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This is the story of David Marshall 'Marsh' Williams, the real life inventor of the world famous M-1 Carbine automatic rifle used in WWII. It all started when Marsh, who was one to do things his way, was caught distilling moonshine, and was accused and convicted of shooting a federal officer in the process. This at first placed him in the chain gang which labeled him as a hard case. Later, to make room for those more deserving, he was moved to a prison farm, where he came under the direction of Captain H.T. Peoples. The Captain was a mild mannered warden, who did not shy from discipline when necessary, but also believed that given the opportunity, most men will respond to good. Believing that Marsh was just such a person, the Captain gave him every opportunity to reform, so much so, that he eventually allowed Marsh to work in the tool shop on his spare time to develop and build by hand, a working rifle, inside the prison farm itself. Written by
Bill Walch <TheWalchs@aol.com>
In the film, all of the men working on the still with Williams were white. But in reality, it was five African-American men, all of whom testified against Williams at trial. See more »
At the beginning of the film - The March, 1951 issue of Reader's Digest published an article in its series. "The Most Unforgettable Character I've Met." That character is David Marshall Williams - and this is his story. He lived it. See more »
This is the story of convicted murderer David Marshall Williams who invented the M-1 carbine rifle that was used in WW11. This is James Stewart at his laid back, laconic best.However he injects a darker side to his role as a moonshiner,wrongly or rightly accused of killing a federal Marshall.His innocence or lack of it was neatly sidestepped as this is the story of his invention not of his crime. For modern films viewers the prison scenes may seem slightly twee and a bit too clean cut compared to modern prison classics such as The Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile but some scenes really pack a punch they include a man being whipped and James Stewert in solitary confinement for differences with the prison warden. Jean Hagen does well in a supporting role as his wife who promises to wait for her husband till he completes his 30 year prison sentence. This film also has moments of great beauty the foremost being David M Williams being let out of jail for 24 hours to visit his wife.He is trying to get his wife to divorce him and she says, "without you I am only half a person,you are my other half".Priceless. This may not be considered by many to be a classic movie but it is certainly a very satisfying one that gives you a warm feeling inside at the end. Thank you TCM for showing another golden oldie.8/10
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