Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau (2014, David Gregory)

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Just released by Severin Films is Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau. I was familiar with Richard Stanley through his films Hardware and Dust Devil, but didn't know much about what he has been doing since those films or even that he was the original director of Island of Dr. Moreau. In fact, despite being a huge Marlon Brando fan, I haven't even seen Island of Dr. Moreau, so I was basically going into this film blindly.

Lost Soul is a behind the scenes look at what went wrong with Richard Stanley's proposed take on H.G. Wells' classic story about a scientist who creates a civilization of half human/half animals. We begin with Stanley's initial visions, casting choices and then getting New Line's backing all the way up to filming. Problems then arose with the casting of two of Hollywood's most notoriously difficult actors and then continued with weather problems, differing visions and pretty much anything else you could think of. The film collects new interviews with Stanley, cast, crew and film executives all telling their side of the story, before Stanley was fired and replaced with John Frankenheimer.

Lost Soul is a documentary of the highest caliber. Where some documentaries fail by not including the key players involved in the subject, pretty much everyone you'd want to hear from on this "doomed journey" is accounted for. The only obvious exceptions are Brando, who passed away in 2004, and the film's other lead Val Kilmer (but do we really want to hear from him?). The interviews all seem very heartfelt and honest, without shying away from speaking out on possible black listing, on set fighting and egos gone wild. The film also has several funny stories, mostly in respect to Brando and Kilmer. Interviewees include Stanley, actors Fairuza Balk, Rob Morrow, Marco Hofschneider, Executives Edward R. Pressman and Robert Shaye, as well as local cast and crew members and special FX crew members. Severin's amazing, stuffed 3 disc release of this film includes the following:

Disc 1 (Blu Ray)

• Outtakes (over an hour)
• Graham Humphreys concept art gallery with Richard Stanley commentary
• Archive MOREAU interview with John Frankenheimer
• Barbara Steele recalls MOREAU (audio interview)
• “The Beast of Morbido” featurette
• “Return to the Compound” location featurette
• “Boar Man Diary” featurette

Disc 2 (DVD)

• INSEL DER VERSCHOLLENEN (ISLAND OF THE LOST): recently discovered 1921 film version of MOREAU
• “H.G. Wells on Film” featurette
• “Richard Stanley on Wells” featurette

Disc 3 (CD)

• Audiobook: Stanley reads the unexpurgated version of Wells’ THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU

Rating: 10/10

Purchase Lost Soul directly from Severin HERE

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