Claudia Kincaid wants to run away from home. She is a romantic dreamer at heart and feels like her parents do not appreciate her. So, when she finds a train ticket with an unpunched ride, she decides to take off on an adventure of a lifetime. Together with her younger brother Jamie ( who is financing their expedition ), she plots their escape and, while riding in the bus to school one day, they take off for New York City. "You don't run away from a place, you run away to a place," Claudia says. And New York City is the place she wants to go to because that is where the Metropolitan Museum of Art is located.
Claudia wants to live in the museum and immerse herself in history. One night, while at the museum, she sees a statue of an angel in a backroom and falls in love with it. It is part of a new art exhibition and may possibly have been sculpted by Michaelangelo. The famous Italian sculptor's mark is on the base of the statue but art experts have been baffled for years as to whether it is a genuine mark or not.
Claudia was wondering just why she had run away and now it occurs to her that she wants to prove that she is capable of doing something grand and noble... just like the knights in the legends of King Arthur that she reads about. Solving the mystery of whether or not Michaelangelo carved the angel statue would be such a gesture. It would make her feel important. The only person who can help Claudia and Jamie solve the mystery is Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler ( Ingrid Bergman ), a recluse who once owned the statue.
"You know Jamie, this is really a great adventure, something we'll remember as long as we live. Not even a king has lived in a fabulous place like this."The Hideaways is based on the popular children's book "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" written by E.L. Konigsburg. It was required reading for many elementary students during the 1980s and 1990s. This film adaptation escaped me as a youngster and the only filmed version of the story that I was aware of at the time was the 1995 television adaptation starring Lauren Bacall. The Hideaways is by far a superior adaptation of the story and a much better film overall. Sally Prager and Johnny Doran are excellent in the lead roles and Sally especially gives a touching performance as the imaginative and spunky Claudia. For such a little thing, she really does have a lot of wisdom.