9 July 2018 | rick-220
Solid night out 1917 style
Released in cooperation with the Library of Congress and under auspicien of Fritzi Kramer of website 'Movies, Silently' the film is part of a complete presentation by the Edison Film Company under their 'Conquest' brand, which ran in the mid-10s of the last century.
The entire program also includes 4 shorts which were shown in theatres back then before the Main Event. So, by playing the entire set you are basically experiencing a movie night out like it was in 1917.
KIDNAPPED is a solid adventure yarn based on the same-titled novel by Robert L. Stevenson. At a mere 65 minutes it moves along at a brisk pace and while omitting some elements from the novel it follows the plot nicely in a cohesive and clear way.
The film looks remarkably fine. Apart from a couple of scratches here and there the image is crisp and clear. There's a few tinted sequences, which work well to separate between the events.
Also interesting is the use of the camera. Most of the time it's static, shooting the action from a standard theater-front point of view, but there's a few instances when the camera moves along with the action and it even has a handheld feel to it.
While a large portion of the action takes place on a ship at sea, unfortunately the ship is never shown in full. Probably due to technical and budget issues, it's clear the ship never left the harbour and all sequences were shot while the ship was in the harbour.
However, there are some really gorgeous outdoor shots in the final act, when protagonist David Balfour and his companion have to make a run for it in a snow covered forest.
The movie obviously is not one of the great cinematic achievements of the silent era, but combined with the four shorts it offers a fascinating glimpse at early 20th century 'family movie entertainment'.