A twisted treasure from Hollywood’s pre-Code horror heyday, Island of Lost Souls is a cautionary tale of science run amok adapted from H.G. Wells’s novel The Island of Dr. Moreau. In one of his first major movie roles, Charles Laughton is a mad doctor conducting ghastly genetic experiments on a remote island in the South Seas, much to the fear and disgust of the shipwrecked sailor (Richard Arlen) who finds himself trapped there. Erle C. Kenton’s touchstone of movie terror is elegantly shot by Karl Struss, features groundbreaking makeup effects that inspired generations of monster-movie artists, and costars Bela Lugosi in one his most gruesome roles. –The Criterion Collection
Erle Cauthorn Kenton was born August 1, 1896 in Norborne, Missouri. In 1900 he had moved with his parents to Mexico, Missouri, but by 1910 was living with his Grandmother, Sarah Cauthorn in Los Angeles, California and attending school there. He first entered the film industry as a comedian, working on the Keystone Cops series of films. He later turned to directing and made short comedies for every major studio in Hollywood before becoming a feature film director.
He started out as a Keystone Cop under the direction of Mack Sennett in 1914, working his way up the Sennett Studio ladder as a gagman and assistant director. After successfully handling several 2-reelers, Kenton was given a crack at directing a feature film, the 1920 Sennett production Down on the Farm. He continued working in a comic vein at other studios throughout the silent era; typical titles in the Kenton manifest included The Sap (1926), Bare Knees (1927) and Golf Widows (1928).
Easily making the transition… read more
In our annual poll, we pair our favorite new films of 2012 with older films seen in the same year to create fantastic double features.