The Prisoner of Shark Island

Synopsis: 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.
Director(s): John Ford
Production: 20th Century Fox
  1 win.
96 min

- Give us a speech!

- Speech! Speech!

- My friends...

you want a speech, but...

I cannot make one at this time.

I must have opportunity to think.

Undue importance

might be given to what I said.

However, there is

one thing I will do.

You have a band with you.

There's one piece of music

I've always liked.

Heretofore, it hasn't seemed

the proper thing to use it in the North...

but now...

by virtue of my prerogative

as president...

and, uh, commander-in-chief

of the army and navy...

I declare it contraband of war...

and our lawful prize.

I ask the band to play "Dixie."

Your daughter craves affection.

Now I ain't got no fortune,

but I'm just a-bubblin' over with affection...

and ready to pour it all over her...

like applesauce over roast pork.

Mr. Fletcher, I see that you have not

the good manners of society...

and for that reason alone, I forgive

the impertinence of which you are guilty.

I don't know the manners of society?

Just a minute here.

I think I know enough

to turn you inside out, old gal...

you sockdolaging old mantrap!

See, I had her that time!

I expect I'm liable

to call myself some awfully bad names.

You know, friends?

$400,000 is a big

heaped-up pile of money...

- to light a man's cigar with.

Sic semper tyrannis!

Mr. Lincoln has been shot.

Oh! I can't make it.

The bone is ramming through the skin.

But we-we've got to get

across the Potomac, sir.

We won't be safe

till we're in Virginia.

I can't do it.

Hey, you!

Inside that cabin there!

Come here, boy!

Yes, sir, Captain!

- Do you know if any doctor lives around here?

- Doctor?

Yes, sir!

I knows one.

Dr. Mudd.

Dr. Sam Mudd.

He lives just around that bend.

- Can I help you, boss?

- No. No. Get out.

Get out! Come on.

- Sam. Sam!

- Huh?

- There's somebody at the door.

Oh, it's the stork,

lookin' for Aunt Rosabelle's cabin.

I've been waitin' for him.

If the stork hasn't learned his way

to Aunt Rosabelle's after 11 visits...

he never will learn.


That's right.

Don't you and Martha have breakfast

till I get back. I want to eat with you.

Plenty of batter-cakes, too,

'cause I'm gonna be hungry.

- And keep it turned up, too,

'cause it's raining out.

- Yeah.

Dr. Mudd?

- Yes?

- His- His leg's broken.

Can you- Can you do

something for him?


- Let's get him inside.

I'm sorry here

to have to cut your boot.

I'm sorry.

I know it hurts.

Hurry, please. Hurry.

I've got to be going.

Oh, no.

Not on that leg.

You've got a bad

transverse fracture there.

You-You'll be lucky

if you're on that in a week.

- Uh, just fix it the best you can.

- Hurry.

Let me see. I haven't got

any regular splints here.

But take it easy now.

Coming down from Washington?

No, from, uh- uh, Baltimore.


I'd certainly like to have been

at the White House last Sunday...

when old Abe asked the band

to play "Dixie."

I guess old Abe's

all right after all.

Looks to me like he's the only salvation

we Southerners can look for-

him and- and God's mercy.

I never thought anybody but doctors

had to be out at this hour of the night.

His mother's dyin'-

over in Virginia.

- Oh, I'm so sorry, sir.

- Where's that, uh- that knife?

Oh. Thank you.

Now I'm gonna-

Oh, dear,

get some brandy, will you?

Now I'm gonna set this leg.

First I want to give you

a good stiff drink of brandy.

Think you can stand it?

Thank you.

Now, it'll only take

a second or two.

Now, easy now.

Easy now.

- There.


You know, I think it's downright foolish

trying to travel on a leg like that.

- Look, I could put you up in a spare room.

- How much do I owe you?

Oh, I don't know.

Two-Two dollars will cover it.

Thank you.

Oh, say, look. Wait a minute.

I want to give you a prescription.

Now, this is gonna help

to ease that pain.

It's a sedative.

I want you to get it filled now

as soon as you can.

Thank you, Doctor.

You've done me a great service.

I'm sorry if I seemed

rude or abrupt.

Well, things like that

can't matter to doctors.

- His door's gotta be open day and night.

- Good night, sir.

Say, I do wish you'd

change your-

Good night.

Queer sort of-

sort of snake, wasn't he?

- How much?

- Huh?

How much?

Good heavens!

Fifty dollars!

Fifty? Oh, Sam,

there must be some mistake.

Shall I call him back

or- or lock the door?

Lock it! Lock it, and bar it too!


And to think I called him a snake.

As a matter of fact, he's probably

a very kindly old philanthropist...

just lookin' around

for deserving families like us.

At 5:
00 in the morning?

Of course.

Well, philanthropists

don't care what time it is.

Say, you know what

he probably thought?

He probably said to himself,

"Here's a pretty good couple.

"Of course, he don't amount to much.

Just a country doctor.

- "But his wife-

- Crazy!

"Poor little thing.

Pretty as a picture too.

"Tied up to that

country pill peddler...

"stuck way down here

in the piney woods.

Probably just as unhappy as she can be,

so I'll just give him $50."

- Oh, he thought no such thing.

- All right.

What do you think he thought?

He probably said to himself,

"Well, my goodness.

"Here's the luckiest woman

I've ever seen.

- She's got the sweetest child

in the whole world"-

- Oh, wait a minute.

- How'd he know that?

- Philanthropists know everything.

"And as for her husband...

"no matter how far out

in the country he may live...

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Nunnally Johnson

Nunnally Hunter Johnson was an American filmmaker who wrote, produced, and directed motion pictures. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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