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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Existing prints bear 1955 re-release title credits, with lettering in the middle of the screen so that they would not be cropped in wide screen projection. See more »
You're wasting your time. There's only one way out of here. Make 'em kill you. Don't die... day at a time. Get it over! Then you can rest. Dead men can't work. Never... get out... till you die. Then you get paroled to a pine box.
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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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