The Abductors


1h 20m 1957

Film Details

Also Known As
Secret Service
Release Date
Jul 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Regal Films, Inc.; The Griffin Company
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
7,190ft (9 reels)

Synopsis

One night in October of 1876 in Springfield, Illinois, ex-convict Tom Muldoon visits his former partner-in-crime, undertaker John Langley. After telling Langley that he has just been released from Joliet Prison, Muldoon shows him a counterfeit fifty-dollar bill made by his cellmate, Fred Boyd. Although Langley, who once witnessed Muldoon beat a man to death, is not pleased to see him, he is impressed by the quality of the engraving on the bill. Muldoon adds that Boyd has printed more than $100,000 worth of identical bills and only he knows their location and the whereabouts of the special inks, plates and papers used to make them. Muldoon then proposes that he and Langley kidnap the daughter of the prison warden and exchange her for Boyd. Some time later at the Chicago mission where the warden's daughter is working, Herbert Evans, Langley's business partner who has been posing as a ne'er-do-well, fakes a heart attack, thus enabling Muldoon to kidnap the girl. Jed, Langley's hired hand and the sweetheart of his niece, Sue Ellen, has been forced to assist in the kidnapping, and is waiting outside in a hearse to place the girl in a coffin. As they leave, however, Evans, who has suffered spells of panic since his experiences in the Battle of Gettysburg, has an attack, causing the wagon to overturn. Some bystanders discover the helpless girl just as Muldoon, Evans and Jed steal a horse and cart and escape. Afterward, the girl tells the Secret Service officers in Chicago that one of the men was Irish and that she heard the name "Langley." Investigator Fred Winters is aware of the trail of counterfeit bills, and with the help of Springfield's police chief Becker, has been observing Muldoon. Meanwhile, Langley has learned that a monument has been constructed in Springfield to house the body of Abraham Lincoln and conceives of a plan to steal Lincoln's body and exchange it for Boyd. When one night at a Springfield bar, a drunken Evans tells Winters about the plot to steal Lincoln's body, Winters immediately contacts Becker, and they plan a trap to catch the abductors in the act. On the night of the crime, Evans, who opposes desecrating Lincoln's memory, shows up drunk, draws a gun and demands money. Muldoon breaks his neck, then coerces Jed to accompany him and Langley. Jed had been planning to leave for California with Sue Ellen, but when she sees Evans' body, Langley forces her to join them. At the cemetery, they leave Sue Ellen with the wagon, then break into the mausoleum and discover that Lincoln's body has been encased in a marble sepulcher. With great difficulty, they raise the lid only to find that the coffin inside has been sealed with lead. Meanwhile, Winters and the police arrive at the cemetery and realize that Muldoon and Langley are already in the mausoleum. Just as Muldoon breaks through the lead, Jed moves the coffin and traps Langley's hand. As the police approach, one of the officers trips, causing his gun to fire and alert those inside. Assuming that Sue Ellen has summoned the police, Muldoon threatens to kill Jed, and after chasing him through the cemetery, catches him and orders him to take him to the wagon. Meanwhile, Langley frees himself and is caught by the police. Jed tricks Muldoon and escapes as Muldoon is killed by a rearing horse. Later, after Langley signs a confession and is sentenced to twenty years, Winters informs him that he was deceived by Boyd, who passed off a genuine fifty-dollar bill as counterfeit in order to enlist him in a scheme to escape.

Film Details

Also Known As
Secret Service
Release Date
Jul 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Regal Films, Inc.; The Griffin Company
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
7,190ft (9 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was Secret Service. In the onscreen credits, Victor McLaglen, George Macready and Gavin Muir are billed before the main title as "The Abductors." The credits are preceded by the following written statement: "This curious story is based on an actual case from the closed files of the United States Secret Service." The film closes with the following written quotation attributed to Abraham Lincoln: "You can fool some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Director Andrew McLaglen was the son of Victor McLaglen, the film's star. The Abductors marked the only feature film in which the senior McLaglen was directed by his son. The picture was also the last American film of Victor McLaglen, before his death in 1959.