Devil's Island (1939 film)

Devil's Island is a 1939 American prison film directed by William Clemens and starring Boris Karloff. This film is notable for Karloff as the protagonist, opposed to the villain-like characters in his various horror roles.[1]

Devil's Island
Film poster
Directed byWilliam Clemens
Produced byBryan Foy
Written byAnthony Coldeway
Raymond L. Schrock
Kenneth Gamet
Don Ryan
StarringBoris Karloff
Nedda Harrigan
CinematographyGeorge Barnes
Edited byFrank Magee
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • January 7, 1939 (1939-01-07)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited States


For treating a wounded revolutionary, respected surgeon, Dr. Charles Gaudet (Boris Karloff) is sentenced to life imprisonment to the infamous French penal colony on Devil's Island. It isn't long before he speaks out against the inhuman conditions and incurs the anger of the brutal prison commander, Colonel Armand Lucien (James Stephenson). But when Lucien's daughter Collette receives life-threatening wounds in an accident, the only person on Devils Island who can save her, is Gaudet.



The depiction of Devil's Island upset the French government. Fear of something similar happening resulted in a proposed 1947 film from Columbia, The End of Devil's Island, being cancelled.[2]

See also


  1. Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomohawk Press 2011 p 221-223
  2. STUDIO DROPS FILM ON DEVIL'S ISLAND: Columbia Abandons Project in Line With Industry Policy on Foreign Markets By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] April 11, 1947: 30.

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