Isle of the Dead

1945

Drama / Horror / Mystery / Thriller

46
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 4

Synopsis


Downloaded times
March 30, 2021

Director

Cast

Alan Napier as Alfred
Boris Karloff as Dr. Janos Rukh
Jason Robards Sr. as Bruckner
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
654.26 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
71 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.19 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
71 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Ron Oliver 10 / 10 / 10

Karloff Most Effective In Psychological Thriller

In 1912, a stern old Greek general finds himself trapped on the ISLE OF THE DEAD after an outbreak of the dreaded plague. When the front office at RKO Pictures informed producer Val Lewton that Boris Karloff had been procured to appear in his next suspense film, he wasn't entirely pleased. Karloff was famous for his portrayal of horrific monsters & mummies, sensationalist creations not at all in tune with the psychological thrillers for which Lewton was noted -- with very low budgets, he was able to fashion fascinating films in which the atmosphere was every bit as important as the plot. Luckily, Karloff turned out to be an inspired choice. Determined to show that he was a skilled actor (actually, he was a very fine & talented performer) he was completely in sync with what Lewton envisaged, giving a nuanced portrayal of an essentially decent man who finds himself slowly driven to a sort of despair by the forces around him. He becomes the heart of a film which wisely saves its shocks for the last few minutes, having built up to the eerie climax slowly & inexorably. Lewton was very pleased with Karloff's work and arranged two more collaborations. With only two weeks left in filming ISLE OF THE DEAD, Karloff had to be hospitalized for serious back problems. On his release from hospital, he found Lewton was all prepared to film THE BODY SNATCHER (1945). Karloff gave another wonderful performance, before finally finishing ISLE OF THE DEAD. The following year Karloff starred in Lewton's BEDLAM (1946), completing the trio of very tidy thrillers. Karloff's co-stars give him good support, especially Ernst Deutsch as a military doctor; Alan Napier & Katherine Emery as a British consul and his invalid wife; Helen Thimig as a superstitious Greek peasant; and little Skelton Knaggs, who in a tiny scene with only a few words is able to make his Cockney tinker character come alive. Ellen Drew & Marc Cramer handle the romance, which fortunately does not intrude too much on the story. The viewer, in the course of watching ISLE OF THE DEAD, will discover much about the medical state of catatonia, as well as the monstrous vorvolaka, part vampire - part werewolf, which haunts Greek nightmares. Lewton based his ideas for this film on a painting he had seen as a boy in Russia, Arnold Böcklin's darkly allegorical Island of the Dead (1880), which is shown behind the opening credits of the film. This somewhat sinister painting was also the inspiration for Sergey Rachmaninoff's celebrated symphonic poem, ‘The Isle of the Dead' (1909). Incidentally, the conflict which is the background to the film was the Balkan War of 1912, in which the Balkan League (Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria & Montenegro) attacked the Ottoman Empire and destroyed most of its hegemony on the European continent. Begun in October and ended in December, it was short & bloody. However, troubles in Constantinople started hostilities up again in January of 1913. It finally ended in May, with the Turks once more decisively defeated. Although the Empire was left very much weakened, the War solved very little else. In June, the victorious parties began fighting amongst themselves, with Greece & Serbia trouncing Bulgaria by August. Greece ended the two short Wars with Crete and parts of Macedonia & Epirus added to her territories and the new state of Albania was carved out of old Ottoman lands. But ancient animosities were aroused and the entire Peninsula lay waiting for the next international incident, which obligingly took place 10 months later at the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

