US, 1975, 97 minutes, Colour.
Judith Marie Bergman, David Pendleton, Gregory Rozakis, Leif Erickson, Dorothy Malone.
Directed by Joseph Zito.
The Abduction has many of the marks of the exploitation film. It takes the story of Patricia Hearst and lightly disguises it. It has an emphasis on violence and some sexual exploitation. However, while the treatment is melodramatic, it does indicate something of the experience of Patty Hearst's background, her capture, her being brainwashed and her being persuaded to enter into the way of life of the movement against society. Leif Erickson and Dorothy Malone are professional stars who portray the heroine's parents.
1. A good film, interesting? The exploitation of the Patty Hearst situation? A view of America? Straightforward, documentary style, exploitive elements?
2. The value in using the Hearst situations? American self-consciousness, interning? An exploitation of people and issues, sensationalising? Have feature films a right to portray these stories? The reflect1on on real persons and situations?
3. America's right to do this? Individuals taking public figures, examining the issues, purging themselves of sow guilt? Overseas interest, curiosity?
4. The building up of the situation: Patricia and her personality, background and wealth, family, taking everything for granted, bored and rich, experimenting in drugs etc.? Her liaison with Michael? Relationship? Michael as a character? A straightforward and unnuanced presentation of capitalist types etc.? How critical was the screenplay of these characters at the beginning? An invitation to the audience to share the attitudes of the abductors? The scene of the abduction and its violence? Upsetting the audience? Reaction to such infringement of rights and violence?
5. The contrast with Patricia's parents, their home, business interests, wealth, attitudes? The validity of their statements? The T.V. coverage? Michael and his reaction? The attitude of Patricia's father, the pooling of differences? Uniting of resources to search out Patricia? The comment on these aspects of the American way of life? The abductors wanting to destroy this? With a plan, or mere rebellious reaction?
6. How well did the film portray the abductors: Dory, his political stances, social background, strengths and weaknesses of character, negro reactions? Frank, Angle, Carol? The different personalities, their involvement in the cause, the values that they stood for, their violence? Their subjective sense of rightness? Their attitude towards Patricia, their way of life, their reaction against American society, Patricia's family? Were they credible revolutionaries? Was their cause clear, just?
7. How sympathetic was the film's portrayal of Patricia, in her background, transition to the revolutionaries., the atmosphere of fear, captivity and prison? The film's visual presentation and having the audience share the physical and psychological ordeal? The making of the tapes, the content of her speeches? When did her attitudes begin to change? Was she free or not? The pressure of the personalities of the abductors? Her participating in their causes? Her being enclosed within the framework and credibility of their world?
8. The capitalist issues and the destruction of the buildings? The business world and the revolutionaries' critique? The calling in of the police? Michael and his involvement?
9. The film's presentation of Jake and the police treatment of him, torture and his revelation? The critique of the capitalist system because of its torture and oppression?
10. How well did the film build up Patricia’s gradual identifying with the cause? How much did it work on the psychology of repression and her being liberated to join the cause?
11. The final melodramatics, the capture and Patricia shooting the police? What did this say about what had happened to her, psychologically, politically?
12. The exploration of themes of individuals in modern society, the need for change, the desperation of revolution,, self-fulfilment, social needs? The pros and cons of violent change?