(director: William Beaudine; screenwriter: based on the novel Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson/W. Scott Darling; cinematographer: William Sickner; editor: Leonard Herman; music: Edward J. Kay; cast: Roddy McDowall (David Balfour), Dan O’Herlihy (Alan Breck), Roland Winters (Captain Hoseasons), Housely Stevenson (Ebenezer Balfour), Sue England (Aileen Fairlie), Alan Frazer (Hugh Fairlie), Erville Alderson (Mungo), Bobby Anderson (Ransome), Olaf Hytten (The Red Fox),Jeff Corey (Shuan), Erskine Sanford (Rankeillor), Winnifried McDowall (Innkeeper’s wife); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lindsley Parsons; Monogram; 1948)

“A weaker version of the book.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The adventure swashbuckling story based on the classic by Robert Louis Stevenson is a weaker version of the book. The cheapie Monogram studio shot it in black and white. Director William Beaudine (“Boys Will Be Boys”/”Voodoo Man”), the wrong person to direct such literary fare, keeps it modestly entertaining but vapid. The script by W. Scott Darling is faithful to the book, but listless. Former child star Roddy McDowall stars as the hero David Balfour, and is adequate. This is his first effort to be an associate producer. In 1751, when Bonnie Prince Charles, the king of Scotland, has fled to France in favor of King George, the father of the young lad David Balfour dies. David treks on foot for three days to Edinburgh to give his uncle Ebenezer (Housely Stevenson) a sealed letter from his father, as stated by his dad’s will. The letter clearly states that since David is the only son of the older brother, he will inherit the estate. Ebenezer and David’s father were once rivals for the same woman, David’s mother. David’s father took the woman, while Ebenezer got the estate to keep until his brother died and his son came to claim the place. After failing to kill the lad in his climb up an unlit staircase of the castle, the next morning uncle arranges for David to be kidnapped on the ship of the thuggish Captain Hoseason (Roland Winters). Instead of killing him as arranged, the Captain plans to sell him as a slave in the Carolinas. But good fortune comes his way when the Scottish Jacobite adventurer, Alan Breck (Dan O’Herlihy), after the wreckage of his ship, comes aboard and frees the lad in a dueling bout with the crew. The two return to Scotland, where David romances Aileen (Sue England) and with Breck’s helps the lad returns to Edinburgh to confront the scoundrel Ebenezer and claim his estate. The family lawyer (Erskine Sanford) makes sure it’s all legal.