The Kangaroo Kid (film)

Summary

The Kangaroo Kid
Kangaroo Kid.jpg
Poster
Directed byLesley Selander
Written bySherman Lowe
Based onstory by Anthony Scott Veitch
Produced byT.O. McCreadie
Harry C. Brown (assoc)
Ben Sheil (exec)
StarringJock Mahoney
Veda Ann Borg
CinematographyW. Howard Greene
Edited byAlex Ezard
Music byWilbur Sampson
Production
company
Allied Australian Films
Distributed byBritish Empire Films (Aust)
Eagle Lion (US)[1]
Release date
September 1950 (US)
March 1951 (Sydney)[2]
Running time
72 mins
CountriesAustralia
United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget£90,000[3]

The Kangaroo Kid is a 1950 Australian-American Western film directed by Lesley Selander.

Plot

In the 1880s, the Remington detective agency sends Tex Kinnane to Australia to track down a notorious gold robber and murderer called John Spengler. In Sydney, Tex makes friends with Baldy Muldoon and travels with him to the small town of Gold Star, where Baldy's wife runs the local saloon. Tex adopts a baby kangaroo and earns the name "Kangaroo Kid". He is hired as a stage coach driver and befriends barmaid Stella Grey, who offers to look after his kangaroo.

Tex is challenged to a shooting match by local thugs Phil Romero and Robey, but Tex outshoots them, causing a fistfight. Sgt Jim Penrose warns him about his behaviour. Penrose visits his girlfriend, Mary, who says that her father, miner Steve Corbett, has been acting strangely since Tex arrived and wants to leave town.

Vincent Moller, an American living in Australia for health reasons, plans to rob the stage coach with Crobett, Romero and Robey and implicate Tex. Corbett is reluctant to join in and Moller plans to kill him.

Tex is driving the stage when it is held up by Romeo and Robey, who kill the guard and knock out Tex, leaving him in the bush. Sgt Jim Penrose is convinced he is guilty. He tracks down Tex and puts him in gaol for robbery and murder. Moller visits Tex and agrees to arrange his escape if he leaves the country quickly. This makes Tex suspicious. He escapes and proves that Moller is John Spengler.

Tex takes Moller back to America but promises to return for Stella.[4]

Cast

Production

The McCreadie brothers had made two films and for their third decided on a co-production with Hollywood.[6] It was intended to be the first of a series of co-productions and was budgeted at US$200,000[7] Producer Howard Brown had extensive experience making movies on location.[8]

The film was based on a story by Australian writer, Tony Scott Veitch, but rewritten by an American screenwriter. John English was originally announced as director, but was later replaced by Lesley Selander.[9] At one stage Richard Denning and Adele Jergens were announced for the leads.[10]

Selander arrived in February 1950 and filming began the following month.[11] Location shooting was done in Sofala and interior work at Commonwealth Film Laboratories in Sydney. There was an American director, cinematographer and four imported actors: Jock Mahoney, Veda Ann Borg, Martha Hyer and Douglas Dumbrille. Douglas Dumbrille had previously appeared in another Australian-set Western, Captain Fury (1939). Hyer was a last-minute replacement for Dorothy Malone, who was too ill to travel.[12] It was an early star role for stunt man Jock Mahoney.

Filming took six weeks and Selander returned to the United States in May.[13]

Selander later said "the facilities there were rather primitive by Hollywood standards but we had fun, loved the people and got a kick out of the whole thing. Jock is without a doubt the best athlete I've ever seen, smooth and sleek as a cougar."[14]

Reception

The movie was meant to be the first of a series of co-productions involving the McCreadie Brothers' Embassy Pictures – two more Kangaroo Kid films were announced, to be shot in December 1950[15][16] – but this did not eventuate.[9] Reviews were unenthusiastic.[17][18]

Reviewer Stephen Vagg described the film as "very much a meat pie Western – an essentially American story transplanted to Australia... directed by prolific B-Westerner Lesley Selander."[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Australian-Made Film 'Quickies'". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 4 January 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ "AUSTRALIAN "WESTERN"". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 March 1951. p. 11. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Hollywood stars for film here." The Argus (Melbourne) 4 January 1950: 5, accessed 28 December 2011
  4. ^ "Kangaroo Kid". The Australian Women's Weekly. 30 December 1950. p. 34. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Corn-blonde Here To Play in New Film". The Sunday Herald. Sydney. 5 March 1950. p. 11. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Films You Will Soon Be Seeing:: Studio Gossip:: Short Story "Into The Straight"—Australian Racing Film". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 January 1950. p. 8. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "FILM VENTURE IN N.S.W." The West Australian. Perth. 4 January 1950. p. 4. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ STEPHEN STRASSBERG (23 July 1950). "AUSTRALIAN LOCATION: American Company Shoots Western 'Down Under' Traveler Menagerie". The New York Times. p. X4.
  9. ^ a b "U.S. Actors To Make Films In Australia." The Sydney Morning Herald 4 Jan 1950: 4 accessed 28 December 2011
  10. ^ "Australia Beckoning Power, Others; Andrews to Portray Evans' Father" Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 7 November 1949: B7.
  11. ^ "TO MAKE FILM IN AUST". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane. 23 February 1950. p. 6. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "Studio That Hired Her Is in Dark About Film Actress". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 March 1950. p. 9. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "HOPS OFF". Sunday Times. Perth. 7 May 1950. p. 5. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ Tuksa, Jon, ed. (1976). Close up : the contract director. Scarecrow Press. p. 241.
  15. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (12 July 1950). "BACALL CONTRACT AT WARNERS ENDS: HIS CREDO: MERRIMENT". The New York Times. p. 33.
  16. ^ "Martin, Lewis Hitting Fast Film Stride; Jock O'Mahoney Series Star" Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 13 July 1950: B9.
  17. ^ "... REVIEWS OF NEW FILMS..." The Sunday Herald. Sydney. 4 March 1951. p. 5 Supplement: Features. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  18. ^ "NEW FILMS". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 10 August 1951. p. 5. Retrieved 23 August 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ Vagg, Stephen (24 July 2019). "50 Meat Pie Westerns". Filmink.

External links

  • The Kangaroo Kid at IMDb
  • The Kangaroo Kid at the TCM Movie Database
  • Review of film at Variety
  • The Kangaroo Kid at Oz Movies