The Kidnapping of the President 1980 ***

Based on the novel by Charles Templeton, George Mendeluk’s 1980 drama has an improbable premise; a South American terrorist group kidnap the president and hold him to ransom during a trip to Toronto. That the premise seems possible is one of the achievements of this well-staged thriller, with only Jerry O’Connor (an immaculately dressed William Shatner from Star Trek) able to step in and save the president (Hal Holbrook), who ends up trapped in a van rigged with explosives. Van Johnson and Ava Gardener prop up the scenery in the background, but good location work in Toronto and an intense performance from Shatner make The Kidnapping of the President an accomplished political melodrama.


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