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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. Written by
As good as cinema has been in retelling the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. It also happens to be my favourite novel, as it was the first I read (age 11) where the central character, David Balfour speaks with my accent and dialect. Furthermore, as a young man growing up I related to David's character, beliefs and values which reflect those of my own upbringing in a loving secure Lowland Scots Presbyterian (Church of Scotland) family. My biggest criticism is that the character of David as portrayed by James MacArthur spoke with the petulance of a spoiled American kid which did not ring true for a country bred but well educated Lowlander ,who is the recently orphaned son of a Dominie (parish schoolmaster). The late John Laurie played Ebenezer Balfour pretty much as I imagined him from reading the book. Peter Finch made a surprisingly good Alan Breck Stewart, and his speech patterns were faithful both to the book and to a Gaelic speaker speaking in Scots. Many of the incidental characters were well cast and acted as well. The two that stick in mind were the Carter (Tinker) and Jennet Clouston, both characters from whom David seeks direction to the House of Shaws. A great piece of wholesome family entertainment that credits the viewer with intelligence and knowledge of Stevenson's understanding of Scottish History.
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