Reviewed by A_Roode 10 / 10 / 10

My favourite Val Lewton film

When searching and looking up movies on the IMDb I'll often come across movies and think to myself that 'this one should be a little bit higher,' or 'that one should be a little bit lower' -- generally speaking I'm pretty comfortable with the ratings that I see. Every now and then though I find a rating that just absolutely mystifies me. Did the people who voted watch the same movie that I did? The number is an extreme from where I think the film actually belongs. For me, Val Lewton's 'Isle of the Dead' is one of those films. It currently has a rating of 6.4 and when I saw that I was stunned to say the very least. I first saw this movie on late night BBC (I was living in England at the time) a couple of years ago. It has stayed with me ever since. I love old movies and horror movies are one of the kinds of film that I actively seek out and watch. 'Isle of the Dead' had a lot of competition if it wanted to have any lasting impact with me. It left a great impression and is the reason that years later I've sought out the rest of Val Lewton's work. 'Isle of the Dead' remains my favourite and I truly hope that people will give it another look. Let me start with the setting. When I originally watched it I thought it was so fresh and original to set a horror film during the Balkan's war in 1912. I can't think of any other films that have done that before or since. You get a very morbid opening scene that reveals a great deal about Karloff's character. He doesn't instruct a sub-ordinate to commit suicide, but he publicly humiliates them and pushes a revolver towards them after making it quite clear that their military career is over. He has an extreme sense of duty, justice and obligation. Fail, in his eyes, and you'll pay a deep price. He's also very protective in his nature -- especially of the men who he commands. He is modern in his approach. Reason and logic are his weapons but superstition and a sense of obligation are his foundation. This is the man who will be trapped and quarantined on an island with a group of travellers and strangers while a plague, or something more sinister, slowly kills each of them off. The movie is extremely claustrophobic and very well done. They can see the mainland but can't go to it. They are trapped in their own rooms -- alone -- or in the house with the other quarantees. The doctor will try to save them. Science, reason and logic -- the General's core -- will protect them. But when that core begins to fail, he is influenced by superstition, folklore and hysteria ... and acts accordingly. It is a terrific part for Karloff and the General is a great character study. The psychological depth is wonderful. There MUST be a rational explanation for the deaths. They try, and fail, to fight plague-like symptoms by using plague preventative techniques. He is so wedded to finding rational solutions that when confronted with their failure, paradoxically, he decides that the rational solution must be supernatural agents at work. 'Willing Suspension of Disbelief,' seems to be an unfamiliar concept for some of the film's naysayers. The film is unbelievable because people from different countries appear to be able to converse -- without difficulty -- in one language. It is in Greece and the only non-Greek characters are a British diplomat and his wife (may we presume that being a diplomat to Greece, knowledge of how to speak it MIGHT be advantageous?) an American reporter covering the war and a Greek general (since he doesn't have an interpreter, MIGHT he not have some knowledge of the language?), an ex-pat archaeologist who has been there for over a decade (he's probably had NO opportunity to pick up ANY of the language then, eh?) and a travelling student who is eager to return home (that classical education of Greek likely being of no use to him). People don't like the costuming either -- Karloff's wig being such a distraction that it makes the film unenjoyable for them. I really have no way of responding to what seems like an infinitesimally small and nit-picky criticism. The core of the story is whether or not as a horror film and a character study it successfully builds tension and depth from beginning to end. Do consequences of actions have meaning? The tension is high from the opening scene and the stakes only get higher through the film until the final bloody conclusion. The scares are fantastic -- particularly one in the shadows and who comes out of them. There is a tremendous scene with a coffin that is the very height of anxiety, despair and cinematic tension. Is that scene predictable? OF COURSE it is! That's what makes it's eventual occurrence so intense! It is a huge pay-off that is advertised with great skill and execution. This is one of the best films that Mark Robson ever directed and I think he graduated to A-list director largely because of it. 'Isle of the Dead' is under-watched, under-rated, and a gem of cinema intense in it's own beauty. It might be my favourite horror film of the 1940's through 50's.

Reviewed by preppy-3 10 / 10 / 10

One of Val Lewton's best horror movie

Scary, fascinating tale set in 1912 Greece. A bunch of people are quarantined on an island (which contains a graveyard) by the plague. A general (Boris Karloff) is in charge, but people dying from the plague, the isolation and close quarters begin to eat away at him. He starts to believe a young, healthy woman among them is a vorvolaka (a vampire). And there's the woman who has an extreme fear of being buried alive... Quick paced and very literate horror film. There's lots of dialogue about faith, wars, superstition--all of it interesting. The settings are very dark, eerie with a spooky wind always blowing. There are scary moments throughout but they really shift into high gear during the final 15 minutes. This movie gave me nightmares when I was little! The cast is adequate (except for Jason Robards Sr.--boy, was he annoying!) but Karloff and Katherine Emery were excellent. Truly frightening old horror film. A definite must-see.

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