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The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 28 February 1936 (USA)
The story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned after innocently treating President Lincoln's assassin in 1865.

Director:

John Ford

Writer:

Nunnally Johnson (screenplay)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Warner Baxter ... Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd
Gloria Stuart ... Mrs. Peggy Mudd
Claude Gillingwater ... Col. Jeremiah Milford Dyer
Arthur Byron ... Mr. Erickson
O.P. Heggie ... Dr. MacIntyre
Harry Carey ... Commandant of Fort Jefferson
Francis Ford ... Cpl. O'Toole
John McGuire ... Lt. Lovett
Francis McDonald ... John Wilkes Booth
Douglas Wood Douglas Wood ... Gen. Thomas Ewing
John Carradine ... Sgt. Rankin
Joyce Kay Joyce Kay ... Martha Mudd
Fred Kohler Jr. ... Sgt. Cooper
Ernest Whitman Ernest Whitman ... 'Buck' Milford
Paul Fix ... David Herold
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Storyline

A few short hours after President Lincoln has been assassinated, Dr. Samuel Mudd gives medical treatment to a wounded man who shows up at his door. Mudd has no idea that the president is dead and that he is treating his murderer, John Wilkes Booth. But that doesn't save him when the army posse searching for Booth finds evidence that Booth has been to the doctor's house. Dr. Mudd is arrested for complicity and sentenced to life imprisonment, to be served in the infamous pestilence-ridden Dry Tortugas. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 February 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Je n'ai pas tué Lincoln See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name Shark Island is never used in the movie after the credits. The movie correctly depicts Dr. Mudd as being imprisoned on the island Dry Tortugas. See more »

Goofs

The letter Buck hands Dr. Mudd from his wife states that she is in Key West, but the envelope was postmarked in Washington, DC. Furthermore, the postmark was dated November 7, but Mudd's escape attempt was on September 25, 1865. See more »

Quotes

'Buck' Milford: Move on, white man.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Since this film has never been released to the video market in the USA, the only version available for home entertainment is an Argentinean VHS edition that was lifted from a 16mm print. Although the film plays in English with Spanish language subtitles, the credits and all signs and letters shown in the picture were redone in Spanish. The name of this version is "Prisionero del destino". See more »

Connections

Featured in John Ford (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Cry of Freedom
(uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
Played by a band when the Civl War ends
See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining debatable film
26 August 2000 | by UPSETTER-2See all my reviews

Most history buffs will like this though they may disagree with the portrayal of Dr. Mudd as being complete innocent after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Historians say Mudd knew John Wilkes Booth from often seeing the famous actor on the stage. However, it doubtful if he knew Booth had just assassinated Lincoln and was in flight from pursuing soldiers after breaking his leg while leaping from the Ford Theatre balcony onto the stage. It is now believed by many that Dr. Mudd allowed Booth to remain in his home overnight due to the strain put upon the recently set leg. The next morning Mudd went into town to get a newspaper and then discovered that Booth was wanted for Lincoln's murder. He was thus placed in the uncomfortable position of unintentionally harboring a murderer and if he had notified the police at that time he would never have been implicated in the tragedy. He unwisely chose not to do so and instead returned home to tell Booth to leave. The pusuing troops discovered that Booth had been at the Mudd home and the doctor was arrested and later tried. The movie does give a good presentation of the trial which was a travesty conducted by the military with orders from the authorities to convict and hang all those charged. Booth did luck out a bit by escaping the death penalty. Many legal experts now believe that the trial was illegal since the civilian courts were still functioning. But vengeance was to be extracted and what did befall Dr. Mudd could have been far worse.


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