UK / 1971
Dir: Delbert Mann
Writer: Jack Pulman (based on the novels by Robert Louis Stevenson)
Cast: Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Jack Hawkins, Donald Pleasence, Gordon Jackson, Vivien Heilbron, Lawrence Douglas, Freddie Jones
The fourth big-screen version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure novel Kidnapped also incorporates elements of Catriona into its exciting plot. The film has a stellar British cast with Michael Caine proving that The Cider House Rules wasn’t the first time he attempted an accent (although which part of Scotland his accent comes from is anyone’s guess). Despite the largely British cast and locations – the Highlands look particularly stunning – the film is helmed by American director Delbert Mann, best known for winning an Oscar for Best Director in 1955 with Marty .
The action is focused around the Jacobite rebellion in 18th century Scotland. Following a bloody defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, a naive young man, David Balfour (Lawrence Douglas), is cheated of his inheritance by an avaricious uncle, Ebenezer (Donald Pleasence). Kidnapped and to be sold into slavery by Captain Hoseason (Jack Hawkins), Balfour meets a Jacobite onboard ship. This fearsome and fearless rebel, Alan Breck (Caine), is trying to seek sanctuary in France.
Breck and Balfour escape from the captain when the boat runs aground, although Breck’s hatred of the English and their Scottish collaborators, the Campbells, soon lands them in trouble. When a leading Campbell is shot, Alan, David and the daughter of one of Breck’s comrades, Catriona (Vivien Heilbron), flee. Catriona’s father, James Stewart (Jack Watson), has to stand trial for the murder in Edinburgh. Despite the risks, David determines to save the life of the innocent man.