Production Year: 1974
Release Date: 07/16/2013
Studio: Kino Lorber
Collection Number: 1122

In the early 70's director Mario Bava would begin production on a thrilling heist film involving three would-be criminals and a few hostages unlucky enough to fall into their paths.  The film was almost complete when one of the main investors died tragically in a car accident bankrupting the shoot and stopping the film right in it's tracks.  The film was considered by many to be lost, however decades later the production was finished posthumously by the director's son Lamberto and producer Alfredo Leone.  Rabid Dogs AKA Kidnapped was finally released in 1997, a whole seventeen years after the auteur's demise.

Kidnapped centers a group of criminals and their attempted robbery that goes awry.  While they were successful in nabbing the cash, things didn't exactly go as planned, their driver was shot by the police and eventually the three remaining crooks (Maurice Poli, George Eastman, Don Backy) attempt to flee on foot.  In a brush with the police they managed to take a young woman (Maria; Lea Lander) hostage and eventually carjack an older gentleman named Riccardo (Riccardo Cucciolla) along his sick son.  Together this strange mishmash of characters take to the road to escape from a city that's slowly being locked down by the local police force.

Kidnapped is a great little suspense film.  It's not as renowned as some of the director's past films but it's got a lot going for it.  At this point in his career Bava's popularity was on a bit of a decline.  Film popularity had shifted and Poliziotteschi films were very in with Italian audiences.  With Kidnapped Bava wanted to prove that he wasn't just a horror director, a plan that sadly never panned out.  The crooks are played to a tee by each of the distinguished Italo-actors.  George Eastman is extremely careless and obnoxious as 32.  Blade Is the deranged silent type while Dottore is the brains of the operation.  The only downside to the trio is the Italian dubbing, especially on Eastman's character.  Heist stories were prevalent at the time, but the execution set forth in the picture is great.  The bumbling criminals meet problems at every turn, the female hostage is constantly fleeing, and there's something very suspicious about Riccardo.  Bava was a true master of his craft.

Much like Black Sabbath the visual presentation is great.  Kino didn't do much of a restoration process on the film so what you get on the disc is an as-is high defintion representation of the print used.  Luckily the print was a very good one.  For those who might have picked up the old Anchor Bay Bava box sets there's a significant upgrade in quality in comparison.  There is some room for improvement as things could have easily been touched up.  Though with zero evidence of DNR or edge enhancement maybe it's best to leave a great print alone.

The film carries an uncompressed 2.0 Italian audio option, like the print the sound is also very good.  It doesn't suffer from any serious issues, the dialogue is clear and Stelvio Cipriani's jazzy score doesn't drown anything out.

There are no extras to speak of aside from a reel of Bava trailers.  Considering the film's history I'm surprised a featurette wasn't included.  I'd have loved to hear Lamberto talk about finishing his late father's film.

 Kidnapped is a very well done thriller with many twists and turns.  I thought I had it all figured out until the ending hit me with a wonderful and unexpected twist.  It's a definite upgrade when compared to past DVD editions and one I would recommend to fans of Italian cinema.

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