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Devil's Island (1939)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | 7 January 1939 (USA)
Unjustly condemned to Devil's Island and condemned to death, Dr. Gaudet's life is spared when his surgical skills save the life of the commandant's daughter.

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nedda Harrigan ...
Madame Lucien
...
Col. Armand Lucien
Adia Kuznetzoff ...
Pierre
Rolla Gourvitch ...
Collette
Will Stanton ...
Bobo
Edward Keane ...
Dr. Duval
...
Demonpre
...
Marcal
Tom Wilson ...
Emil
John Harmon ...
Andre
Richard Bond ...
Georges
Earl Gunn ...
Leon
...
Soupy (as Sidney Bracy)
...
Dogface
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Storyline

For treating a wounded revolutionary, respected brain surgeon Dr. Gaudet is sentenced to the hellish French penal colony on Devil's Island. There, he rebels against the inhuman conditions and incurs the wrath of the brutal commander, Colonel Lucien. When Lucien's daughter is injured in an accident and only Gaudet can save her, the tables are turned. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He escaped from a life worse than death . . . Devil's Island . . . the last haven of horror for the fiercest criminals on earth ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Song of Hell  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed late June-early August 1938 (copyright 1939), Boris Karloff's first screen role since The Invisible Menace (1938) in late 1937. His next two features were Mr. Wong, Detective (1938) (copyright 1938) and Son of Frankenstein (1939) (copyright 1939). See more »

Goofs

When the horse and carriage run away, it is obviously a dummy who falls out, not the commandant;s daughter. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Charles Gaudet: My only crime was saving a life. You call that treason?
See more »

Connections

Remake of Devil's Island (1926) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Variations in the score throughout
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User Reviews

 
It seemed like a re-working of THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND
17 September 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This Boris Karloff movie was very entertaining though it seemed strongly inspired by the earlier film, THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND since there were so many similarities between the two movies. SHARK ISLAND is an account of the real life man, Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was sentenced to a harsh American prison in the Tortugas after he gave medical treatment to a fleeing John Wilkes Booth. Whether or not Mudd knew that Booth had just killed the President is debatable--especially since word of the assassination may not have reached Mudd's home in rural Maryland.

In much the same way, Boris Karloff plays a doctor who attends to a seriously injured man. Although Karloff knows the man was guilty, as a doctor he'd taken an oath to heal and couldn't just let the man die. As a result of his kindness, he's arrested and sent to Devil's Island, where he is abused and treated like an animal. What happens next you'll have to see for yourself, but I was very impressed by this simple film that wasn't really a horror film but a film about the human spirit and justice. Karloff, in particular, did a nice job in his role as the hapless doctor, though the script was also very good--making the viewer really care about these men in prison.

The only negative, and it's a small one, is the prologue. Because the war in Europe was just beginning, the producers wished to distance themselves from condemning this French institution and so they tacked on a nice prologue saying that this film didn't represent the French people of today. This seemed rather unnecessary, as other prison films don't have similar introductions.


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