Subject: Warner Baxter and Freddie Bartholomew on sale for limited time




TODAY'S SPECIAL

Kidnapped (1938)
Starring Warner Baxter and Freddie Bartholomew

Beautiful print and will play in all DVD players.
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, Miles Mander
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.
Twentieth Century-Fox made certain to emphasize the source for their late-1930s adaptation Kidnapped (1938), starring young Freddie Bartholomew. The studio went so far as to depict author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) at the top of the credits, in an elaborate illustration depicting him lying in a bed while writing. Additionally, a large screen credit spelled out the source and a more accurate title: "Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped: The Adventures of David Balfour." All of this extra attention paid to Stevenson may have been something of an apology to the beloved author on the part of the studio, because in the hands of Fox executive Darryl F. Zanuck and a team of seven writers, the screen story deletes many well-remembered scenes from the novel, has a large romantic subplot tacked on, and retains little in the way of action. While the resulting film is still an effective showcase for Bartholomew, critics of the day pulled out all of the stops in blasting the effort for its lack of faithfulness to Stevenson.
The romantic plot that the screenwriters added to the story was geared toward newcomer Arleen Whelan, appearing in her first major film. She had been a manicurist at a Hollywood Boulevard salon, where she was discovered by director H. Bruce Humberstone, who suggested her to Zanuck. Whelan was signed to a 7-year contract at Fox in 1937 and within a year was deemed prepared to appear third-billed as the female lead in Kidnapped. She handles the task well, even surrounded by veteran ace supporting players (and scene-stealers) like C. Aubrey Smith, John Carradine, Nigel Bruce and H.B. Warner.
As the solemn Whig lad, David Balfour of Shaws, 14-year-old Freddie Bartholomew may be a shade on the jackanapes side for those who want their Stevenson straight, but he fits this feckless Fox version. Gibbous nose aloft and in fine priggish voice, Master Freddie imparts phonetic reality to an age when Britishers wrote s's that looked like f's.
Order this rarely-seen and hard-to-find classic today for the low price of $5.99.
New Additions At Zeus:
Babbitt (1934)

Stars: Aline MacMahon, Guy Kibbee, Claire Dodd

Warner Bros. grabbed up the rights to Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis' satirical novel of middle America, soon after publication in 1922, and it was first filmed in 1924 by Harry Beaumont as a silent (with Willard Lewis, Mary Alden, and Carmel Myers). A decade later William Keighley brought it to the screen with Guy Kibbee in the role of George Babbitt. A small town real estate broker who is too stupid and unimaginative to do anything terribly wrong or dishonest, Babbitt has lived a dull, staid, middle-class life -- until a little bit of recognition from his local loadge and the cajoling of a couple of crooked politicians get him roped into a plot to swindle the city. Suddenly Babbitt's life is poised on a slippery slope, as he falls into an unwise (though basically innocent) flirtation with a young woman (Claire Dodd) during his wife's extended absence. And that quickly leaves him vulnerable to a blackmail effort, and it soon looks as though his whole life may be falling down around him. Fortunately, Mrs. Babbitt (the incomparable Aline MacMahon) can think on her feet, and proves to be made of sterner stuff than her husband in an exciting, twist-laden finale.
Baby Doll (1956)

Stars: Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach

Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton was the basis for this steamy sex seriocomedy. Karl Malden stars as the doltish owner of a Southern cotton gin. He is married to luscious teenager Carroll Baker, who steadfastly refuses to sleep with her husband until she reaches the age of 20. Her nickname is "Baby Doll", a cognomen she does her best to live up to by lying in a crib-like bed and sucking her thumb. Enter crafty Sicilian Eli Wallach (who, like supporting actor Rip Torn, makes his film debut herein), who covets both Malden's wife and business. Malden's jealously sets fire to Wallach's business, compelling Wallach to try to claim Baby Doll as "compensation." Heavily admonished for its supposed filthiness in 1956 (it was condemned by the Legion of Decency, which did more harm to the Legion than to the film), Baby Doll seems a model of decorum today--so much so that it is regularly shown on the straight-laced American Movie Classics cable service.
Baby Face (1933)

Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Donald Cook

Baby Face is a good example of the kind of spitfire lead female characters that appeared in the cinema of pre-code Hollywood. Lily Powers (Barbara Stanwyck) works as a barmaid in her father's factory-town saloon where she learns to deal with the unwanted advances of male customers. When her father dies, she moves to New York City with her maid, Chico (Theresa Harris), to become a ruthless gold digger. First she meets office boy Jimmy McCoy (a young John Wayne in an uncharacteristically clean-cut role) who helps her get a job at the Gotham Trust Company. From there, she seduces and discards various men (George Brent, Donald Cook, Henry Kolker) as she sleeps her way to the top of the company. Jealously between the men causes a murder scene, so Lily takes her furs and jewels and moves to Paris with Chico. The production code censors tacked on an ending that featured Lily giving away her money and returning to her home town with Brent.
Baby Face Morgan (1942)

Stars: Richard Cromwell, Mary Carlisle, Robert Armstrong

This homey little comedy is predicated on the notion that bucolic country boy Morgan (Richard Cromwell) is the son of a notorious Roaring-Twenties racketeer. Morgan Senior's former gang, pining for their glory days, appoint "Baby Face" Morgan as their leader and resume their criminal activities. Their strategy is sublime: with the FBI busily beating the bushes for Nazi spies, who's going to pay attention to a bunch of middle-aged Prohibition gangsters? Unaware that he's being used as a figurehead, Morgan gets mixed up in a crooked insurance scheme, but by film's end he's figured out a way to clear himself and the mob, with everyone learning a lesson in the process. Reviewers in 1942 were amused by Baby Face Morgan but deplored its threadbare production values, noting that at one point the klieg lights could be seen reflecting on the bald dome of supporting player Vince Barnett!

Baby Love (1969)

Stars: Diana Dors, Linda Hayden, Troy Dante

Luci (Linda Hayden) is the illegitimate teenage sex kitten who goes to live with a doctor and his family after her sleazy, promiscuous mother (Diana Dors) dies. Robert (Keith Barron) is the doctor who may very well be Luci's father. Convinced Robert contributed to her mother's demise by rejecting her years ago, Luci sets out to destroy her new family. She teases the teenage son with kisses before bringing out the lesbian leanings of the mother Amy (Ann Lynn). After putting on a show for the neighbors and dancing with an ominous black man in a sleazy nightclub, Luci sets her sights on Robert in this shocking tale of a titillating teenage tramp.

Keir Dullea

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Cary Grant

Yvonne DeCarlo

Linda Darnell

Charlton Heston

Christian Bale

Tony Curtis

Gary Cooper

Marilyn Monroe

Diane McBain

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