Isle of the Dead (1945)

Genres - Horror  |   Release Date - Sep 7, 1945 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 72 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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More or less dismissed on its initial release, Isle of the Dead has only improved with age and remains a truly frightening suspense thriller, its final scene as shocking now as it was then and filmed for maximum effect by novice director Mark Robson. Karloff, whose emergency spinal operation held up filming for months, is sympathetic as the proud, but unbending military commander, and studio contract actors Marc Cramer and Ellen Drew do well in their somewhat limited roles. But the film belongs in many ways to the women supporting characters: Katherine Emery as the poor invalid whose worst nightmare comes true, and Helene Thimig, the widow of theater legend Max Reinhardt, whose accusatory Kyra is positively terrifying. Böcklin's famous painting had also inspired a 1913 Danish drama, De Dødes Ø.