Kidnapped (1938 film)

Kidnapped (1938) is an adventure film directed by Otto Preminger (who was uncredited) and Alfred L. Werker, starring Warner Baxter and Freddie Bartholomew, and based on the 1886 novel Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.

1938 US Theatrical Poster
Directed byOtto Preminger (uncredited)
Alfred L. Werker
Produced byKenneth Macgowan
Screenplay bySonya Levien
Eleanor Harris
Ernest Pascal
Edwin Blum
Walter Ferris (uncredited)
Richard Sherman (uncredited)
Story byCurtis Kenyo (uncredited)
Based onKidnapped
by Robert Louis Stevenson
StarringWarner Baxter
Freddie Bartholomew
C. Aubrey Smith
Miles Mander
Reginald Owen
Music byArthur Lange
20th Century Fox
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
May 27, 1938
Running time
85 minutes
Budget$3,000,000 (est.)


In 1747, David Balfour's evil uncle arranges for him to be kidnapped and sent to sea where he meets exiled Alan Breck. The two make their way back to Scotland and justice.


Production notes

  • Production Dates: 3 Jan-mid-Mar 1938
  • The film's credits open with a picture of Robert Louis Stevenson lying in bed writing.
  • The screen credit for the title reads, "Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped: The Adventures of David Balfour."
  • In his autobiography, Otto Preminger recounts that he was surprised when, after having directed only two films in Hollywood, he was assigned to Kidnapped, a big-budget film. Preminger, who was not familiar with the book, read the script and complained to his friend, Gregory Ratoff, who was acting as Zanuck's assistant, that he did not want to direct the film because he had no understanding of the people in the part of the world where the story took place. Ratoff, however, persuaded him to accept. When Zanuck saw some of the rushes, he accused Preminger of cutting out a portion of the script without permission. During a heated argument, Preminger denied the charge, and when Zanuck yelled at him, Preminger yelled back. Preminger subsequently refused to apologize, and, according to the autobiography, because of the incident, he was prevented from working in Hollywood. He returned to stage direction and did not direct another film until 1943.
  • Other films based on the same book include a 1948 Monogram release starring Roddy McDowell and Dan O'Herlihy and directed by William Beaudine; a 1960 Walt Disney production directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Peter Finch and James MacArthur; and a 1971 American International Pictures version, directed by Delbert Mann and starring Michael Caine and Lawrence Douglas.

See also

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