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Carbine Williams (1952)

Unrated | | Biography, Crime, Drama | May 1952 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marsh Williams
Maggie Williams
Capt. H.T. Peoples
Carl Benton Reid ...
Claude Williams
'Dutch' Kruger
Redwick Karson
Lionel Daniels
Leon Williams
Sam Markley
Fay Roope ...
Ed - District Attorney
Ralph Dumke ...
Andrew White
Bill Stockton
Frank Richards ...


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This is my Story


Biography | Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

May 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carabina Williams  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »

Crazy Credits

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 »

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User Reviews

Brilliant but forgotten performance

As an actor, James Stewart seems to have hit his stride in the fifteen years or so after the Second World War. Known up to this point as a gee-whiz, gulp-and-golly, boy-next-door Everyman type, Stewart took on roles of increasing complexity, most notably in the psychological "adult" westerns of Anthony Mann. Even his famous and much loved role as George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" contains a dark brooding undercurrent which belies its sunny reputation as a feel-good family Holiday film. All of which goes to show that Stewart could bring something unexpected to even the "corniest" movies.

In "Carbine Williams", Stewart plays the title role, a moonshiner who is convicted of murdering a Federal agent, and who then gets sent to a chain gang after being implicated in a prison murder. His rebellious nature brings him into conflict with the warden at the prison farm, Captain Peoples (Dracut MA's own Wendell Corey), until he discovers a means of channelling his anger and bitterness.

The real-life David Marshall Williams did indeed invent the improvements in firearms which led directly to the development to the M-1 carbine, the weapon which helped to win World War II. And he did it while serving a long prison sentence for murder. The story is interesting enough on its own, but Stewart brings an intensity and heart to the role which makes it even more fascinating than a mere telling of the facts would be.

One of many excellent films James Stewart made during the 1950's, this one is somewhat obscure, not particularly well-remembered today. But it deserves to be.

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real Carbine Williams was the murderer jarnoldfan
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