Kidnapped (1960 film)

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Directed by Robert Stevenson
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Robert Stevenson
Based on Kidnapped
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Starring Peter Finch
James MacArthur
Bernard Lee
Music by Cedric Thorpe Davie
Cinematography Paul Beeson
Edited by Gordon Stone
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release date
  • February 24, 1960 (1960-02-24)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English, Scots

Kidnapped is a 1960 Walt Disney Productions film adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic 1886 novel Kidnapped. It stars Peter Finch and James MacArthur, and was Disney's second production based on a novel by Stevenson, the first being Treasure Island. It also marked Peter O'Toole's feature film debut.


In 18th century Scotland, young David Balfour (James MacArthur) is directed by his recently deceased father's letter to go to the House of Shaws, where he is greeted without much enthusiasm by his miserly uncle Ebenezer (John Laurie). An attempt to arrange a fatal accident makes it clear that Ebenezer has no affection for his nephew. Since David is not sufficiently on his guard, he accompanies Ebenezer to a meeting with a seafaring business associate, Captain Hoseason (Bernard Lee). The captain lures David aboard his ship and shanghais him, at Ebenezer's instigation.

At sea, David learns that he is to be sold into indentured servitude. However, a thick fog comes up and the ship collides with a boat. Alan Breck Stewart (Peter Finch), the only survivor of the latter, is brought aboard and pays for his passage, but the greedy captain plots to kill him for the rest of his money. David warns Alan, and the two are able to overcome the murderous crew. Alan coerces Hoseason into putting them ashore. The ship founders, but David manages to reach land alone.

After several dangerous encounters, he is rescued by Alan, who turns out to be a Jacobite wanted by the authorities. Evading the soldiers, the two make their way back to the House of Shaws, where Alan tricks Ebenezer into admitting his crimes within the hearing of a hidden witness, allowing David to claim his inheritance.



Upon the film's original release, New York Times film critic Eugene Archer gave the film a negative review by stating that, "Either Mr. Disney, who made a vigorous Treasure Island ten years ago, has lost his touch in the intervening decade, or the kids have been spoiled by Gunsmoke and Peter Gunn. Yesterday's audience was definitely not amused."[1]

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