Shark River (1953)

79-80 mins | Adventure | 13 November 1953

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HISTORY

The film's opening credits include the following written acknowledgment: "We wish to acknowledge with grateful appreciation the following for their assistance in making this picture possible: The City of Naples, Florida; The National Park Service, Department of the Interior; The Musa Isla Seminole Indian Village of Miami. This picture was filmed entirely in the Florida Everglades and that weird and strange swamp known as Hole-in-the-Wall."
       Although onscreen credits list Joseph Carpenter as a co-writer, this name was a pseudonym for blacklisted writer Lewis Lantz, whose credit was officially restored by the WGA in 1997. A HR production chart indicated that the film was shot in widescreen format, however, neither reviews nor the viewed print indicated that it was released in anything but standard format. The pressbook in copyright records indicates that Seminole Indians appear in the ... More Less

The film's opening credits include the following written acknowledgment: "We wish to acknowledge with grateful appreciation the following for their assistance in making this picture possible: The City of Naples, Florida; The National Park Service, Department of the Interior; The Musa Isla Seminole Indian Village of Miami. This picture was filmed entirely in the Florida Everglades and that weird and strange swamp known as Hole-in-the-Wall."
       Although onscreen credits list Joseph Carpenter as a co-writer, this name was a pseudonym for blacklisted writer Lewis Lantz, whose credit was officially restored by the WGA in 1997. A HR production chart indicated that the film was shot in widescreen format, however, neither reviews nor the viewed print indicated that it was released in anything but standard format. The pressbook in copyright records indicates that Seminole Indians appear in the film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jun 53
p. 254.
Box Office
14 Nov 1953.
---
Daily Variety
9 Nov 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 Nov 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 1953
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 53
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1997.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Nov 53
p. 2062.
The Exhibitor
18 Nov 1953
p. 3644.
Variety
11 Nov 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score comp and dir
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Wander Away," words and music by Lewis Meltzer and Irving Gertz.
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 November 1953
Production Date:
15 April--early May 1953
Copyright Claimant:
John Rawlins Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
13 November 1953
Copyright Number:
LP3619
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Color Corp. of America
Duration(in mins):
79-80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16577
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Florida in 1869, Civil War veterans Dan Webley, his brother Clay, and Clay’s friend Curtis Parker, who is recovering from a gunshot wound, live on the Webleys’ ruined sugar plantation. When Dan and Clay are accosted by two marshals, Clay kills one and Dan ties the other up in the shack. Clay then explains to Dan that he killed a man in Jacksonville, but plans to escape to Cuba where Curtis owns a plantation. Dan reluctantly agrees to help the fugitives flee, and after they guide their boat into the Everglades, a posse that had been pursuing them turns back. As they glide along the waterways, Clay tries to convince Dan to sell the plantation and move to Cuba with him. Dan refuses, for even though he had previously sold off portions of the plantation to give Clay money, he now wants to remain and plant an orange grove. Farther into the Everglades, the men run out of food and realize that they are being tracked by Seminole Indians. While Clay attempts to locate the Indians, a weakening Curtis confesses to Dan that he lied about the property in Cuba to get Clay’s money, and that Clay shot the man in Jacksonville in the back. Curtis and Dan keep their conversation a secret, and when an Indian attempts to kill them, Clay pulls the Indian into the water and knifes him, then leaves the body behind for the alligators. Curtis dies from his gunshot wound during Clay’s struggle but Clay’s only concern is the deed to the Cuban property, which he believes Curtis gave to Dan. The brothers ... +


In Florida in 1869, Civil War veterans Dan Webley, his brother Clay, and Clay’s friend Curtis Parker, who is recovering from a gunshot wound, live on the Webleys’ ruined sugar plantation. When Dan and Clay are accosted by two marshals, Clay kills one and Dan ties the other up in the shack. Clay then explains to Dan that he killed a man in Jacksonville, but plans to escape to Cuba where Curtis owns a plantation. Dan reluctantly agrees to help the fugitives flee, and after they guide their boat into the Everglades, a posse that had been pursuing them turns back. As they glide along the waterways, Clay tries to convince Dan to sell the plantation and move to Cuba with him. Dan refuses, for even though he had previously sold off portions of the plantation to give Clay money, he now wants to remain and plant an orange grove. Farther into the Everglades, the men run out of food and realize that they are being tracked by Seminole Indians. While Clay attempts to locate the Indians, a weakening Curtis confesses to Dan that he lied about the property in Cuba to get Clay’s money, and that Clay shot the man in Jacksonville in the back. Curtis and Dan keep their conversation a secret, and when an Indian attempts to kill them, Clay pulls the Indian into the water and knifes him, then leaves the body behind for the alligators. Curtis dies from his gunshot wound during Clay’s struggle but Clay’s only concern is the deed to the Cuban property, which he believes Curtis gave to Dan. The brothers then continue on foot toward the gulf, and an exhausted Dan reluctantly agrees to move to Cuba with Clay. After they stumble on a sign indicating they are near Shark River, they find a residence occupied by Jane Daugherty, a widow, her son Johnny, and her mother-in-law. Jane forces the men to disarm and, after feeding them, demands that they leave immediately. When Clay is bitten by a poisonous snake, however, she allows them to remain until he recovers. While treating Clay’s wound, Jane explains that the Seminoles allow her to live on their land as a trapper, in exchange for her and her mother-in-law making them clothes with their sewing machine. As part of the arrangement, she promised not to allow any white men to live in the area. The watchful Seminole see Clay, and Jane lies that he is her new husband. Concerned about Jane’s safety, Dan asks Jane to become his partner in restoring his plantation. The new partnership is sealed the next day when they admit their love for each other. Dan reveals that he must first make sure his brother gets to Cuba, and that he must then clear his own name with the law. Jane promises to wait for him. Clay, meanwhile, slips out of hiding and onto the property where his presence prompts an Indian to open fire, killing Mrs. Daugherty. Clay fires back and kills two Seminoles. Dan and Jane hear the shots and return to find a distrustful Clay, who threatens to kill Jane and Johnny until Dan convinces him that she is their only hope of escape. Jane reluctantly leads the way through the swamps to reach the gulf, but they are relentlessly followed by Seminoles. One night while Clay is sleeping, Dan reaffirms his dedication to Jane, but insists he must first help his brother. After killing more Seminoles, Dan finally tells Clay about Curtis’ deception, and offers him some of Jane’s money instead. Clay believes his brother has betrayed him for Jane and threatens to kill her. Dan knocks out Clay during the ensuing struggle, and returns Jane’s money, advising her to flee with Johnny for their own safety. When Clay recovers he escapes with a gun, and fires at Dan, who is pursuing him. A Seminole perched in a tree shoots Clay, and is then killed by Dan. After Clay dies of the gunshot wound, Dan joins Jane and Johnny, who are waiting for him by the gulf. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.