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Kidnapped (1938) Starring Warner Baxter, Freddie Bartholomew

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Kidnapped (1938)

Starring Warner Baxter, Freddie Bartholomew

Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure tale of a young 18th century boy betrayed by his wicked uncle didn't need a romantic subplot, but that didn't stop 20th Century Fox from including a female love interest (Arleen Whelan). Bypassing that plot point, Kidnapped stars Freddie Bartholomew as the heir to a Scottish estate, whose supposedly beneficent uncle (Reginald Owen) arranges for the boy to be kidnapped and spirited off to sea. The lad is rescued by Scottish rebel leader Alan Breck (Warner Baxter), and together the pair fight against the British Army troops as they head back through Scotland. Baxter doesn't quite liberate his homeland, but Bartholomew sees to it that his uncle gets his just deserts. Kidnapped was remade in 1947 with Roddy McDowell (just old enough to be given a girlfriend of his own by the screenwriters), then twice more in 1960 and 1971.

Directors: Alfred L. Werker, Otto Preminger (uncredited)
Writers: Robert Louis Stevenson (as Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Kidnapped' The Adventures of David Balfour), Sonya Levien (screen play)

Stars: Warner Baxter, Freddie Bartholomew, Arleen Whelan, C. Aubrey Smith, Reginald Owen, John Carradine, Nigel Bruce

Director Otto Preminger was fired and replaced by Alfred L. Werker after 20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck complained that he hadn't followed the script while directing a scene with Freddie Bartholomew and a dog. Although Preminger at first tried to remain calm, insisting that he had followed the script, Zanuck continued to argue with him until Preminger launched into a screaming tirade at him and stormed out of the screening room. The next day Preminger returned to Fox to find the lock on his office changed and his name taken off the door, and his parking space moved to a faraway location on the lot. Although he still had 11 months in his two-year contract, Preminger soon left Fox. He would not direct another film until 1943.
Alfred Werker went on to achieve international recognition for Lost Boundaries in 1949 at Cannes and from the Directors Guild.
Screenwriter Sonya Levien was nominated for an Oscar in 1933 for State Fair and won in 1955 for Interrupted Melody. She was also nominated by the Writers Guild for Oklahoma! in 1955 and for The Great Caruso in 1951.
Warner Baxter won an Oscar in 1928 for In Old Arizona.
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and A Child's Garden of Verses. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson now ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world. He eventually settled with his wife in Samoa, due to poor health and in search of a milder climate, and remained there until his death. His tomb is located there.