[On break] Movie Moreau

This is the last spring break post. Regular posting resumes April 4.

I note with neither surprise nor indignation that when a person learns I wrote a book about “Doctor Moreau,” he or she instantly mentions a movie, with which one being determined per person usually by age or degree of film-enthusiasm. You might not know there have been seven of them, the first, unfortunately, being lost. I’ve seen all the others and indeed own them. I wanted to write a book above the novel, but no one could reasonably expect that the readership’s going to put aside the films. So I wrote about them too, usually in contrast to the novel when it brought up something interesting, setting these bits off with boxed text. As it turned out the differences were important.

This is where The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H. G. Wells, 1896, encounters the same fate as Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly, 1818/1831. The films totally turn it into what I’m calling the Don’t Meddle story

I can’t complain about this too much. True, it subverts and diminishes the novel, but we’re talking about a visual medium – if a guy’s going to make people out of nonhuman animals, then the viewers’ expectation of “monsters monsters” is understandable.

That’s the real meat of it – beyond the makeup, whether they’re Beast Folk or Beast Monsters.




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