Isle of the Dead
(1945) is one of producer Val Lewton
's horror films made for RKO Radio Pictures
. The movie had a script inspired by the painting Isle of the Dead
by Arnold Böcklin
, which appears behind the title credits, though the film was originally titled "Camilla" during production. (Another of Lewton's films, I Walked With a Zombie
, has the painting hung in the main room of the movie.) It was written by frequent Lewton collaborator Ardel Wray; directed by Mark Robson
, the fourth of five pictures he directed for Lewton; and starred Boris Karloff
, the first of three pictures he made with Lewton (although the second released).
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The story is set on a Greek isle during the First Balkan War
in 1912–1913, when a plague forces a quarantine
on the island's visitors. As they die one by one, a young woman is accused of being a vorvolakas
, a sort of vampire.
Filming began for about two weeks in July 1944 until production was suspended when Karloff required a back operation. It was completed in December 1944. In the interim, after Karloff had recovered from the surgery but before the cast of Isle of the Dead
could be reassembled, he and Lewton made The Body Snatcher
. The film had a troubled production, and the central female character of the original script (named "Catherine") was deleted entirely from the tale.
's somber score makes use of another work inspired by Böcklin's... Read More