Following the successful mid-1948 telecasts of Othello (1922) and The Eagle (1925), New York City's WJZ (Channel 7), began a series of silent film feature presentations, shown more or less in their entirety, which aired intermittently for the next twelve months. This feature was initially broadcast Wednesday 10 August 1949. See more »
Fascinating story and solid performances make this a good film.
Story opens with the sentencing of a French army doctor (Richard Tucker) to Devil's Island for a life sentence. His fiancée (Pauline Frederick) is devastated. But French law allows (after seven years) for prisoners to marry and live in Cayenne. The glitch is that the wife and any children are also branded as convicts and must live out their lives in Cayenne.
After 7 years, Frederick makes her way to Devil's Island and marries Tucker. They have a child who becomes a celebrated surgeon (George Lewis) after the father dies. The son and mother plan an escape but the son meets a girl (Marian Nixon) on the beach and they fall in love. The son tells mother he will not leave Rose-Marie behind. She too has been born into the convict thing. After they discover the girl is a dancer in a saloon and not a convent girl, the mother persuades the son to escape.
But at that moment, they are summoned to the commandant's office. They fear their plans have been discovered but because of the son's great surgical skills, they have been pardoned and can return to France.
Rose-Marie is left behind to rot in Cayenne. Safely back in France, the mother is wooed by an old friend (John Miljan) responsible for their pardon. The son, however, realizes his mistake in abandoning Rose-Marie.
Marian Nixon is terrific as Rose-Marie and is convincing as the good girl born into hell. Pauline Frederick is majestic as the long-suffering wife and mother. George Lewis is solid as the son. Top supporting work from Richard Tucker and John Miljan. Harry Northrup is the commandant. William Dunn and Leo White are prisoners.
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