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Kidnapped and cheated out of his inheritance, young David Balfour falls in with a Jacobite adventurer, Alan Breck Stewart. Falsely accused of murder, they must flee across the Highlands, evading the redcoats.
In eighteenth century Scotland after the death of his father Alexander, young David Balfour leaves the safety of his hometown at the behest of Alexander's last letter, directing him to teh House of Shaws estate to meet a heretofore unknown relative. During the two-day walk, David considers the possibility that he will be granted an inheritance, even though the strangers from whom he asks directions mutter dire warnings to him to avoid the estate. When David finally reaches the House of Shaws, Ebenezer Balfour, a wizened old man, appears at the window aiming at shotgun at him. David refuses to back away, however, and announces that he is Alexander's son, after which Ebenezer allows him inside, gruffly revealing that he is Alexander's brother. The once-grand house has fallen in slovenly disrepair due to Ebenezer's extreme stinginess, and the old man offers David only meager food and board. The next morning, Ebenezer pleads poverty, claiming that his father wasted the estate, and refuses to leave David alone lest he steal something. Later, David discovers a book that proves Alexander to be older than Ebenezer, and asks his uncle why his father did not inherit the estate. Ebenezer sends David to the tower for papers that will explain, but when David climbs to the top of the stairway, the door leads only to a precipitous drop and he almost falls to his death. Now realizing Ebenezer's murderous intent, David confronts his uncle, ignoring his feigned collapse, and locks him in the spare room. In the morning, he intercepts a letter to Ebenezer from business associate Capt. Hoseason, and Ebenezer convinces David to go with him to meet the captain and then the family lawyer, Rankeillor. In town, Hoseason whispers to the boy that he must speak to him in secret aboard his ship, but once aboard, the captain reveals that he is kidnapping David at Ebenezer's request. David tries to escape, but is beaten and tied up, and when he contracts a fever, brutal first mate Shuan wants to leave him for dead. Hoseason intervenes, however, and David is befriended by the filthy cabin boy, who informs him that the captain plans to sell David into indentured servitude. One day, after David recovers, a drunken Shuan beats the cabin boy to death. Hoseason names David the boy's replacement, and although he berates Shuan, he declares the boy "drowned" and does not discipline his first mate. Near the Hebrides, a dense fog causes the ship to hit a boat. The only survivor, Alan Breck Stewart, comes aboard, where Hoseason notes his Scottish burr and French uniform and concludes that he is a Jacobite, of the House of Stuart, who were exiled from Britain to France to make way for the ascendence of the House of Hanover. The Jacobites hope to reinstate Charles, a Stuart, as king. Although Hoseason is a member of the House of Hanover, like David, and a supporter of King George, Hoseason is more swayed by Alan's purse than by his loyalties. The purse holds the rent money that Alan's clan members have entrusted him to smuggle overseas to Ardshiel, the exiled clan chief. The captain agrees to transport Alan for a fee, but secretly plots to have him killed. Upon learning of the plan, David reveals it to Alan and pledges to fight alongside him. Although they are vastly outnumbered, David's courage and Alan's superior military intelligence allow them to decimate the crew and gain control of the ship. In the aftermath, Alan is touched to note David's distress about killing a man, and despite David's friendship with some of the Campbell clan, supporters of King George and thus Alan's enemies, the older man offers him a silver button as a token of his comradeship. Alan then demands that Hoseason put them ashore on the nearby Loch Linnhe. The coastline is lined with dangerous reefs, however, and the ship soon founders, washing David overboard. He makes it to the shore, where he asks a crafty local to lead him to the mainland, but eventually is forced to fight the man and go on alone. He soon meets a ferryman who at first denies any knowledge of Alan, until the man recognizes David's description and asks for the silver button, which secures the man's guidance. He advises David to visit the House of James, where Alan will join him after he has helped divert the approaching enemy army of Colin Roy Campbell, known as The Red Fox. Along the way, David asks directions to the House of James, not realizing that he has approached The Red Fox himself. Just then, an unseen gunman shoots The Red Fox, causing the soldiers to assume that David is an accomplice. They chase him into the hills, where David is rescued by Alan, who helps him evade the army. Although David at first denounces Alan for committing murder, Alan points out that he has no gun, and convinces the boy that turning himself in to the army, despite his innocence, would be akin to suicide. They travel together through the Campbell territory of Glencoe, but soon meet friends of Alan who bring them to Cluny MacPherson, a chieftain in hiding from the Hanovers. That night, David refuses to gamble, risking Cluny's rage by calling it immoral, but Alan defends the boy and drinks through the night with Cluny. In the morning, David is furious to discover that Alan has lost all of their money at poker. As he and Alan set out again across the Highlands, he refuses to speak to his friend, and when Alan chastises David for being too hard on him, David points out that Alan cannot lose his money and then complain at his anger. A storm approaches, and though David grows ill, he refuses to stop to rest. When Alan argues with him, David feverishly draws his sword, but soon collapses. They are hidden in the barn of Stuart loyalist Donald Dhu MacLaren, where David apologizes to Alan and recuperates. The next day, another Stuart family rival, Robin Oig MacGregor, son of Rob Roy MacGregor, visits the farm and good-naturedly challenges Alan to a duel. After they draw swords, MacLaren suggests the men compete musically instead, and although Alan plays the bagpipe well, Robin easily bests him and the two rivals share a drink. Alan and David soon press on. Their last obstacle before they reach safety is the Bridge of Sterling, where despite David's trepidation, Alan convinces him to stroll past the British guards as casually and innocently as possible. They succeed, and once home, David seeks out Rankeillor, who explains to him that years earlier, his father and uncle fell in love with the same woman, and when Alexander won her heart, he gave the House of Shaws to Ebenezer in exchange. Now that Alexander has died, the estate is legally David's, but in order to avoid lengthy legal complications he first must prove that Ebenezer tried to harm him. To do so, David brings Rankeillor to Ebenezer's, where they hide in the bushes while Alan coerces Ebenezer into admitting that he paid to have David kidnapped. With the lawyer as a witness, Ebenezer's subterfuge is revealed, leaving the estate to fall to David without debate. Days later, Alan reluctantly bids the new lord goodbye, but promises to keep watch over him.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||PG||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 25 Mar 1960|
|Release Date:||1960||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (RCA Sound System)||Production Co:||Walt Disney Productions|
|Duration(mins):||94 or 97||Country:||Great Britain and United States|
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Captured, Heart and Soul
Kiwi Bird 2009-08-21
As a child, I watched this film on TV, and it captured my imagination so vividly that I remembered it vividly twenty years later. I'll never forget...