Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
"Kidnapped" Is Fine Adventure
Cleveland Press January 17, 1972
"Kidnapped" has been made with a high degree of professionalism, good taste and literacy. It is intelligent and superior in every way. Even the smallest roles have been well cast with superb actors.
But since it offers restrained violence, no sex and no obscenities, it stands a poor chance against the competition.
There have been other versions of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. This one goes further however by using both "Kidnapped" and its sequel, "David Balfour" for its sources. The result is a more complete story but one that covers so many events that a number of interesting characters are on rather briefly.
There is less of the saccharine and simple-mindedness about Jack Pulman's screenplay and Delbert Mann's direction. Without laboring the point the picture is an anti-war statement examining the futility of political struggles and lost causes.
The setting is Scotland at the end of the Jacobite Rebellion. A few highlanders, a handful of followers of Bonnie Prince Charlie, dream of returning to battle and wresting control of their country from the British and the lowlanders.
While the rebel cause is the more dashing and romantic, the script tries hard to present both sides of the problem and the necessity of unification.
This is the backdrop for the story of David Balfour (Lawrence Douglas), orphaned at 18 and seeking refuge with an uncle (Donald Pleasence).
His uncle first tries to kill him, then has him kidnapped by a sea captain (Jack Hawkins). Alan Breck (Michael Caine), a Scottish nobleman, is picked up by the same ship. Together Balfour and Breck battle the crew and make their escape.
Caine is well cast in the swashbuckling role of the Scottish highlander. Without overacting he plays the part with a high degree of relish. Douglas is perfect as David Balfour, intelligent but obviously not as mature or sophisticated as the other characters.
Donald Pleasence wraps up a lot of evil in his few short scenes and Trevor Howard is perfect as the Lord Advocate. Vivien Heilbron lends a classic beauty and bearing to the role of Catriona, a kinswoman of Breck and a girl who is attracted to young David.
The picture was filmed in Scotland, another plus in this piece of substantial movie making.