DIE JUNGEN JAKOBITER (1960)
aka The Young Jacobites
Article 4638 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by John Reeve
Featuring Francesca Annis, Jeremy Bulloch, Frazer Hines
What it is: Children’s adventure tale
In the eighteenth century, the Bonnie Prince Charlie, on the run from the British army, takes refuge in a castle on the Isle of Sky. A group of children on the island become the Young Jacobites, who plan to aid and protect the prince until a ship arrives that will take him to France.
This movie from the Children’s Film Foundation eluded me when it was first on my hunt list, and eventually made it to my “ones that got away” list. Fortunately, it came to light on a German DVD that (also fortunately) featured the English soundtrack. It appears that the movie originally was serialized in nine parts, but it appears to have been edited into three parts on the DVD. I’ve seen quite a few CFF movies now, and this is easily the best of the bunch, as well as one of the earliest; it has action, comedy, generally fine acting and, except for some bad sword-fighting here and there, it generally avoids cheesiness. The original ran about 139 minutes, while this copy runs under two hours, though the missing footage may include repeated credits and overlap scenes; there does not appear to be anything significant missing.
However, there is the issue of the fantastic content yet to deal with, as you’ll notice I give no mention of it in the description. That’s because the fantastic content consists of what amounts to little more than a framing device. Two of the children are from modern times, and they stumble across a threshold stone that takes them back into history, where they apparently existed in previous lives; while in the past, they make no mention of the present, nor do they seem to be surprised they have gone back in time. In fact, with a slight change at the beginning and ending, it could have easily been shot without the fantastic content, so in this case, it seems little more than a gimmick.