Stranded when her truck breaks down, 17-year-old Doris Mae (Linda Blair) accepts a ride from Leonard Hatch (Martin Sheen), unaware he’s an escaped mental patient. Held against her will, Doris Mae is taken to Leonard’s ramshackle hideout, a cabin nestled deep within the woods. Frightened at first, she soon finds her captor to be a kind and caring soul.
Director: Lee Philips
Writer: Edward Hume
Stars: Linda Blair, Martin Sheen and Jeanne Cooper
I was initially skeptical of ‘Sweet Hostage’ after having recently seen ‘Badlands’ and wondering how close the two films would actually be to one another — but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself captivated by this character driven, simple story.
Leonard (Sheen) escapes from a Boston asylum and happens upon Doris as her truck has broken down. He takes her to a remote cabin and holds her hostage. Doris makes a futile attempt at escape after her abduction but is brought back and their relationship slowly starts to take shape and blossom in what could be considered a romaticized portrayal of stockholm syndrome. Today it is not as common to find many films relying on story, character development, and charming characters so for that effort alone I applaud the film.
The Bottom Line
If you are willing to go back to a time when an audience’s attention span was given the benefit of the doubt then ‘Sweet Hostage’ is a film to add to your collection. The conclusion alone is powerful and worth the journey.
‘Sweet Hostage’ is available through the Warner Archive at WBShop.com