Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014)

DailyView: Day 101, Movie 171

Yesterday I watched the new documentary Val, about the life of Val Kilmer. During that film, one of my favorite parts was the part of the doc that detailed the filming of The Island of Dr. Moreau. In my review of the film, I stated that “I have a feeling that there is a whole movie that could be made about the making of The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

Little did I know, that was already done. In 2014, there was a documentary entitled Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau. There it was on Shudder.

Richard Stanley was the first director of The Island of Dr. Moreau, one who had a nightmarish time on the project and who wound up being fired and replaced by John Frankenheimer. There were so many things that happened on this movie set that, from all accounts, was an insane production.

The film tells the story of the film from start to end, but it is told more from the POV of people working on the film, giving their personal tales of the oddities that happened to them.

The film does have many interviews with Richard Stanley scattered throughout, giving him an opportunity to speak to what he was seeing at the time. Some of the cast/crew’s recollections of Stanley did not color the director in the best light. Their stories made him seem like an eccentric director that was in over his head.

One of my favorite bits was when Stanley confirmed that he had gotten his hands on one of the masks for the background mutants and, after he had been fired, he returned to the set as an extra without anyone knowing. Stanley showed us the dog mask that he had worn and we saw pictures of him in the background of scenes. Crazy.

Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer were painted as another pair of villains in the film. Most everyone told us how difficult it was to work with the two actors. The one thing that was really missing from the documentary was an interview with Val Kilmer. I would have liked to hear the counter to the “Val is making our lives miserable” comment that was basically what everyone said.

I still feel like there is a movie to be made out of this film production. You couldn’t find more fascinating or oddball characters than Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, Richard Stanley, John Frankenheimer, and others. Perhaps there is a comedy in the idea. Or maybe one of the Wes Anderson style films.

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