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The Kidnapping (1934)

Rapt (original title)
| Crime, Drama, Romance | 1936 (USA)
Hans has killed the dog of Firmin, a shepherd. Wild with rage, Firmin kidnaps Elsi, Hans' fiancée and locks her up at his home. Hans, a peddler, vows to find the missing girl. This is what ... See full summary »


Dimitri Kirsanoff


Benjamin Fondane (adaptation), Charles Ferdinand Ramuz (novel) (as C.F. Ramuz)


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Credited cast:
Dita Parlo ... Elsi
Geymond Vital ... Firmin (as Vital)
Jeanne Marie-Laurent Jeanne Marie-Laurent ... La mère de Firmin
Auguste Bovério Auguste Bovério ... Mathias - le colporteur
Dyk Rudens Dyk Rudens ... Hans
Hans Kaspar Ilg Hans Kaspar Ilg ... Gottfried
Nadia Sibirskaïa Nadia Sibirskaïa ... Jeanne
Lucas Gridoux ... Mânu - l'idiot
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe Alex Joe Alex
Robert Bagger Robert Bagger
Charles Ferdinand Ramuz Charles Ferdinand Ramuz ... Un villageois valaisan


Hans has killed the dog of Firmin, a shepherd. Wild with rage, Firmin kidnaps Elsi, Hans' fiancée and locks her up at his home. Hans, a peddler, vows to find the missing girl. This is what he does and he manages, with the help of Mathias, a trader who travels between both villages, to give Elsi a letter. On seeing her, the changeling falls in love at first sight with the young woman. Elsi soon realizes that Mânu, the village idiot, can become her instrument of vengeance. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama | Romance


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Switzerland | France


German | French

Release Date:

1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Kidnapping See more »

Filming Locations:

Lens, Valais, Switzerland See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mentor-Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First film of Auguste Bovério. See more »


Remade as Le rapt (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Let's keep on amending film history
19 October 2017 | by kekseksaSee all my reviews

I was not fortunate enough to see this in a very good copy and the sound in the copy I saw was particularly poor but even so the quality of the film and its evocation of a strange uncouth world (no sentimentalisation of the country life here) steadily won upon me, so that I have little to add to the praise of the film by other reviewers.

We are nowadays continually amending cinema history as more and more becomes available from the silent era but also from this curious period which in Europe saw the development of what I have called elsewhere a "mixed form", that is to say, a form that used sound but relatively minimally while retaining the visual values of the silents - a period that produced some of the finest films ever made.

Nor would it be true to say that they simply avoid "sound" or that "sound" is unimportant in such films. In fact, as one sees or rather hears very clearly in this film, the relative sparseness of sound gives it an enhanced importance. The music of Honegger is remarkable, creating an eerie ambiguity between the diagetic ( part of the action( and non-diagetic (accompanying score), while both the cuckoo-clock and the primary "talking" character,the unijambiste peddler played by Bolivéro, have key roles in the film.

In the US late silents (with a few notable exceptions) had become so talkative (in terms of intertitles that they were virtually just sound films without the sound. In Europe the general tendency had been in the other direction towards a sort of ideal of "pure cinema" and Kirsanoff had already made significant contributions in that regard.

This is a most striking example of the mixed form especially as in many ways the subject of the film itself is inarticulacy. The hero ("Je ne peux pas...") is nearly as silent (and nearly as simple) as the dumb simpleton who is a kind of alter ego. A curious but very significant choice of story for an early sound film. Like silents, the mixed films have to be watched with a degree of attention that many modern viewers find difficult and this is not a film one necessarily appreciates from the word go. But the effort is more than repaid as the film progresses. Te fine cinematography often recalls two other great French directors whose work is hugely significant in the "mixed" genre, Jean Epstein and Jacques Grémillon.

In ten years' time, at the rate things are going (some 150 "new" silent features are currently finding their way onto youtube each year), our knowledge of film history and thus of film itself will have advanced beyond recognition. Already the simplistic US-centric histories with which we all grew up are looking faintly ridiculous. Ten more years of amendment and there will be practically nothing left of them.

And - just as remarkably - this revolution has not been very strongly led by the professional film critics or the pontiffs of "film studies" who often try desperately to hang on to the half-truths and damn lies which they imbibed earlier in their career but in the first instance by a very small circle of more perceptive scholars and now increasingly by a genuinely popular interest that continues to spread and strengthen.

One is rapt withal.

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