Saturday, September 12, 2015


Caught up with this amazing documentary a few night back. Directed by David Gregory, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau is a riveting account of the attempt by visionary South African director Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil) to write and direct a radical new version of H. G. Wells' classic novel The Island of Dr. Moreau . What was initially to be a relatively small budget feature quickly mushroomed out of hand with the signing of Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer, and after only a tumultuous few days of filming in North Queensland, the enigmatic and sensitive Stanley found himself unceremoniously dumped from his dream project, the producers and studio (New Line Cinema) fearing he was ill-prepared for the realities of a big-budget shoot, not to mention working with the notoriously difficult Brando and Kilmer. John Frankenheimer was bought in to take over directorial duties on the film, which was universally panned when it finally hit the screen. Stanley's once-promising filmmaking career never really recovered, and the experience virtually sent him into hiding for a long time.
There's a lot more to the story, but best to see and hear it for yourself. If you love docos about filmmaking, and particularly about the chaos and uncertainty of filmmaking, and an artist's struggle to get his unique vision across in a big studio film, you will love Lost Soul. It's out in Australia from Monster Pictures, though I'm now keen to obtain a copy of the US release from Severin Films, which looks to have a lot of bonus material that is unfortunately missing from the local release (which only has the trailer as an extra).