Re: The Island of Dr. Moreau

From: (SubGStang1)
Newsgroups: alt.slack
Subject: Re: The Island of Dr. Moreau
Date: 3 Sep 1996 16:17:17 -0400

The whole Dallas crew here went to that movie -- Will, Nickie, Matt,
Jesus, me, someone else... and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Sure, I
woulda done things differently, but I thought they did a fairly faithful
adaptation of the book CONSIDERING. Considering the serious personality
conflicts that happened while they were shooting it. An old high school
friend of my wife's, the actor Bill Hootkins, was in it (he's best known
as the fat evil cop in the first Batman movie) and told me that Brando --
with whom Hootkins got along great -- HATED the director and deliberately
fucked the guy around. For instance, the costumes that Moreau wears, the
weird hats and stuff, were entirely Brando's doing. He'd show up on the
set wearing one of these things and say "This is my costume." And he's
change to dialog completely the minute the camera rolled. Just to piss off
the director, and because he could get away with it. Actually I thought
his portrayal of Dr. Howll was right on the money.

Hootkins also told me that Val Kilmer is such an incredible asshole that
Hootkins actually wishes AIDS on the man. But that's backstage gossip.

I am a HUGE FAN of the original H.G. Wells novel. I've probably read it 6
or 7 times since I was 10. The best thing about Wells' novels are the
scientific details, which are pretty hard to go into in a movie, so his
stuff is tricky to render for a mass audience. The 1932 movie ISLAND OF
LOST SOULS is fucking GREAT, and that's where the nearly human cat-girl
character first appeared. There was another version made in the 70s with
Burt Lancaster but it sucked to high heaven... it was really
stomach-turning. I did not have high hopes for this movie, but I was
pleasantly surprised.

The ending is way corny, and the fucked-up "humor" clashes pretty badly
with the rest of the movie. From what I understand, all the sickly funny
stuff was Brando's doing as well. For instance, the little joker guy that
dresses like Moreau, the deformed midget fellow, who ends up being played
for laughs (which I actually found offensive) -- apparently Brando just
plain LIKED that guy and insisted on putting him into all those scenes.

Wells' novel and/or the 1932 film were big influences on a lot of mutants.
The "WHAT IS THE LAW" routine and "ARE WE NOT MEN?" were going to be major
SubGenius catch-phrases when I was working on Pamphlet #1, but the first
DEVO album came out and they beat me to it so I dropped it. Oingo Boingo
also did a wonderful song, "NO SPILL BLOOD," which uses the refrain.

Now that I think about it, it's kind of a shame that neither Danny Elfman
nor Mark Mothersbaugh scored that movie.

I'm always a little disappointed that they don't do Wells movies as period
pieces, set in the time he was writing about (turn of the century). THE
TIME MACHINE was an exception. ISLAND could have been done period-style,
although genetic manipulation wasn't something Wells was thinking about.
Until Montgomery mentions Jimi Hendrix, you really don't know WHEN the
movie is taking place and it doesn't much matter. In the book, Montgomery
is a drunk and pretty seedy, and I didn't mind that they modernized the
character for Kilmer by making him a drug freak. In fact the scene where
he's doling out pills to the cave full of animal people seemed all too
uncomfortably familiar to me. It gave me a serious sense of deja vu.

(Come to think of it, I've had serious deja vu a couple of other times
watching Val Kilmer. In THE DOORS, there's a scene where Jim Morrison is
stumbling around a fucking WEIRD Andy Warhol party, fucked up out of his
gourd, and totally out of his league with these sophistos. I have LIVED
that scene although not at an Andy Warhol party.)


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