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Prisoner of Shark Island [Import]

Warner Baxter , Gloria Stuart , John Ford    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
20th Century Fox presents "THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND" (1936) - (96 min/B&W) -- Starring: Warner Baxter, Gloria Stuart, Claude Gillingwater, Arthur Byron, John Carradine & Harry Carey

Directed by John Ford

In 1865 Dr. Samuel Mudd (Warner Baxter), 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 (Francis McDonald), 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 Sgt. Rankin (John Carradine) who hates Mudd because of his "complicity" in Lincoln's death, the doctor suffers the torments of the damned, while back home his wife, Peggy (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.

An almost unbelievable but true story ... well told by the maestro John Ford

Dr. Samuel Mudd's story was retold in the Hellgate (1952), with Sterling Hayden as the (fictional) doctor. Also worth a view.

BIOS:
1. John Ford [aka: John Martin Feeney] Director)
Date of Birth: 1 February 1894, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA
Date of Death: 31 August 1973, Palm Desert, California, USA (stomach cancer)

2. Warner Baxter
Date of Birth: 29 March 1889 - Columbus, Ohio
Date of Death: 7 May 1951 - Beverly Hills, California

3.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine early John Ford Jan. 16 2008
By Mcgivern Owen L - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"The Prisoner of Shark Island" is the story of one Samuel Mudd, a Maryland physician. The good doctor is ably played by Warner Baxter. After assassinating President Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth hurt his leg jumping from a balcony. Eluding the Law, JWB called on Mudd, who set the leg without knowing Booth's true identity. The pursuing Fed troops treat Mudd as a conspirator and he is sentenced to life in a military stockade. The "trial" is an unvarnished martial law kangaroo court. The "Shark Island" here is actually Dry Tortugas Island, off the coast of Key West, FL. PSI deals with the efforts of Mudd and his wife to win exoneration. There is excellent work here, especially by Gloria Staurt as a fiercely loyal wife standing by her man, and Harry Carey Sr. as the prison commandant. In PSI, all the prison guards are African American. They receive interesting treatment, given the historical setting of both the Civil War and climate of mid 1930s, when PSI was made. A good review doesn't reveal endings but the one here is thoroughly satisfying. One may wish to have a tissue handy. Even in the 1930s, John Ford could be sentimental! This reviewer benefited from a brand new CD, clear and sharp. PSI is one of those oldies which are not over shown/overexposed. Amazoners are urged to make an effort to view it. Highly recommended!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Mudd Nov. 28 2011
By Leon Vogt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Another great movie! I also saw this movie as a child. Old movies are a hobby of mine. The new movies are not as good as the old ones.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LONE GUNMAN OR CONSPIRACY?? Sept. 7 2008
By Loves To Read - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The film begins with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth jumping on to the stage and making his escape out the back of the theater. In jumping from the balcony, Booth breaks his leg and soon needs medical attention. In the movie he asks for directions to a local doctor and appears unannounced at the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who, of course (without the Internet & cable TV) has not yet heard of the assassination. He treats Booth and keeps him overnight until he can travel again. The authorities trace Booth's escape to Mudd's estate and arrest him for being an accomplice. He is tried in what appears to be somewhat of a kangaroo court and sent to Shark Island Prison in the Florida Keys. He tried to escape once, unsuccessfully. A violent outbreak of Yellow Fever in which he heroically saves the lives of many of the prisoners while risking his own, convinces his accusers to rethink his guilt. The question is whether Dr. Mudd was an innocent bystander as the movie depicts or was he, in fact, part of the Booth conspiracy. This movie is well done and entertaining and is a terrific introduction to the whole story of John Wilkes Booth and the conspiracy theories. Like the JFK assassination debate, was this a lone gunman or a conspiracy much larger? A fascinating subject. [...]
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An innocent man convicted of treason..??? Oct. 6 2007
By Seen Them All - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When John Wlikes Booth assassinated President Lincoln he jumped to the stage from Lincoln's private box and broke his leg. This movie is about Doctor Mudd who treated Booth's leg when he was on the run from authorities. Mudd was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to prison on an island fortress in the Florida Keys. This is the story of his life. Mudd maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal but the truth is only known to Mudd himself. Good story, well acted but somewhat depressing. Worth a look.
5.0 out of 5 stars PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND May 10 2014
By James R. Morrella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is the story of Dr. Mudd and the miscarriage of justice he suffered by merely treating the man who slew President Lincoln. The hysteria the surrounded the Lincoln Assassination was astounding. Once convictions were issued no one was willing to admit a mistake. It cost a woman her life and Dr. Mudd years in prison. Another great performance by Warner Baxter. With all films there will always be some errors, but it was truly great that 70 years after someone was willing to try and tell the truth.
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