10 July 2001 | BaronBl00d
Island of the Big Cats
This seldom seen Universal horror/adventure film tells the story of a ship with a cargo of lions, panthers, leopards, and tigers crashing on the shore on a small island. The animals survive only to stalk the band of survivors from the boat. Against the backdrop of this we have an odd sort of love triangle between the self-professed leader of the human survivors(played in an incredibly annoying manner by Charles Bickford), a dandy sort of fellow played by Frank Albertson, and the pretty woman aboard a boat full of men(gee, I was real surprised there was some tension amongst the men). Elizabeth Young plays the heroine and is quite good as she openly shows her love for Albertson but feels something for the bruteness of Bickford. The rest of the survivors include three wonderful characterizations by three wonderful character actors. First, Leslie Fenton plays the ship's captain and, he is very good in this subtle, complex role. Clarence Muse also shines as a deck-mate(except when he sings when he shouldn't). Sig Ruman, however, does the best as a former lion tamer who goes crazy. The sequence where he experiences his flashback is very innovative and inspired acting. The film is fast-paced and the sets look authentic. For me the only real flaw was Bickford and his annoying acting "talent."