The Kangaroo Kid (film)

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

The Kangaroo Kid
Directed byLesley Selander
Produced byT.O. McCreadie
Harry C. Brown (assoc)
Ben Sheil (exec)
Written bySherman Lowe
Based onstory by Anthony Scott Veitch
StarringJock Mahoney
Veda Ann Borg
Music byWilbur Sampson
CinematographyW. Howard Greene
Edited byAlex Ezard
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
United States


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]



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 Australia in May.[13]


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[14][15] – but this did not eventuate.[9] Reviews were unenthusiastic.[16][17]

Filmink magazine later said "This is very much a “meat pie” Western – an essentially American story transplanted to Australia. It’s okay, especially if you’re not in a particularly nationalistic mood and don’t mind films directed by prolific B-Westerner Lesley Selander."[18]

See also


  1. "Australian-Made Film 'Quickies'". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 4 January 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  2. "AUSTRALIAN "WESTERN"". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 1 March 1951. p. 11. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  3. "Hollywood stars for film here." The Argus (Melbourne, Vic) 4 Jan 1950: 5 accessed 28 December 2011
  4. "Kangaroo Kid". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 30 December 1950. p. 34. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  5. "Corn-blonde Here To Play In New Film". The Sunday Herald. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 5 March 1950. p. 11. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  6. "Films You Will Soon Be Seeing:: Studio Gossip:: Short Story "Into The Straight"—Australian Racing Film". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 5 January 1950. p. 8. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  7. "FILM VENTURE IN N.S.W." The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 4 January 1950. p. 4. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  8. AUSTRALIAN LOCATION: American Company Shoots Western 'Down Under' Traveler Menagerie By STEPHEN STRASSBERG. New York Times (1923-Current file) 23 July 1950: X4.
  9. "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 (1923-Current File) 07 Nov 1949: B7.
  11. "TO MAKE FILM IN AUST". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 23 February 1950. p. 6. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  12. "Studio That Hired Her Is In Dark About Film Actress". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 7 March 1950. p. 9. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  13. "HOPS OFF". Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 7 May 1950. p. 5. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  14. BACALL CONTRACT AT WARNERS ENDS: HIS CREDO: MERRIMENT By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times (1923-Current file) 12 July 1950: 33.
  15. "Martin, Lewis Hitting Fast Film Stride; Jock O'Mahoney Series Star" Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) 13 July 1950: B9.
  16. "... REVIEWS OF NEW FILMS..." The Sunday Herald. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 4 March 1951. p. 5 Supplement: Features. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  17. "NEW FILMS". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 10 August 1951. p. 5. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  18. Vagg, Stephen (24 July 2019). "50 Meat Pie Westerns". Filmink.
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