The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)

The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)

The Prisoner of Shark Island





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Movie Info

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.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Nunnally Johnson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 14, 2006
20th Century Fox


Warner Baxter
as Dr. Samuel Alexander...
Gloria Stuart
as Mrs. Peggy Mudd
Arthur Byron
as Mr. Erickson
John McGuire
as Lt. Lovett
Joyce Kay
as Marth Mudd
Claude Gillingwater
as Col. Jeremiah Dyer
Douglas Wood
as Gen. Ewing
Fred Kohler Jr.
as Sgt. Cooper
Harry Carey
as Commandant of Fort J...
Paul Fix
as David Herold
John Carradine
as Sgt. Rankin
Francis McDonald
as John Wilkes Booth
A.S. Byron
as Mr. Erickson
O.P. Heggie
as Dr. McIntire
Paul McVey
as Hunter
Francis Ford
as Cpl. O'Toole
Ernest Whitman
as Buck Tilford
Frank Shannon
as Judge Advocate Holt
Frank McGlynn Sr.
as Abraham Lincoln
Arthur Loft
as Carpetbagger
Jack Pennick
as Signal Man
Merrill McCormack
as Commandant's Aide
James Marcus
as Blacksmith
Jan Duggan
as Actress
Lloyd Whitlock
as Maj. Rathbone
Leila McIntyre
as Mrs. Lincoln
Bud Geary
as Sergeant
Duke R. Lee
as Sergeant
Merrill McCormick
as Commandant's Aide
Robert Dudley
as Druggist
Cecil Weston
as Mrs. Surratt
Cyril Thornton
as Maurice O'Laughlin
J.M. Kerrigan
as Judge Maiben
Etta McDaniel
as Rosabelle Tilford
J.P. McGowan
as Ship's Captain
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Prisoner of Shark Island

All Critics (1)

Ford makes a convincing and emotionally telling argument for Mudd's innocence.

Full Review… | December 14, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Prisoner of Shark Island

A barely watchable film and its blatant racism makes it all the more difficult to appreciate. Worse than all, the Dr Mudd is presented as some sort of hero whereas his heroic deed was to have two shots fired at a ship. The Kafkaesque part of the story is pleasant nonetheless but over all the script's too poor for the film to be intresting.

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