When his son Andy is kidnapped and held for ransom, David Stannard liquidates his assets to meet the half-million dollar demand. A casual remark by newspaper reporter Charlie Telfer makes him change his mind. Despite the pleas from his wife Edith and brother Al, and the resultant condemnation of the press and public, Stannard goes on a nation-wide television program, displays the money and warns the kidnapper that not one cent will be paid for ransom; instead the money will be used to track down the kidnapper if Andy isn't returned unharmed. The police then find the boy's blood-stained shirt. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
This film was based on an episode of The United States Steel Hour (1953) called "Fearful Decision" that first aired live on June 22, 1954. It was so well received it was restaged on May 10, 1955. After this film was made, it was remade by 'Ron Howard' as Ransom (1996). See more »
Jesse Chapman aka Uncle Jesse:
"King David was much moved and thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son, Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
[while crying and holding and comforting David Stannard, who has just learned that his son appears to have been killed by the kidnappers. From 2 Samuel, Chapter 18, Verse 33]
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"Ransom" makes an interesting point about a kidnapping. Usually, desperate parents will do whatever to pay for the safe release of their children. In this story, the father, opts to do something entirely different by not paying the ransom demand. He is taking a gamble that pays off in the end.
This 1956 movie directed by Alex Segal reflected the times when it was made. Nowadays who knows what would happen if the bandits were provoked by a man that is calling them to use their common sense and set a young boy free. Probably the victim would not ever see another day! The film, shown on cable recently, presents a compelling story in which the well to do family is thrown into turmoil as their son is taken away from school. In spite of the fact there is basically one set, it doesn't feel constrained as perhaps some other pictures of the genre. We feel the emotions the parents are going through, and how it even affects the servants, as the police and the media descends on the Stannard household to report on the sensational news.
Glenn Ford made an excellent Dave Stannard. He is a man torn between what he must do and what he challenges the kidnappers to do with his young son. Donna Reed is perfect as Edith, the mother who goes to pieces when she learns about her son's disappearance. Leslie Nielsen is seen as the newspaper reporter who changes his views after seeing first hand what the kidnapping is doing to the family. Juano Hernandez and Juanita Moore play the servants with dignity and loyalty.
"Ransom" without displaying any violence at all is a film that packs a lot of action with successful results thanks to Alex Segal's sure hand behind the camera.
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