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Island of Doomed Men (1940)

 -  Crime | Drama | Thriller  -  20 May 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 131 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

Undercover agent Mark Sheldon gets paroled to a remote tropical island with a diamond mine manned by slave labor run by sadistic Stephen Danel.


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Title: Island of Doomed Men (1940)

Island of Doomed Men (1940) on IMDb 5.9/10

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Cast overview:
Stephen Danel
Rochelle Hudson ...
Lorraine Danel
Robert Wilcox ...
Mark Sheldon
Kenneth MacDonald ...
Doctor Rosener
Captain Cort
Stanley Brown ...
Earl Gunn ...


Sadistic Stephen Danel owns a penal island, and when he is not humiliating and mistreating his wife, he is torturing his convict prisoners and using them for slave labor. Government agent Mark Sheldon is sent to infiltrate the island and bring Danel to justice. Written by Ken Yousten <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Paroled prisoners ENSLAVED... in a tropical PARADISE of torture! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller



Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Man's Isle  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Part of the SON OF SHOCK package of 21 titles released to television in 1958, which followed the original SHOCK THEATER release of 52 features one year earlier. This was also one of the 12 Columbia titles, the other 61 all being Universals. See more »


Jackson: Did you ever hear of a man named Steven Danel?
Mark Sheldon: I don't think so.
Jackson: Well, Danel is our man. Lincoln freed the slaves. Mr. Danel is back in the trade and doing very well at it.
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User Reviews

A solid example of the Hollywood "B" movie
6 April 1999 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

G-Man Robert Wilcox goes "undercover" as "Mr. Smith" to expose brutal conditions on an island -- somewhere in the Pacific Ocean? -- where paroled men perform slave-labor in a mine owned by Peter Lorre. In the process, Wilcox falls in love with Lorre's wife, Rochelle Hudson, who's just as much a prisoner on Dead Man's Island as he is. Timed to run just over an hour, this tightly-constructed B-movie is a fine example of its genre -- brisk, efficient, and always entertaining, though it does take awhile to actually reach the island in question. As expected, Lorre dominates the proceedings with one of his trademark performances in which he manages to be both creepy and cultured, smooth and sadistic. He even adds a homoerotic undertone to his scenes with Robert Wilcox, particularly the one in which he watches a shirtless Wilcox being bound to a post in preparation for a late-night flogging. "Don't overdo it, Captain," Lorre warns the man with the whip. "There's a lot Mr. Smith ought to tell me and he may want to tell me before you finish. Oh, and be sure that he's able to work tomorrow." Curiously, Lorre departs the scene before the whip starts cutting into Wilcox's back, but you can be sure he'll derive a great deal of pleasure in thinking over the young man's pain and suffering. Incidentally, this is one of the few movies, (along with "Damn the Defiant!"), in which two men are given separate floggings during the course of the story. Earlier in the movie, Lorre oversees the flogging of a prisoner played by Stanley Brown. It's Wilcox's flogging, however, that is of real interest. Along with Alan Ladd's meeting with a cat-o'-nine-tails in "Two Years Before the Mast," this scene qualifies as one of Hollywood's most memorable floggings of the 1940s and it ranks 16th in the book, "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies." Wilcox, of course, looks much too strong, determined, and virile to faint dead away after just fourteen blows with a whip, but his loss of consciousness provides a convenient way for the scene to come to an end.

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