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The Prisoner of Shark Island

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Overview

Warner Baxter plays Dr. Samuel Mudd, American history's most famous victim of circumstance. In 1865, Dr. Mudd, a known Confederate sympathizer, sets the broken leg of a mud-caked stranger who stumbles into his home. The injured man turns out to be John Wilkes Booth, and Mudd is accused of conspiring to murder President Lincoln. Sentenced to hang with the genuine conspirators, Mudd finds his sentence commuted to life imprisonment at the very last moment. He is shipped to Shark Island, a brutal penal colony. ...
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Overview

Warner Baxter plays Dr. Samuel Mudd, American history's most famous victim of circumstance. In 1865, Dr. Mudd, a known Confederate sympathizer, sets the broken leg of a mud-caked stranger who stumbles into his home. The injured man turns out to be John Wilkes Booth, and Mudd is accused of conspiring to murder President Lincoln. Sentenced to hang with the genuine conspirators, Mudd finds his sentence commuted to life imprisonment at the very last moment. He is shipped to Shark Island, a brutal penal colony. Subject to the cruelties of a guard John Carradine who hates Mudd because of his "complicity" in Lincoln's death, the doctor suffers the torments of the damned, while outside Shark Island his wife Gloria Stuart campaigns desperately to get her husband pardoned. During a Yellow Fever breakout on Shark Island, Dr. Mudd performs heroically to save the survivors. For his humanitarian efforts, Mudd is finally released and reunited with his wife. While the script glosses over the fact that Dr. Mudd had never been officially pardoned by the US government the pardon wouldn't be granted until years after this film was made, Prisoner of Shark Island strives long and hard to exonerate the man for whom the phrase "your name is mud!" was coined. Dr. Samuel Mudd's story was retold in the 1952 feature Hellgate, with Sterling Hayden as a fictional doctor, and in the 1980 TV movie The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd, starring Dennis Weaver in the title role.
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Special Features

Commentary by author & film historian Anthony Slide; Restoration comparison; Interactive photo gallery; Advertising gallery; Still gallery
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
The team of director John Ford, screenwriter Nunnally Johnson, and producer Darryl F. Zanuck was best remembered for its work on the classic The Grapes of Wrath (1940). Four years earlier, the same three men crafted the excellent The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), memorable as Ford's only foray into docudrama. While much of the depiction of Dr. Samuel Mudd (Warner Baxter)'s relationship with his crusading wife (Gloria Stuart) was probably invention, the adherence to a mostly accurate historical viewpoint was unusual for Ford. The director's most successful forays into historical storytelling, such as Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) and My Darling Clementine (1946), liberally blended fact with fiction in films that bore little resemblance to reality. The Prisoner of Shark Island was the first of three Hollywood efforts to exonerate Mudd, the Maryland physician who was probably falsely accused of participating in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln in 1865; the other films were Hellgate (1952) and, for television, The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd (1980). In real life, Mudd earned an 1869 pardon from his valiant efforts to save fellow prisoners and captors during a yellow fever epidemic at the remote island fort in the Dry Tortugas where he was in captivity. However, Mudd, whose name gave birth to the insulting expression, "your name is mud," was not pardoned for the crime he allegedly committed until nearly a hundred years after his death. That pardon owed no small debt to the trio of popular films that uniformly depicted him as an innocent victim of justice gone wrong.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/4/2007
  • UPC: 024543482703
  • Original Release: 1936
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled / Full Frame
  • Time: 1:36:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 54,953

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Warner Baxter Dr. Samuel Mudd
Gloria Stuart Mrs. Peggy Mudd
Claude Gillingwater Col. Dyer
Arthur Byron Mr Ericson
Harry Carey Commandant of Fort Jefferson "Shark Island"
O.P. Heggie Dr. MacIntyre
Francis Ford Corporal O'Toole
John McGuire Lieutenant Lovett
Francis McDonald John Wilkes Booth
Douglas Wood Gen. Ewing
John Carradine Sgt. Rankin
Ernest Whitman Buckland Montmorency "Buck" Tilford
Frank McGlynn Sr. Abraham Lincoln
J.M. Kerrigan Judge Malben
Frank Baker
Whitney Bourne
A.S. Byron Mr. Erickson
Robert Dudley Druggist
Jan Duggan Actress
Dick Elliott Actor
Paul Fix David Herold
Bud Geary
Robert E. Homans Sergeant
Joyce Kay Martha Mudd
Fred Kohler Jr. Sgt. Cooper
Duke Lee
Arthur Loft Carpetbagger
Wilfred Lucas Colonel
Murdock MacQuarrie Spangler
James Marcus Blacksmith
Merrill McCormick Commandant's Aide
Etta McDaniel Rosabelle Tilford
J.P. McGowan Ship's Captain
Leila McIntyre Mrs. Lincoln
Paul McVey Hunter
Maurice Murphy Orderly
Robert Parrish
Jack Pennick Signal Man
Frank Shannon Judge Advocate Holt
Paul Stanton Orator
Harry Strang Mate
Cyril Thornton Maurice O'Laughlin
Cecil Weston Mrs. Surratt
Lloyd Whitlock Maj. Rathbone
Beulah Hall Jones Blanche
Technical Credits
John Ford Director
William S. Darling Art Director
Bert Glennon Cinematographer
Nunnally Johnson Associate Producer, Screenwriter
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Jack Murray Editor
Louis Silvers Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Gwen Wakeling Costumes/Costume Designer
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Prisoner of Shark Island
1. Main Titles/Assassination [6:34]
2. Unknowing Accomplice [4:52]
3. Lucky Day [2:56]
4. The Boot [:18]
5. Under Arrest [5:09]
6. The Trial Begins [3:10]
7. Pleading for His Life [4:54]
8. Verdict [1:47]
9. The Dry Tortugas [3:42]
10. Life in Prison [6:42]
11. Mrs. Mudd's Plan [:38]
12. Plan in Motion [4:35]
13. Escape [4:48]
14. Captured and Returner [4:25]
15. Yellow Fever [5:25]
16. Still a Doctor [1:20]
17. Taking Control [5:23]
18. Whatever the Cost [5:19]
19. Request for Clemency [1:09]
20. Homecoming/End Titles [3:14]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Prisoner of Shark Island
   Play Movie
   Language Selection
      Language and Audio
         English Mono
         Commentary by Author and Film Historian Anthony Slide
      Subtitles
         English
         Spanish
         French
         None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Commentary by Author and Film Historian Anthony Slide: On/Off
      Restoration Comparison
      Interactive Pressbook
      Advertising Gallery
      Still Gallery
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Customer Reviews

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