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Kidnapped on DVD

Sunday, 07 August 2016 23:00 Written by 

Kidnapped with Michael Caine out now on DVDBased on the novels of Robert Louis Stevenson, “Kidnapped” is an adventure story set in the aftermath of the 1746 Battle of Culloden. David Balfour (Lawrence Douglas – The Onedin Line) is an 18-year-old Scotsman who, seeking his inheritance, is kidnapped by his dastardly uncle Ebenezer (Donald Pleasance – “The Great Escape”) and enslaved on a ship bound for the Carolinas. After a fierce fight and resulting shipwreck, Balfour finds himself back on Scottish soil.

He is accompanied by Alan Breck (Michael Caine – “The Italian Job”), a notorious Jacobite rebel being hunted by the British Red Coats. The pair become enmeshed in the assassination of a key British ally and flee for their lives. The film also stars Jack Hawkins (“Zulu”), Trevor Howard (“Ghandi”), Gordon Jackson (Cowley in The Professionals) and Freddie Jones (“The Elephant Man”). Director Delbert Mann won an Oscar for “Marty”.

“Kidnapped” manages to retain the excitement of Stevenson’s original works as we follow Balfour from one life-threatening scrape to another. Douglas has just the right balance of young naivety and plucky courage, which is just as well when he is acting alongside such established names.

The less said about Caine’s Scottish accent the better (though at least he tries, unlike a certain Mr Connery in “The Hunt for Red October”!), but thankfully he is utterly charming (with a slightly threatening edge) as Breck. He also puts his sword-fighting skills picked up in “Zulu” to good use, carving his way through the film.

This DVD release looks pretty good, showing off the sweeping Scottish landscape in bold colours and reasonable detail, and the movie strikes a strong emotional note when the camera pans across a body-strewn, blood-stained hillside. The action may be thrilling but the spectre of civil war is always present.

I really enjoyed the film, and whilst it is ostensibly a boys’ own-style adventure, it can be enjoyed on several levels thanks to its historical setting, some adult themes and evocative presentation.

Special features include:

  • Production Featurette (7 mins; including behind the scenes footage)
  • Archive Michael Caine interviews (68 mins; two with Russell Harty and one with Gloria Hunniford on Sunday Sunday)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Promotional material PDF

There is some cracking material in the Caine interviews, including a conversation about on-screen underwear choices, being forever working class and acting with Lord Olivier on the brilliant “Sleuth”.

“Kidnapped” (1971) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Network. The main feature has a running time of 103 minutes approx, carries a ‘PG’ certificate and retails for £9.99, or less from