The Prisoner of Shark Island 1936

A John Ford Film made well before the Fifties but a film that is well worth viewing.

It stars Warner Baxter as Dr Samuel Mudd who was wrongfully accused of being involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln – when in fact he had nothing to do with it – what he had done was to treat the actual assassin who had been injured. This was enough, with feelings running high, to have him imprisoned on Shark Island.

Warner Baxter was a great friend of Ronald Colman – in fact they looked quite similar and they both had star appeal and remained very popular with cinema audiences. Another friend was William Powell

This is one of John Ford’s more under-appreciated films – and is is the biopic of Dr Samuel Mudd, the doctor who set John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. Mudd (Warner Baxter) is convicted of being a part of the assassination and sent to a Union prison on Shark Island one of a a small group of islands off the coast of Florida. The prison island is – as the title suggests – surrounded by sharks. He endures brutal treatment and living conditions. but when hen the prison is stricken with an outbreak of yellow fever, Dr. Mudd rises to the occasion and heroically saves lives.

It is directed by one of the greats with a good script and starring a fine cast. In addition to Warner Baxter, who does an excellent job in the lead, the cast includes Gloria Stuart, Harry Carey, and Claude Gillingwater.

Ernest Whitman is good as Mudd’s friend (and his former slave!).

John Carradine plays a nasty and abusive Union guard who seems to have it in for Dr Mudd from the start.

This film is really good entertainment – Warner Baxter excellent in the leading role

ABOVE – Gloria Stuart with Joyce Kay

ABOVE and BELOW – Arriving Home after the drama and cruelty

This must have seemed like Paradise – back with his Wife and little Daughter

Dr Mudd wasn ‘t the only one re-united with his family – this was virtually the final frame of the film

An added snippet – The lovely Gloria Stuart who played Dr Samuel Mudd’s wife – and is pictured above – died in 2010 at the age of 100

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