World for Ransom (1954)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  31 January 1954 (USA)
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Made by the same production set-up on the same lot that was producing the 1953-54 "China Smith/Captain China" TV series that starred Dan Duryea as soldier-of-fortune China Smith, using many... See full summary »




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Complete credited cast:
Mike Callahan / Corrigan
Alexis Pederas
Julian March
Maj. Ian Bone
Gov. Sir Charles Coutts
Marian Carr ...
Frennessey March
Arthur Shields ...
Sean O'Connor
Insp. McCollum
Carmen D'Antonio ...
Clarence Lung ...
Johnny Chan
Lou Nova ...


Made by the same production set-up on the same lot that was producing the 1953-54 "China Smith/Captain China" TV series that starred Dan Duryea as soldier-of-fortune China Smith, using many of the same players that were regulars on the TV series, including Douglass Dumbrille, as head of the British Intelligence, and the same "Singapore", British Colony colonials and China sets used on the series. In this instance, they had the good grace to actually make a "new" film rather than just paste two of the TV episodes together and sending it out as a "new" movie as many of the TV production companies were doing at the time, i.e., the producers of the "Ramar of the Jungle" and Guy Madison's "Wild Bill Hickok" series. And changed the role names of Duryea and Dumbrille, but the Duryea character is still "China Smith." And hired a good director. This time out China Smith...uh.....Mike Callahan (Dan Duryea), because of his friendship with Julian March (Patric Knowles),becomes involved with a ... Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

singapore | See All (1) »


Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 January 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alerte à Singapour  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shot in 11 days. See more »


When Callahan is in the March's apartment with Mrs. March, she claims he left her when they were in Shanghai. Earlier, the split supposedly occurred in Singapore when Callahan shipped out for the war. Shanghai seems even less likely than Singapore as Shanghai was occupied by he Japanese in 1937, nearly 4 years before Singapore fell. See more »

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User Reviews

A hampered attempt to get a little edgy, pushing the Asian themes just after Korea
20 July 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

World for Ransom (1954)

This movie is a Robert Aldrich strain. It's not quite raw enough or exotic enough to rise above its low budget, but it's not for lack of trying. One problem is several so-so actors. But the great asset is the one actor who's pushing his limits, not as a film noir lead, but as a guy lost in the shuffle around him and a little at a loss. Dan Duryea. If you don't know him, this isn't the best place to get a sense of his unique, slightly languid, nice boy, sarcastic style. He's wonderful in his own way. And he's the core of the movie.

We are in Singapore. There is an impossibly convoluted plot about hydrogen bomb secrets and a group of thugs out to steal either the secrets or the bomb itself. The chief bad guy is a little improbable, the great character actor Gene Lockhart (the judge in the classic "Miracle on 34th Street"). He's just not bad enough, or interesting enough. One of the good guys is another character actor, the peculiar and wonderful Nigel Bruce (who you might remember in Hitchcock's "Suspicion" with Cary Grant).. The lead female (Marian Carr) isn't quite a femme fatale or a steamy love interest. She's blonde, of course, and good, overall, but she isn't given much to do.

It doesn't mean much to us to know this but this is basically an extension of a television series along the same lines (same sets, same characters) starring Duryea. It has better production values, I hear (probably due to Aldrich) but it's still hampered by its formulaic television roots, for sure.

Oddly for Aldrich the camera-work is often very stable. Everything looks good, great sets and light, but it's static. And the plot keeps barreling along, adding new minor characters from the administration toward the end (just when we've had enough minor characters). There is drama, and the whole affair is slightly raw and slightly exotic. And there are steamy smokey nights and impersonations and cheesy nightclub acts and of course, the bomb, looming every so subtly.

So it's not half bad, Duryea making the most of his role. Could have been great, but a lot of little pieces are not falling into place.

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