THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU is based on the 1896 classic novel by H.G. Wells. The movie was directed by Don Taylor from a screenplay by Al Ramrus and John Herman Shaner and stars Burt Lancaster as the titular doctor in this screen adaptation that also features Michael York as Andrew Braddock, Barbara Carrera as Maria, Nigel Davenport as Montgomery, Dr. Moreau’s right-hand man, and Richard Basehart as the island’s Sayer of the Law. The movie features a score by Laurence Rosenthal.

Following a shipwreck, crewman Andrew Braddock (York) washes up on a mysterious island ruled by the seemingly benevolent Dr. Moreau (Lancaster). Braddock will learn that this “man of science” has been testing a serum on the island animals which is able to transform them into near-human beings. As the deranged doctor slips ever closer to insanity, Braddock’s plans to escape the island along with Maria (Carrera), another of the doctor’s guests, is thwarted at every turn. Has Braddock’s discovery come too late? And at what cost?

Once Braddock arrives on this isolated island it doesn’t take long for him to discover that something isn’t right and Dr. Moreau is behind it all. Moreau welcomes in his new visitor with open arms and really doesn’t shy away or try to hide anything from Braddock so he shows off his creations almost like he’s bragging about it all. In the meantime, Braddock falls for Maria, the one and only female who lives among the men and monsters and the two really hit it off. Braddock oversteps his bounds with Moreau so the mad scientist decides to use his new guest as his latest experimental guinea pig. What happens is, Moreau finds out the hard way that he really can’t tame the wild beast and all of his mutated monsters end up turning on him and ultimately destroys his entire compound. Braddock and Maria narrowly escape the wrath of the monsters as they flee The Island of Dr. Moreau.

The front of the packaging features the classic artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. There’s also a booklet inside that features the essay by Gorman Beauchamp, an associate professor at the University of Michigan. This is also available in the extras on the disc so you can read it on your screen if you’d like. The DVD disc also features some similar artwork and movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this standard-definition release were both really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio. Olive Films did a good job with this release for this 40-year old old horror classic.

Bottom line is, The Island of Dr. Moreau ended up being a first time watch for me but I had seen the 1996 remake years ago. This 1977 horror classic borrows some from the tale of Victor Frankenstein and follows this mad scientist who plays God by experimenting on humans and animals with the end result being some terrifying mutated creations. I’ve always enjoyed theatrical and television adaptations of H.G. Wells’ work and this one was a fascinating experience for me. Don Taylor did a really good job bringing this classic tale to life that’s complimented by this talented cast that did a really good job with their characters. There were also some amazing makeup effects used to create these creatures and considering the age of this movie I think it all looked amazing. The Island of Dr. Moreau releases on DVD on August 29th and if you’ve never seen this classic horror movie from the 70’s then I highly recommend you give it a watch.

Distributor: Olive Films

Run Time: 99 Minutes

Rated: PG

DVD Video: Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) Color

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include the original trailer, some new audio commentary and an essay about the movie. This is the same as in the booklet that’s included with the release. I really would like to see Olive Films add more bonus content with their releases. They could dig up some old TV and radio spots and maybe do more interviews with cast and crew. Just a thought.

  • Trailer (02:14)
  • New Audio Commentary with Jeff Belanger and Dr. Dreck
  • “The Island of Doctor Moreau as Theological Grotesque” – essay by Gorman Beauchamp
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