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Alfred E. Green
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
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A ship-wrecked man floats ashore on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The island is inhabited by a scientist, Dr. Moreau, who in an experiment has turned beasts into human beings.Written by
When Dr Moreau injects Braddock with a body-altering substance, he injects him in the upper chest. This is the incorrect area for an injection. An intravenous inject site is usually in the arm and an intramuscular injection it is usually in the shoulder, thigh or buttocks. See more »
Based on the excellent novel by renowned science fiction author H.G. Wells, this watchable and updated remake of the 1933 film starring Charles Laughton plays on the Frankenstein theme where man attempts to play God and improve upon Mother Nature. Andrew Braddock (Michael York) is a castaway of a shipwreck who serendipitously lands on an isolated island in the Pacific, and becomes the guest of the main inhabitant, Dr Moreau who appears seemingly hospitable enough at first. His other companions are ex-mercenary Montgomery (Nigel Davenport), and a beautiful yet emotionally distant woman Maria (Barbara Carrera),whom the doctor claims to have rescued from poverty from another country and brought up as his ward. Braddock's stay is normal albeit boring at first (not really much to do on an isolated island, is there?), then he begins to notice that things are not what they seem - the strange animal sounds that emanate from the forest at night, and the weird facial features of the servants who wait upon the doctor. His worst fears are confirmed when he encounters the results of the doctor's experiments - upright hairy creatures (who look like variations of the Wolfman of the old horror movies) that appear human and yet are not exactly men, though they wear clothing and can speak. He realizes that Dr Moreau is a madman doing modern Frankenstein-type experiments by messing up with the DNA of humans and animals, with Montgomery as a contemporary Igor - how the doctor obtains and maintains sterility of his concoctions and instruments without the benefit of refrigeration or sterilization in such primitive conditions is a moot point.
When Braddock protests at the cruel treatment of the creatures, Dr Moreau attempts to justify his experiments by explaining that by doing so, humanity would be benefited by elimination of birth defects and such, but Braddock is unconvinced.
Though they are repulsive-looking in appearance, the viewer can't help but sympathize with the plight of the "manimals", who live together in squalor in a dark cave, kept in line by The Laws established by Moreau - do not kill, do not shed blood, do not walk on all fours, etc. - repeated on an almost daily basis by their apparent leader the Sayer of the Law (Richard Baseheart), who looks the most "human" and "civilized" of the lot. Infractions of the Law results in being brought to the so-called House of Pain, where Moreau attempts to "correct" the miscreant and remind him that he is human and not animal.
The turning point in the film is when the Bullman (obviously originally a bison by the presence of a hairy hump on his back), having broken the law of shedding blood, attempts to flee rather than face punishment and is gunned down by Braddock. Yet despite having broken the law against killing, Braddock goes apparently unpunished, establishing in the minds of the other man-beasts of the unfairness of the Law - they seem to ask silently, why can this man kill and go scot-free and we can't?, and the eventual murder of Montgomery at the hands of Dr Moreau himself reinforces the double-standards of The Law in their eyes, and they eventually rise and revolt against the doctor, killing him, destroying the compound in which he lives in and setting it on fire. Ironically, it is this very act of staging a collective uprising which brings out the "humanity" of the creatures, as it shows that they can after all, think and plan and not merely act on their basic instincts, as the scenes where they suspend the doctor on a rope and systematically destroy the House of Pain and release the captive animals show. So in a way, Dr Moreau's experiments were not a total failure as he thought, they just didn't turn out the way he anticipated.
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