When filmmaker and producer Roger Corman heard there was a film version of Henri Charrière’s extremely popular novel  Papillon in the works, he asked Martin Scorsese if he would be willing to direct an exploitative adaptation Corman would produce together with his younger brother Gene. Scorsese had just finished  Boxcar Bertha and declined Corman’s offer so that he could go on to make something more personal, namely  Mean Streets. Corman then found a new director in film veteran William Witney and managed to make a low-budget movie that premiered almost two months ahead of  Papillon (a film that starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman).

In  I Escaped from the Devil's Island, the leading men are Jim Brown and Christopher George, whose characters decide to flee from a brutal French Guiana prison fortress in the year 1916 along with their fellow inmates. After running away from the sadistic guards, their luck remains unchanged as they encounter brand new threats and challenges that test their resilience even further. Jim Brown and Christopher George play well off of each other, and have great chemistry, with Brown relying on his physicalityand George focusing on portraying the nuances of a character who is in fact a political prisoner. The director made the film seem a lot more expensive than it really was, making it that much more interesting. A feat that has even more power when we take into consideration that the director's wife passed away during production, with Witney managing to finish the movie nonetheless.