one for a previous stage role. His teacher was a London street performer.
The participation of Buster Crabbe, Randolph Scott, and Alan Ladd in uncredited roles as "beasts" comes from the pages of Motion Picture Guide, and is otherwise undocumented and highly questionable.
Inspired the 1981 song of the same name, recorded by Blondie.
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Lines from this movie are featured on the "House of Pain" album by a rap group of the same name.
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Shot in five weeks.
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Paramount paid fifteen thousand dollars for the rights to the novel by H.G. Wells.
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This was Charles Laughton's second starring role in a U.S. film; his first was in the little-known Payment Deferred (1932).
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After making Island of Lost Souls (1932), Charles Laughton humorously claimed that he couldn't go to a zoo for the rest of his life.
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Nancy Carroll and Randolph Scott were scheduled to play the leading roles of Ruth Thomas and Edward Parker, respectively, but were replaced by Leila Hyams and Richard Arlen.
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Bela Lugosi was cast at the last minute as the Sayer of the Law.
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Randolph Scott was originally considered to play Edward Parker.
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Paramount held a national contest to find a woman to play Lota the Panther Woman. A reported 60,000 women participated in this contest.
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The identity of the actor who played "Owl Man" is unknown.
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One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since.
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Shot in October-November 1932. This was Charles Laughton's third Hollywood production, having already completed The Old Dark House (1932) and The Sign of the Cross (1932).
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Members of the new wave band Devo were fans of the film. The "What is the law?" sequence formed part of the lyrics to the band's song "Jocko Homo," with Bela Lugosi's query "Are we not men?" providing the title to their 1978 debut album "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!". Oingo Boingo is another new wave band that paid tribute to the film with its song "No Spill Blood," which featured the refrain "What is the Law?" The Meteors, a psycho-billy band from the UK, told the story of the film in their song "Island of Lost Souls" on their 1986 album "Teenagers From Outer Space". The Cramps, an American psycho-billy band, featured a song "The Natives Are Restless" on their "Psychedelic Jungle" album. Heavy metal band Van Halen paid homage to the film in the original version of their song "House of Pain", the early lyrics for which directly referenced the story line of the movie. During onstage introductions of the song circa 1976-77, the band's vocalist David Lee Roth routinely gave a brief synopsis of the film. The song was shelved for the better part of a decade, but eventually resurfaced with different non-movie-related lyrics and released on the band's 1984 album. The US horror-rock band Manimals based much of their stage persona on the film. Their 1985 'Blood is the Harvest" vinyl E.P. closes with the song "Island of Lost Souls". The track includes a "What is the Law?" section that fans would chant during live shows.
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This movie was banned from public showings in Sweden by the Swedish Censorboard in March 1933. Swedish Censor number 48.959. This censorship doesn't include later inventions like television, video, DVD etc.
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Julian Huxley visited the set during the shooting of this film.
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Kathleen Burke's costume cost only twenty-five dollars.
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Author H.G. Wells disliked this movie adaptation of his novel 'The Island of Doctor Moreau'. Wells felt the film's emphasis on horror overshadowed the novel's philosophical themes.
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Parallels can be drawn between this film and William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest", with Dr. Moreau as Prospero, Lota as Miranda and Edward Parker as Ferdinand.
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The album title of "Island of Lost Minds" by Buckethead is inspired by this movie.
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Lona Andre competed in the Panther Woman contest.
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Joe Bonomo, who starred as one of the man-beasts, was also Lon Chaney's stunt double in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). Charles Laughton also made a version of this classic story in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939).
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Verna Hillie was a finalist for the role of Lota the Panther Woman.
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Bela Lugosi was paid less than the other lead actors because he worked less days than they did. His day rate was essentially the same as the other leads.
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The film was made before the introduction of the Hays Code of film censorship in Hollywood, hence the racy poster and tag line.
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The final draft screenplay, dated September 30, 1932, lists all the actors and roles they will play with the exception of the roles eventually played by Tetsu Komai, Bela Lugosi, and Paul Hurst. When comparing that script with the released film additional action and dialogue have been added for the scenes involving Lugosi and Hurst. Their parts have been "beefed" up, probably to help get them to play the roles.
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