Twilight Time Blu-ray: Mysterious Island (1961)

Mysterious Island (The Encore Edition) (1961)

Company: Twilight Time

Starring:  Gary Merrill, Joan Greenwood, Herbert Lom, Beth Rogan, Percy Herbert, Michael Craig, Michael Callan

My Review and Thoughts:

Film: My Rating: 4 out of 5

This is a fantasy classic filled with the wonder and amazing special effects by one of the greatest special effects creator in films. Ray Harryhausen needs no introduction. He was the very definition of skill, art form, mastery in film. His talent was beyond words. His ability was a fine expertise that made a legacy of craftsmanship through imagination, and the art form of capturing that imagination on screen through his work. Mysterious Island is the sequel to Jules Verne’s classic story Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. This time Captain Nemo is on an Island, experimenting and bringing to life a multitude of gigantic creatures. A genius, yet nuttier than a fruit cake.  This time around, stranded strangers upon an island. Little did they know they soon would encounter a vast array of insanity.

A great fantasy adventure. Twilight Time has lovingly created a dynamic transfer to this classic action adventure that is filled with the one of kind touch of the master Harryhausen. I have always loved the talent behind those wonderful creations. Jason and the Argonauts is one of my favorite films. Harryhausen had away that would leave the inner child, and adult side amazed. His creations would leave you in awe of the beauty and art form of his mastery.

Harryhausen is a true god when it comes to creating pure believable imagination of creatures and monsters. He was a master that brought forth creatures or monsters and turned them into characters themselves. Brute monsters became characters, and hateful creatures became living breathing reality through his hands. He developed a wonder through his hands that everything he did, shined in one way or another. Mysterious Island is no different. The transfer to Blu-ray by Twilight Time shines in every way possible.

A wonderful fascinating, dynamic science fiction, strangers in a strange-land, mad scientist and creature laden romp of filmmaking. Fantastical ideas, and artistic wonderment through imagination. This movie is most of all an interesting exploration of the science fiction bug that ran rampant in the 50’s and 60’s of filmmaking. A pure treat of the imaginative recesses of the unknown reality of science.

The plot is simple yet filled with all the imagination of make believe. A group of confederate troops inside a War Camp, escape through a hot air balloon. They are drifted by the wind and land upon an island, and yes, you would guess right, giant crabs and other wonderful nightmarish creations. So begins the struggle to survive in this wild tormented land.

Directed by Cy Endfield. Endfield is a genius himself. A wonderful filmmaker that left the world of cinema with many examples of memorable films. Probably best known for the 1964 film ZULU, and also the awesome much underrated 1965’s Sands of the Kalahari. Endfield had a natural talent at expressing a story, and capturing his actors in dynamic roles, no matter how fancy/imaginative the film was. I think what is more interesting about him, is not so much the film making, as it is, the man himself. Not only did he direct films, but he was an author. Plus, a magician which is another odd reality to him. And might I add, an inventor. Endfield was a dynamic character, and his films showcase a wonderful expertise in film making. His over 30 films and shorts are shining examples of brilliance.

Audio/Video: My Rating: 5 out of 5

This was probably over my 50th time seeing this, and I have to say, it has never looked or sounded any better. Twilight Time always give top quality transfer’s, and new outlet’s to these wonderful films. Mysterious Island is a fantastical experience of child like adventure, and wonderment of imagination. Crisp in sound and vibrant in color.  

VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.66:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA / English 1.0 DTS-HD MA

Extras: My Rating: 4 out 5

Isolated Score Track. Again like always this fantastic added special feature. Love listening to this as always. The man behind this music score is the one and only Bernard Herrmann. The man behind the music really needs no introduction to cinema lovers. He is the master behind some of the greatest music scores of all time. He was a regular on Hitchcock films composing such masterpieces as Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo and many, many other Hitchcock films. Now he also did beyond Hitchcock films such as the masterpieces Citizen Kane, Cape Fear, Fahrenheit 451, and Taxi Driver. Whatever he graced with his master talent, was a true one of a kind music orgy of total perfection that left a movie, with so much more glory, when it had his, musical talent. He was a multi-award winning master composer. He worked his talent from 1941 all the way until 1976. His last four movies in the 70’s was an array of his talent from, De Palma’s Sisters and Obsession, to Cohen’s, It’s Alive, to Scorsese’s, Taxi Driver. He left his stamp in the music and movie world for all generations to experience. He also has been graced by other Twilight Time releases with his music score from The Bride Wore Black CLICK HERE TO READ MY REVIEW and Journey to the Center of the Earth CLICK HERE TO READ MY REVIEW. His music is still being used today in films and TV, most recently in the awesome first season of American Horror Story, and on the big screen in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

Audio Commentary with Film Historians Randall William Cook, C. Courtney Joyner and Steven Smith. This was a fantastic exploration of the film by very knowledgeable film historians.

Two programs titled, Ray Harryhausen on Mysterious Island and Islands of Mystery. The first is Ray talking about this film and what went into creating the creatures and also the storyboards. The second is a black and white program, basically a promotional production program of the film. Each together runs about 16 minutes.  

TV Spots
Theatrical Trailers


I personally think this is one of Harryhausen’s greatest works. I feel this film, or at least his mastery is often overlooked in this film. I feel these creatures blended the best inside the film, and created a thought-provoking look at his expertise in his craft. Mysterious Island I have always felt was one of the forgotten gems of his mastery.

A fantasy only Ray could master in creature form. Endfield directed another Jules Verne brainchild. Many don’t realize that Mysterious Island was part 2 to Jules Verne's ultimate classic Twenty Thousands Leagues Under the Sea. Captain Nemo is once again at his diabolical wonders. An island, giant creatures, and the wonders of imagination. 

Twilight Time did another amazing job at bringing forth another fantastic experience that they accomplish so greatly. A beautiful transfer, awesome special features, dynamic visual and hearing. Another priceless example of how to treat an older film, and express it on a new worthy product. Highly recommend.


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