ISLAND OF DOOMED MEN (1940)
Peter Lorre is at his best as a mad, sadistic villain! He was a serious student of abnormal psychology who attended Freud’s lectures as a youth in Vienna. So it’s no surprise he can give us a chillingly accurate portrayal of a malignant narcissistic personality disorder!
In this story, He’s running a penal colony with slave labor using convicts paroled into his custody. His sadism is subdued, his wife despises him, his white tropical suit is impeccable. Robert Wilcox is the federal agent undercover as a prisoner who must organize a slave revolt. Rochelle Hudson is Peter’s lovely enslaved wife, desperate to break free. Charles Middleton, a powerful actor famed for portraying villains, is surprisingly restrained as Peter’s scheming second-in-command.
Directed by Charles Barton, who gives us a pace that will hold your attention, with lots of action and careful attention to characterization. A forgotten gem that is most entertaining, a well-told tale.