Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

The FBI vs Roddy McDowall


Richard Kimble
 Share

Recommended Posts

Wikipedia:

 

In 1974, the FBI raided the home of McDowall and seized the actor's collection of films and television series in the course of an investigation into film piracy and copyright infringement. His collection consisted of 160 16-mm prints and more than 1,000 video cassettes, at a time before the era of commercial videotapes, when there was no legal aftermarket for films.. McDowall had purchased Errol Flynn's home cinema films and the prints of his own directorial debut Tam-Lin (1970), and transferred them all to tape for longer-lasting archival storage. McDowall was quite forthcoming about those who dealt with him: Rock Hudson, Dick Martin and Mel Tormé were just a few of the celebrities interested in his film reproductions. No charges were filed against McDowall.

 

Anyone here remember this? 

 

You can read McDowall's statement to the FBI here:

 

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/roddy-mcdowalls-planet-tapes-0

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend of mine was doing a cabaret gig with Mel Torme and when I told him that Mel, like myself, was a big film collector, my friend decided to talk about the hobby with him.  The first thing Mel asked him (half-joking?) when he broached the subject was "you're not wired, are you?"  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes Doc, I do remember this whole thing while it took place back then. Being a native Angeleno, these sorts of stories always made it into the local news.

 

And now, just wanna say here that whenever I think of McDowall's film archives, I think of his collection of home movies which he filmed of his fellow colleagues in the film industry on their off-hours and at play. And, the first one that always comes to my mind is the following one filmed during a gathering of them at a Malibu beach house, and which opens with a roving shot up the bikini-clad nubile body of Natalie Wood here ...

 

 

(...yep, for some reason, this one always comes first to my mind...gee, I wonder why THAT is, huh?!) ;)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't remember that and your link just took me to the story.  No McDowell comment.  But....

 

If he should be arrested and imprisoned for anything,  it should be for LORD LOVE A DUCK!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Funny, Lord Love a Duck is a favorite of mine!  Such a dream cast with McDowell, Tuesday Weld, and Ruth Gordon and funny script.  Oh, well, just goes to show how differently we all perceive things.  Hey, hey, hey!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was sad time for film collectors. While  Roddy was made an example of because he was a celebrity hundreds of collectors, across the country, were paid early morning visits by the FBI who proceeded to clear their houses of every reel of film they could lay their hands on. It didn't matter if the films had been legally purchased from companies like Blackhawk Films. They even took people's home movies. It would be up to the collector to prove what they had was legal. 

 

People with large collections started moving them to "undisclosed locations" to avoid having them confiscated. The studios really put the screws to the small collectors the FBI grabbed making them "save themselves from prison" by turning informant and name not only their sources but any collectors knew. It wasn't pretty.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was sad time for film collectors. While  Roddy was made an example of because he was a celebrity hundreds of collectors, across the country, were paid early morning visits by the FBI who proceeded to clear their houses of every reel of film they could lay their hands on. It didn't matter if the films had been legally purchased from companies like Blackhawk Films. They even took people's home movies. It would be up to the collector to prove what they had was legal. 

 

People with large collections started moving them to "undisclosed locations" to avoid having them confiscated. The studios really put the screws to the small collectors the FBI grabbed making them "save themselves from prison" by turning informant and name not only their sources but any collectors knew. It wasn't pretty.

 

 

AWFUL. i guess someone ratted on Roddy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was sad time for film collectors. While  Roddy was made an example of because he was a celebrity hundreds of collectors, across the country, were paid early morning visits by the FBI who proceeded to clear their houses of every reel of film they could lay their hands on. It didn't matter if the films had been legally purchased from companies like Blackhawk Films. They even took people's home movies. It would be up to the collector to prove what they had was legal. 

 

People with large collections started moving them to "undisclosed locations" to avoid having them confiscated. The studios really put the screws to the small collectors the FBI grabbed making them "save themselves from prison" by turning informant and name not only their sources but any collectors knew. It wasn't pretty.

 

Do you know the approximate percentage of films that were illegal by these raided collectors?    Clearly the FBI overreached but I can't support violation of Fed law even from collectors.     The Feds and a collector of Indian artifacts settled their legal dispute.   This guy clearly loved what he was collecting but at the same time he clearly and knowingly violated Federal law and upset Indian sites.   To me this is related because often I get the feeling people believe collectors should be allowed to violate the law because their motives are 'love' of the hunt \ collection.

 

Of course this is a delicate issue with users at this forum.   Many have no problem watching and trading films that they don't have the legal right to do,   using the reasoning (excuse),  that since the studios will not make these films available to the public "stealing" is justified.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you know the approximate percentage of films that were illegal by these raided collectors?   

 

 

I have no idea, and I'm not defending people who had illegally obtained films, but the studios painted all collectors with the same brush and went after everybody even when they knew the collectors weren't doing anything wrong. 

 

There was one studio that for years had been selling used TV prints to collectors, through a subsidiary, even  providing them with what was called a "life of the print lease" that gave them the legal right to have those films. Still, despite the fact that they openly advertised and sent out printed brochures, that studio denied ever doing it and went after those same collectors who had been their customers.

 

Sadly, even innocent collectors who were swept up Hollywood's film pirate "witch hunt" often had to make deals and forfeit their collections because they couldn't afford the legal expenses to fight it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes Doc, I do remember this whole thing while it took place back then. Being a native Angeleno, these sorts of stories always made it into the local news.

 

And now, just wanna say here that whenever I think of McDowall's film archives, I think of his collection of home movies which he filmed of his fellow colleagues in the film industry on their off-hours and at play. And, the first one that always comes to my mind is the following one filmed during a gathering of them at a Malibu beach house, and which opens with a roving shot up the bikini-clad nubile body of Natalie Wood here ...

 

 

(...yep, for some reason, this one always comes first to my mind...gee, I wonder why THAT is, huh?!) ;)

 

Love these videos.  Going through these related videos, one of the posters said, "Hot dogs, beer, and cigarettes..."  

 

Also somewhere there had to be a grill or two with charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid.  Also since it's on a beach, don't forget the Coppertone and the mineral spirits.

 

So what went wrong?

-

The hot dogs were probably a-ok back then, pre-GMO.  Eat away.  The coloring used on some of today's hot dogs can be carcinogenic, so shop wisely.  The beer was probably non-toxic but so-so.  The cigarettes...cancer sticks.  Grilled meat, the charred surfaces carcinogenic.  Coppertone...carcinogenic (the pores of the skin get hot in the sun, open up, then absorb this into the body).  Mineral spirits, probably more of the same but on a far lesser scale.  I do miss the smell of lighter fluid though.  Nothing says "outdoor picnic" quite like the smell of lighter fluid.

 

In remembrance this Fall, maybe I will have some people over to sit outside and around the fire pit, lit with lighter fluid, while we have organic hot dogs and medium-rare burgers cooked in a frying pan, baked potatoes cooked in aluminum foil, some "vegetable medley" surprise, and craft beer.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was sad time for film collectors. While  Roddy was made an example of because he was a celebrity hundreds of collectors, across the country, were paid early morning visits by the FBI who proceeded to clear their houses of every reel of film they could lay their hands on. It didn't matter if the films had been legally purchased from companies like Blackhawk Films. They even took people's home movies. It would be up to the collector to prove what they had was legal. 

 

People with large collections started moving them to "undisclosed locations" to avoid having them confiscated. The studios really put the screws to the small collectors the FBI grabbed making them "save themselves from prison" by turning informant and name not only their sources but any collectors knew. It wasn't pretty.

 

Interesting how the business model for monitizing old films has shifted, presumably from solely the 2nd-run theater market, to home video.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...