Originally released in 1938 with Warner Baxter and Freddie Bartholomew in the leads, KIDNAPPED was remade in 1948 with Roddy McDowall and Dan O'Herlihy, then again with James MacArthur and Peter Finch in 1960. This fourth version of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel was a rare, relatively
classy project for American International Pictures (AIP), the prolific producer of "classic" teen-oriented drive-in fodder during the 1950s and 1960s. This screenplay offers the audience more bang for its buck by including material from Stevenson's less well known sequel, Catriona.
In the final years of the 18th century, the British are brutally ravaging the Scottish forces of the Jacobite Rebellion. David Balfour (Douglas) is an orphan boy who comes to the home of his wicked uncle, Ebenezer Balfour (Pleasence), unaware that he is actually the rightful heir to the family
fortune. Ebenezer hires Captain Hoseason (Hawkins), a ruthless sea captain, to force the boy into service on a ship prior to selling him into slavery in the New World. On its way to the Carolinas, Hoseason's ship rams a small boat, sinking it and drowning every hand aboard save Alan Breck (Caine),
a rebel on his way to France to raise money to continue the war against the Crown. Breck and young Balfour hit it off immediately and join forces to battle the cutthroat crew. However, a storm hits and the ship is wrecked. Here their high adventure begins in earnest.
Rather than use their well worn matte paintings, AIP splurged and went to England and Scotland to find the proper settings. The photography that resulted is splendid. After a decade of "Beach Party" films, AIP decided to remake classics and foisted some dreadful ones upon the public, WUTHERING
HEIGHTS and JULIUS CAESAR among them. This is the best of the lot, although it has so much plot that it may be difficult for youngsters to follow. Caine shows his costume mettle in this role, a welcome change from the spies and cads he'd played until making KIDNAPPED. A little too much talk and
not enough action, but it's still fun.
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- Released: 1971
- Rating: G
- Review: Originally released in 1938 with Warner Baxter and Freddie Bartholomew in the leads, KIDNAPPED was remade in 1948 with Roddy McDowall and Dan O'Herlihy, then again with James MacArthur and Peter Finch in 1960. This fourth version of Robert Louis Stevenson'… (more)