Thursday, September 4, 2014

Shutter Island analysis - part 3: The warden's name is Deladis; Teddy isn't 'Andrew'


Above left: Teddy (on left) and Ashecliffe's warden. Above right: The cast list in the ending credits for Shutter Island, indicates that the warden character is not assigned a first or last name (see inside the tan rectangle - click image to enlarge).

As indicated in the above right screencap, which is a shot from the ending credits of Shutter Island, the warden character (played by Ted Levine) is not assigned a first or last name. However, note that another anagram of 'Edward Daniels' (besides 'Andrew Laeddis') is 'Warden Laeddis'. Therefore, we are tempted to consider that the warden's (real) last name is Laeddis (and that there's some kind of foolery going on in the movie with regard to the name Laeddis). However, Dr. Cawley would not have taken the risk of using the warden's actual last name for Teddy's 'pretend' surname, because Teddy would, at some point, see the warden's name on the badge he wears (note that in the above left screencap, the warden is wearing a badge).

In a March 2010 interview about Shutter Isand with Mick Brown of The Telegraph, the film's director, Martin Scorsese, said, "I discovered [certain films] in the 1950s. There was a small theatre on Second Avenue [in New York] that would show third, fourth or fifth-run movies. Isle of the Dead was the one...There's no way you could aspire to come close to what those films did. They came out of a certain time and place. There's no way we can recapture that. But we can make references. We shouldn't be afraid to make a homage; but it had to be serious, not ironic."[a] Scorsese is here acknowledging that one of the films made reference to in Shutter Island, is Isle of the Dead.

The 1945 movie Isle of the Dead was re-released in 1953, and Shutter Island is set in 1954. One anagram of "Isle of the Dead" is "the foe Deladis." Also, an anagram of 'Laeddis' is 'Deladis'. The Scottish surname Deladis means "at the port" in Scottish Gaelic. This name meaning fits with the setting of Shutter Island (Boston Harbor), and the name also fits with the warden being a foe of Teddy. Based on the foregoing, we see that the warden's last name is Deladis.

We thus see that there is, in fact, foolery (directed at Teddy) going on in the movie with regard to the name Laeddis: Dr. Cawley is lying to Teddy when he tells Teddy that his real name is Andrew Laeddis. The truth is that Teddy has been 'set up' by Dr. Cawley, Warden Deladis, Dr. Sheehan, and, no doubt, other people at the institute, and he is being lied to. Teddy's real name is Edward Daniels.

Comparison of the manner in which Teddy and his 'partner' hand their guns over to the prison staff, upon 'arrival' at Shutter Island, is one of the chief giveaways in the movie that not only is the man posing as Chuck not a U.S. Marshal, but also, that this particular arrival scenario is part of the role play being done on Teddy. Top left and right: When asked for his gun, Teddy smoothly withdraws it and its holster from his belt clip using his right hand only. Middle left: Teddy then hands the gun and holster to a prison staff member using his left hand, with the barrel pointing at himself, for safety of the others. Middle right: As opposed to Teddy, 'Chuck' (Dr. Sheehan) fumbles for his holster using both hands. Above left: The deputy warden looks on in exasperation as Sheehan fumbles. Above right: Sheehan hands the gun to prison staff with his right hand, and with the barrel pointed to his left (to approximately where Teddy is standing) instead of toward himself.

The actual scenario of Shutter Island is that a U.S. Marshal named Edward Daniels is sent to Ashecliffe, under the pretext of investigating a missing patient, with the intention of one or more persons in the Marshal's service (at the direction of someone higher up), being to make Edward (Teddy) disappear, since he has important knowledge concerning the Dachau liberation reprisals - knowledge that one or more parties would rather be kept under wraps: It was not only American soldiers, who killed and wounded German camp guards and German prisoners of war during the reprisals; imprisoned Jews also participated in the killings. Subsequent to this, American men who had been soldiers at Dachau were systematically declared 'crazy' and sent to insane asylums, so that their knowledge of what truly took place at Dachau would be hidden from the public. As Shutter Island's representation of this latter fact, Teddy is deemed by the service to be mentally unstable as the ostensible reason for handing him over to Dr. Cawley. It is someone in the Marshal service itself who gives Cawley all the inside information on Teddy, such as on his wife and kids, that Cawley needs in order to conduct the role play. All along, Teddy is destined to remain on the island, either continuing to believe he is a killer named Andrew Laeddis, or ending up getting lobotomized. It is no doubt the Marshal service itself that has Teddy's family killed (again, under instructions from someone higher up), since there would be suspicion that Teddy has told his wife about the important information that he possesses concerning Dachau; killing Teddy's kids is also necessary, so that there are no 'loose ends'.

Teddy is under the influence of one or more psychoactive (i.e., mind-altering) drugs during the role play, and is being induced into a dream-like state at certain points. The psychoactive drugs are given to Teddy under the pretext, of their being pills to help relieve his migraine headaches. Cawley knows about Teddy's history of migraines from the inside information provided to him; in fact, this is one of the reasons the Shutter Island location is chosen by those wishing to make Teddy disappear: The conditions conducive to mold growth are present on the island (dampness combined with old buildings), and certain fungi in some molds can induce migraine headaches in those susceptible to them. One or more of these particular molds must be present, in some of the institute's building materials, and thus, their fungi are present in the air, where they can be inhaled. The 'medicine' Dr. Cawley gives Teddy must include something containing a substance called ergot, which was first used in the treatment of acute migraine in 1926,[b] and has been known to induce mania and hallucinations. This is why Teddy exhibits periodic manifestations of mania while on the island, for example, when he lashes out at Dr. Cawley for not turning over institution records; and, Teddy is hallucinating - he experiences waking 'visions' of the Dachau liberation reprisals. While Cawly is trying to convince Teddy that his real name is Andrew Laeddis, and that he is a patient at Ashecliffe, Cawley lies to Teddy by stating that his migraines were a symptom of being off his psychiatric medication.

Above left: At the beginning of the movie-ending conversation between Teddy and Dr. Sheehan, Sheehan clumsily withdraws a cigarette from a pack with his mouth, indicating that he has only been pretending to be a smoker all along in order to go along with Teddy, who is a smoker. Above right: That Teddy appears to have regressed is signified by Sheehan throwing a glance at Cawley, who is nearby with the orderlies. However, the reality is that by this point, Teddy has realized that all along, the staff have tried to convince him that he is a killer, whereas he knows he is not. Teddy is here only pretending to go along with the role play, when he tells 'Chuck' they need to get off the island. Sheehan speaks with honest surprise when he calls Teddy "Teddy" as he volunteers himself to be lobotomized, and thus, it is an indication that Teddy's real name is Teddy (i.e., Edward). When Teddy asks which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man, what he means is that he knows he is a good man and that being lobotomized will effectively be his death (essentially, the complete alteration of his personality), and that he'd rather subject himself to this than continue to be 'treated' as Andrew Laeddis, a killer.

a. Brown, Mick (March 7, 2010). "Martin Scorsese interview for Shutter Island." The Telegraph, 'film makers on film' section. Web. URL =
b. Tfelt-Hansen P., Saxena P.R., Dahlöf C., Pascual J., Láinez M., Henry P., Diener H., Schoenen J., Ferrari M.D., Goadsby P.J., Ergotamine in the acute treatment of migraine: a review and European consensus, Brain, 2000 Jan; 123(Pt 1): 9-18. [Abstract]; cited in Wooltorton, Eric, Risk of stroke, gangrene from ergot drug interactions, National Institutes of Health, Health and Drug Alerts, CMAJ. 2003 Apr 15; 168(8): 1015. [Article]

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