Skip to content

Actor/Producer Roddy McDowall Double Bill ….. Kidnapped (1948) and Killer Shark (1950)

kidnapped-350x531

Between 1948 and 1950, Roddy McDowall served as a producer on six films released by poverty row studio Monogram that also cast him in the leading roles. He was just approaching the age of twenty. It wouldn’t be until 1987 that he would once again take a producer’s credit on the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn film, Overboard. A winning comedy in which he also costarred alongside the famous couple.

1948 saw the release of Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of a young man in 1751 Scotland. Young and orphaned, Roddy finds himself journeying to an Uncle’s estate to claim his inheritance. The Uncle has other ideas in mind and promptly has his young charge kidnapped and sent to sea aboard villainous Roland Winters vessel. With his life in peril, Roddy throws in with Dan O’Herlihy and stands up to Winters and the psychotic Jeff Corey before fleeing the ship.

kidnap06

He may be but a lad yet he’ll soon find himself a wanted man due to his association with the rebellious O’Herlihy. Along the way the two will pick up a lovely lass played by Sue England which allows for the youngsters to engage in romantic thoughts. Roddy’s intent is to travel back to his Uncle’s estate and claim what is rightfully his. It’ll be a long journey with the evil Winters and Corey rearing their nasty heads before Roddy and company can right the wrongs bestowed upon him in swashbuckling fashion.

When considering this is a Monogram feature directed by William “One Shot” Beaudine, you may find it surprising that there seems to have been a budget bestowed upon this McDowall production. Unlike the low budget Bowery Boys features or Bela Lugosi thrillers, this effort gives us scope and plenty of outdoor locations. Included in the cast are Mary Gordon and Winifriede McDowall. Roddy’s real life Mother.

kidnapped3

I’ve never read the original source novel but think it would be fair to say that this 81 minute production has probably eliminated a fair bit of the novel and it’s characters. It is a Monogram production after all. Still, it serves as a window to Roddy’s career just after he had outgrown the boyish roles of Lassie and Flicka.

1950’s Killer Shark cast Roddy as an arrogant adolescent who journeys to reunite with his father after years of separation. His city boy arrogance is in for an awakening when he sets to sea with father, Roland Winters in the search for shark meat. The early part of the film calls to mind any number of Freddie Bartholomew titles from the thirties.

killer shark poster

The film utilizes stock footage of fisherman hauling in their catch while Roddy quickly runs afoul of Winter’s crew. They deem Roddy as soft and the hazing begins. The crow’s nest above seems like an easy climb until young Roddy gets near the top. Sea sickness quickly takes over and it’s Roland to the rescue. It won’t be long before a series of accidents forces Roddy to take command of the ship as part owner. He determines that in order to save the lives of two men, the boat will forgo it’s shark hunting and return empty to port. With no money to split, it looks as if Winters may lose his boat to investors.

Against the wishes of his father, Roddy sets out to become a man and hires a crew of his own led by the shady Douglas Fowley. Roddy will soon see the error in his decision yet by the time this programmer is over, he’ll become a man and make things right.

killer shark lobby

While Killer Shark may be the weaker of the two Monogram titles it’s interesting to note that it was actually directed by western cult favorite, Budd Boetticher. Billed here as Oscar, Boetticher’s work has steadily grown in stature thanks to his association with Randolph Scott while Kidnapped director William Beaudine is but a footnote in films though he did direct an incredible amount of low budget features including camp faves  Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula, The Ape Man and Jesse James VS. Frankenstein’s Daughter.

Boetticher would also direct Roddy’s 1949 produced film, Black Midnight while Beaudine would helm Roddy’s Tuna Clipper that same year. For the record, Roddy’s other two films he is credited on as actor/producer are Rocky (1948) and Big Timber (1950).

killer-shark-1950

Both Kidnapped and Killer Shark can be seen on occasion thanks to TCM. Hopefully they can secure copies of the other four Monogram Productions that Roddy participated in for our viewing pleasure. After all, Roddy is one of only two actors I still refer to as a friend despite never having met him.

6 Comments »

    • Thanks and whatever the reason, I became fascinated with the actor under the ape make-up and quickly found him to be this screen personality that was just so friendly. I have always been on the lookout for any and all of his films.

  1. Great stuff, Mike. I’ve always liked Roddy since I first saw or became aware of him in the Apes films and the short-lived TV series The Fantastic Journey, a marvelous personality who always came across so well on screen. Both these films are new to me, although I read Kidnapped many years ago, so I’ll have to keep a lookout for them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

%d bloggers like this: