IMDb > Isle of the Dead (1945)
Isle of the Dead
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Isle of the Dead (1945) More at IMDbPro »

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Isle of the Dead -- Boris Karloff stars in this classic horror film about a group of people who seek refuge from the plague on a Baltic Island only to fear that one of their number is a vampire.


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6.6/10   2,581 votes »
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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ardel Wray (written by)
View company contact information for Isle of the Dead on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 September 1945 (USA) See more »
SHE ISN'T DEAD yet she's BURIED ALIVE! (original half-sheet poster) See more »
On a Greek island during the 1912 war, several people are trapped by quarantine for the plague. If that isn't enough worry... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Not as good as it should have been See more (62 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Boris Karloff ... Gen. Nikolas Pherides

Ellen Drew ... Thea
Marc Cramer ... Oliver Davis
Katherine Emery ... Mrs. Mary St. Aubyn
Helene Thimig ... Madame Kyra

Alan Napier ... St. Aubyn
Jason Robards Sr. ... Albrecht (as Jason Robards)
Ernst Deutsch ... Dr. Drossos (as Ernst Dorian)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sherry Hall ... Col. Kobestes (uncredited)
Erick Hanson ... Officer (uncredited)
Rose Hobart ... Mrs. Mary St. Aubyn (in long shot) (uncredited)
Skelton Knaggs ... Andrew Robbins (uncredited)

Directed by
Mark Robson 
Writing credits
Ardel Wray (written by)

Val Lewton  uncredited
Josef Mischel  uncredited

Produced by
Jack J. Gross .... executive producer
Val Lewton .... producer
Original Music by
Leigh Harline 
Cinematography by
Jack MacKenzie (director of photography) (as Jack Mackenzie)
Film Editing by
Lyle Boyer 
Art Direction by
Albert S. D'Agostino 
Walter E. Keller 
Set Decoration by
Albert Greenwood  (as Al Greenwood)
Darrell Silvera 
Costume Design by
Edward Stevenson (gowns)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Harry Scott .... assistant director
Sound Department
Jean L. Speak .... sound recordist
James G. Stewart .... sound re-recordist
Music Department
C. Bakaleinikoff .... musical director
Gil Grau .... orchestrator (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
71 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Italy:16+ | UK:15 | USA:Approved (PCA #10319)

Did You Know?

Filming began in July 1944, but was suspended when Boris Karloff required back surgery. It was completed in December 1944. After Karloff had recovered from surgery, but before the cast of Isle of the Dead (1945) could be reassembled, Val Lewton and Karloff made The Body Snatcher (1945), which was released first.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Albrecht refers to Hermes as the god of medicine. In Greek mythology, Asclepius was the god of medicine. In terms of medical support, Hermes' assistance was sought by runners or any athletes with injuries.See more »
Thea:Laws can be wrong, and laws can be cruel, and the people who live only by the law are both wrong and cruel.See more »
Movie Connections:


What is a sirocco and what does it have to do with the plague?
What is septicemic plague?
How does the movie end?
See more »
9 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Not as good as it should have been, 30 January 2005
Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England

I'm a big fan of Val Lewton's atmospheric chillers. Of course, he did his best work with the great Jacques Tourneur, but there's still some gems to found outside of that collaboration. Robert Wise/Boris Karloff film 'The Body Snatcher' is a good example of that; but unfortunately, this collaboration with Boris Karloff isn't an entry in Lewton's filmography that he can be proud of. Isle of the Dead suffers, basically, because for the most part it's boring. Unlike earlier and later efforts from Val Lewton, this one doesn't do a very good job in setting itself up; the characters are introduced and some ideas are put forward, but it's not done with any conviction and so the result is dull and dreary. Take 'Cat People', for example. That film gave it's premise and the rest of the film drew you into it until the climax. Isle of the Dead doesn't do that, and instead we're basically given a premise and the rest of the movie features the characters festering in it. It really doesn't make for very compelling viewing.

This movie is of note for featuring a great performance from the legendary Boris Karloff. As usual, Karloff is creepy and malevolent, and yet very real at the same time. Even in a rather dull movie, Karloff can deliver a great performance; and that's what he does here. Director Mark Robson doesn't live up to the high standard set by the likes of Robert Wise and indeed Jacques Tourneur and the film never breathes that foreboding atmosphere that you could cut with a knife that Val Lewton's chillers are famous for capturing. The fact that nearly the entire piece is set on a Greek island, cut off from civilisation gives a stark impression of claustrophobia, but anyone that compares this film to the likes of 'I Walked With a Zombie' and 'The Body Snatcher' will find that it hardly does as good a job as the exhibition of atmosphere that is those films. The film never truly manages to get inside it's characters heads either, and this holds it back greatly as that's what psychological thrillers are meant to do.

At least the film ends on a high, but the ending is really my only reason to recommend the film. I would suggest seeing some other films that Val Lewton produced before seeing this one, and giving this a go if you enjoy those films.

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