Just watched it for the first time
So I just watched the 1977 version of the Island of Dr. Moreau for the first time.
I was already familiar with the black and white version titled "Island of Lost Souls" from 1932 which has a brief appearance by Bela Lugosi. And I had liked that one a great deal.
And it was that love of the black and white version that lead to me watching the Marlon Brando version in the theatre (much to my disappointment...)
So I finally watched the 1977 version with Michael York. I'm torn as to if I like it more than the black and white version or not. As far as portrayals of Dr. Moreau himself this has the best version of the doctor. I like the twist hat he attempts an inversion of his animal experiments on the protagonist. I also like that Maria lives.
Maria didn't exist in the original novel. In the 1932 version she was a Panther-Woman and sort of love interest for the protagonist. She was a panther woman again the Marlon Brando version too. In this version she's entirely human but was apparently raised on the island to be a servant of Dr. Moreau and knows no other life. She lives in this version, which I like, but I wish that she was kept part-Panther. That was an interesting twist.
Other than the change of the panther Woman to Maria the servant (even though neither version exist in the original novel) I really do like this version. And what deviations exist from the H. G. Wells story aren't really bad ones. I like that he attempted an inversion of his experiment to try to figure out what went wrong. I'm actually a little surprised that in this age of Torture Porn no one has tried to make a grittier / more graphic adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau for modern audiences.