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


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.
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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.
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Stars: Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach

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Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Donald Cook

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Stars: Richard Cromwell, Mary Carlisle, Robert Armstrong

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Stars: Diana Dors, Linda Hayden, Troy Dante

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