Welcome back to IN THE SHADOWS, that column where we look at character actors in the movies, especially horror movies.
Today we look at Harold Goodwin, a familiar face if you’re a Hammer Film fan. Goodwin showed up as a burglar in the suspenseful opening scene in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969) and he also enjoyed a memorable bit in Hammer’s THE MUMMY (1959).
Goodwin appeared in a lot of movies and TV shows, but for horror fans, especially Hammer Films fans, he’ll always be remembered as the ill-fated burglar who in the opening moments of FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED unfortunately chose to break into a home owned by Baron Frankenstein (Peter Cushing). In a memorable sequence, his character finds himself trapped in a mysterious laboratory, only to be discovered by a hideous man with a pock-marked face. The man attacks him, there’s a struggle, which damages the lab, and at one point Goodwin’s burlgar crashes into a table, knocks over a container, and a severed head spills out. He flees in terror, and once he’s gone, the pock-marked man removes his mask and we see that he is the Baron Frankenstein. A rousing way to start a very exciting Frankenstein movie, and Goodwin was a big part of this scene.
Goodwin also enjoys a funny bit in THE MUMMY (1959) where he plays a man who is hired by a foreign gentleman to transport some crates full of relics to the foreigner’s house. Of course, it turns out that the foreign gentleman is Mehemet Bey (George Pastell), the man who is controlling Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee), and the crates of “relics” include Kharis himself! In one of the film’s more exciting scenes, the horses pulling the wagon get spooked and Goodwin’s character loses the crate containing Kharis into the local swamp.
Before this happens, Goodwin’s character and his buddy get rip-roaring drunk just before they’re to deliver the relics, and on their way to the horse and cart, Goodwin’s character approaches the horses and says “A man’s best friend is a horse,” to which his buddy replies “It’s a dog!” Goodwin then looks directly at the horse in front of him and says, “It’s a horse! I’m not that drunk!”
Interestingly enough, there were two Harold Goodwins working as character actors in the movies at the very same time! The subject of this article was British and appeared in mostly British movies, whereas the other Harold Goodwin was an American. The American Goodwin appeared in such films as ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930), YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (1939), and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN (1951), and made movies between 1915-1973, whereas the British Harold Goodwin worked in the biz between 1946-1992.
Here’s a partial look at the acting credits of Harold Goodwin, focusing mostly on his genre films:
THE MASQUE OF KINGS (1946) – Goodwin received his first screen credit in this made-for-TV movie.
THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE (1950)- Edwin- Goodwin’s first credit in a theatrical release was this comedy about the merging of an all-boys school with an all-girls school, starring Scrooge himself, Alastair Sim.
WHO DONE IT? (1956) – Pringle- uncredited peformance in this comedy, notable for being the film debut of British comedian Benny Hill. Also featured in the cast, Dr. Pretorious himself, Ernest Thesiger, and Hammer Film character actor Thorley Walters.
THE LAST MAN TO HANG? (1956) – Cheed – Goodwin adds his support to this crime drama directed by the man who would go on to direct Hammer Film’s best movies, Terence Fisher. Starring Tom Conway [I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943)] and Hammer Films’ actresses Eunice Gayson [THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958)- Gayson also appeared in the first two James Bond movies DR. NO (1962) & FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963) as Sylvia,in what was originally intended to be a recurring character in the series], and Freda Jackson [THE BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960)].
THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) – Baker – The classic war movie by director David Lean, starring William Holden and Alec Guinness. Winner of seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Lean, Best Actor for Guinness, Best Adapted Screenplay by Pierre Boulle, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, and Best Music Score by Malcolm Arnold. Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle (PLANET OF THE APES).
QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (TV Mini-series 1958-59- Colonel Gibson- recurring role in this famous British TV production, later turned into a feature film by Hammer Films as FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH (1967).
THE MUMMY (1959) – Pat – Goodwin’s first appearance in a Hammer horror film, a humorous role as a local hired to transport a crate carrying Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee) only to lose it in a muddy swamp.
THE TERROR OF THE TONGS (1961) – uncredited appearance in this crime thriller by Hammer Films starring Christopher Lee as Asian villain Chung King. Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1962) – Bill – Nice role here in the Hammer remake of Gaston Leroux tale, starring Herbert Lom as the Phantom. Directed by Terence Fisher.
THE LONGEST DAY (1962)- uncredited role in this classic WWII epic chronicling the D-Day invasion. All-star cast includes John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, and about 40 more major stars.
THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1964) -Fred – Another brief appearance in this second Mummy movie from Hammer Films, unrelated to their first.
DIE, MONSTER, DIE! (1965) – Taxi Driver- Horror movie with an aged Boris Karloff playing a scientist in a wheelchair who discovers a mysterious meteorite and tries to harness its powers. Also stars Nick Adams, and Hammer veterans Freda Jackson and Suzan Farmer. Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Colour Out of Space.”
FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969)- Burglar, uncredited – the role I most remember Harold Goodwin for- the burglar who has the misfortune of breaking into Baron Frankenstein’s home where he must face the wrath of the Baron (Peter Cushing) himself. His final Hammer horror appearance.
ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE (TV Series) (1992)- Window Cleaner – Goodwin’s final screen appearance in this British TV comedy.
There you have it. A partial listing of Harold Goodwin’s screen credits.
Harold Goodwin passed away on June 3, 2004 in Middlesex, England, UK. He was 87.
Hope you enjoyed this brief look at the career of Harold Goodwin. Join me again next time for the next edition of IN THE SHADOWS where we’ll look at the career of another character actor from the movies.
Harold Goodwin – October 22, 1917 – June 3, 2004.
Thanks for reading!