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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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>
James Stewart actively sought the lead role, despite being too old for it, because the film reflected his right-wing views. See more »
At the end of the film - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gratefully acknowledges the cooperation of the North Carolina prison authorities and wishes to state that the penal system existing in North Carolina today has been improved immeasurably over conditions depicted in this picture. See more »
This is a great story about David Marshall Williams - an independent spirited man who rightfully or wrongfully gets accused of killing a law enforcement officer during a moonshine distillery raid and goes to prison. The twist is that he's not a career criminal but a strait forward man, and also an inventor who comes across wrong during the trial for speaking the event as he believes it, and gets the unfair blame for the death. Williams (Jimmy Stuart) is an honest man who says things as he believes it - which doesn't win him charm points with the prison warden, but has a principle he believes in. Some of his integrity shines through, and although seen as a trouble maker, he is entrusted to be in the machine shop of the prison. There he puts his mind to work and starts working on a new rifle design. During one altercation, he's thrown into solitary confinement where he uses the time to invent the new gas action loading mechanism for his rifle. By this time prison warden Capt. H.T. Peoples (Wendell Corey) is sympathetic with Williams and allows him to develop his idea. He even allows Williams to have time out of prison to spend with his wife. Marshall could have escaped during this time, but he returns to prison again showing his strait forward integrity. On the day Williams completes the design, to test fire the rifle, Capt. Peoples hands Williams the bullet - warden is giving his prisoner a bullet to fire a rifle ! The design works, and Williams applies for patent. Colt fire arms is interested in his design, and visits him in prison to license his design. The design becomes none other than the M1 rifle which became the staple fire arms during WW II for the U.S. military.
This is a great story told by great actors about a man who despite his odds achieved something no short of a miracle. It also tells a story about human heart, that there are good men who can be understanding, generous, and develop friendship despite situations they are placed under. James Stuart play the role of Carbine Williams character perfectly. An honest man of few words, but lives by a principle he believes in. He's an anti-hero of a sorts in this movie, but is my most favorite part he's ever played in a movie. Wendell Corey plays somewhat of a protective role to Williams who he understands is living life too honestly for his own good. Their muted but genuine friendship shines through in this film.
One of the few unknown classic of Hollywood. A marvelous movie to watch.
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