ISLAND OF LOST SOULS. Paramount Pictures, 1932. Charles Laughton (Dr. Moreau), Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams, Bela Lugosi, Kathleen Burke, Arthur Hohl, Stanley Fields. Screenplay by Waldemar Young & Philip Wylie, based on the novel The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells. Director: Erle C. Kenton.

   Gawd, what a great film! Stunning sets, great acting, and a really well-constructed script. The part where Richard Arlen first lands on the Island and Charles Laughton keeps cracking his whip at half-seen things evokes shivers in even the most sophisticated horror-film addicts precisely because it plays on sophistication: the suspicion that someday this obese gargoyle will be without his whip, and the question of what will happen then.

   When the answer to that question comes, it lives right up to every expectation. On reflection, and considering that Erle C. Kenton, who directed this, also helmed House of Frankenstein / Dracula and Salome, Where She Danced, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate him as a potential auteur.

— Reprinted from A Shropshire Sleuth #45, July 1990.