23 user 14 critic

Island of Doomed Men (1940)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 20 May 1940 (USA)
Undercover agent Mark Sheldon gets paroled to a remote tropical island with a diamond mine manned by slave labor run by sadistic Stephen Danel.


Charles Barton


Robert Hardy Andrews (original screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews)




Cast overview:
Peter Lorre ... Stephen Danel
Rochelle Hudson ... Lorraine Danel
Robert Wilcox ... Mark Sheldon
Don Beddoe ... Brand
George E. Stone ... Siggy
Kenneth MacDonald ... Doctor Rosener
Charles Middleton ... Captain Cort
Stanley Brown ... Eddie
Earl Gunn Earl Gunn ... Mitchell
Learn more

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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 <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A beautiful woman... THE VICTIM... of this connoisseur of CRUELTY! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Passed | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


Original publicity material for this movie listed its title as "Dead Man's Isle." See more »


Stephen Danel: [pointing a gun at Mark] Good evening, Mr. Smith. I was waiting for you. I was hoping you'd come soon.
Mark Sheldon: Cort's out there, and a couple of men. They're armed and they're coming in.
Stephen Danel: You didn't come to see me, you came to see my wife. Come, Mr. Smith, I'll get her for you. Wait.
Stephen Danel: Lorraine. Lorraine! Forgive me, Mr. Smith, she'll be here in a moment.
[Lorraine comes in]
Stephen Danel: You must stand very close to him, very close. Yes, Lorraine, smile. He likes you when you smile, Lorraine.
Mark Sheldon: Listen to me. That gang's...
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User Reviews

A solid example of the Hollywood "B" movie
6 April 1999 | by dinky-4See 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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Release Date:

20 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead Man's Isle See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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