The Kidnapping of the President
The Kidnapping of the President is a 1980 Canadian-American political thriller film starring William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, Van Johnson and Ava Gardner. It was produced and directed by George Mendeluk and co-produced by John Ryan from a screenplay by Richard Murphy and Charles Templeton, based on Templeton's novel. The original music was by Nash the Slash and Paul Zaza and the cinematography by Mike Molloy. The film was made by Presidential Films and Sefel Films and distributed by Crown International Pictures.
|The Kidnapping of the President|
Theatrical film poster
|Directed by||George Mendeluk|
|Produced by||George Mendeluk|
|Written by||Richard Murphy|
|Music by||Nash the Slash|
|Edited by||Michael MacLaverty|
|Distributed by||Crown International Pictures|
During a diplomatic visit to Toronto, President Adam Scott (Hal Holbrook) was warned by Secret Service Agent Jerry O'Connor (Shatner) about a potential life threat. Ignoring his warning, the President is abducted by South American terrorist, Roberto Assanti (Miguel Fernandes), along with his female accomplice, for political pursuits and personal profits.
While held captive in an armored truck booby-trap with high explosives, ineffective bribes occurred due to the Secret Service unable to meet the terrorists' high demands - $100 million worth in diamonds along with two airplanes by the midnight deadline. With the explosives timed to detonate at midnight, Agent Shatner has to find a way into the truck to rescue the President, Vice President Ethan Richards (Van Johnson), and the Vice President's wife Beth (Ava Gardner) before it detonates.
Agent Shatner eventually gets one of Assanti's terrorist group members to turn on Assanti, which caused Assanti's sister to die. Agent Shatner learns Assanti's plan for the President and develops a plan for his own to help save the President - go through the engine and firewall with a cutting torch.
- William Shatner as Jerry O'Connor
- Hal Holbrook as President Adam Scott
- Van Johnson as Vice President Ethan Richards
- Ava Gardner as Beth Richards
- Miguel Fernandes as Roberto Assanti
- Cindy Girling as Linda Steiner
- Elizabeth Shepherd as Joan Scott
- Michael J. Reynolds as MacKenzie
- Gary Reineke as Deitrich
- Maury Chaykin as Harvey Cannon
- Murray Westgate as Archie Standler
- Ken Anderson as Willis
- Sully Boyar as FBI Chief
- Aubert Pallascio as Prime Minister
- Virginia Podesser as Prime Minister's Wife
The Kidnapping of the President was based on Charles Templeton's 1977 bestseller novel, of the same name. The film differs from the novel since the novel set the kidnapping in New York City's Herald Square, and the subsequent siege in nearby Times Square. Meanwhile, the film placed the kidnapping scene in Templeton's home city, Toronto, and the mob, chase, and explosion scenes in Nathan Phillips Square. Cast members found Toronto to be a nice and interesting city with an admirable lack of condescension.
Although the novel and the film have its differences, senior feature writer at The Globe and Mail, Stephen Godfrey found "the film is as easy to 'read' as the book apparently was. The inevitable cross-cutting - from fanatical terrorists to the presidential cavalcade, and later from a nearly unflappable security man (William Shatner) in Toronto - is well handed."
The film received lukewarm ratings overall. It has received a lot of talk from the New York Post and the Newark Star Ledger as well as outstanding reviews from Bergen Records and other newspaper organizations.
Unlike Bergen Records and other newspapers, Janet Maslin, from The New York Times, disagreed with the reviews because she thought the plot was not fresh enough to be frightening and the characters were not brave enough to do anything new.
Chris Lowry, a writer for Film Reviews, found Medneluk's directing uninspiring and Murphy's screenplay mediocre for an action movie. Lowry stated, "the film disorients and disturbs the audience at the outset" since the subject of kidnapping a President isn't a funny concept in general. He expected the editing to be better as well since the readers of the novel were aware that the setting is different in the film compared to the novel.
Awards and NominationsEdit
Best Achievement in Film Editing - Michael MacLaverty
Best Achievement in Overall Sound - Mike Hoogenboom, Douglas Ganton, and Nolan Roberts
- The Kidnapping of the President (1980), retrieved 2018-04-03
- "President-napping gory but enjoyable: Canadian movie skilfully made". The Globe and Mail, September 20, 1980.
- Perozak Smindak, Helen (August 24, 1980). "Mendeluk's movie, "The Kidnapping of the President" premieres" (PDF). The Ukrainian Weekly.
- Lowry, Chris (1980). "Film Reviews/George Mendeluk's The Kidnapping of the President". Cinema Canada. 0 (0). ISSN 1918-879X.
- The Kidnapping of the President, retrieved 2018-04-01