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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>
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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I had seen him in the Big Heat and while it was an admirable performance, seemed a bit wooden. Not so in this film. Ford gives many dimensions to a man in conflict and trauma, he is multi-faceted and really the focus of the film.
The film was based on a true crime committed in the 1950's. Ford's son is kidnapped by someone posing as a nurse, removing his child from school. A wealthy man, Ford questions the efficacy of paying a ransom- why pay? he asks.
Donna Reed as his wife is acceptable but at the start of the film a bit too perky and perfect. There is a nice sub-plot with Juano Hernanadez, the family butler, who looks after Ford and prays for him; trying to help him survive the horrific events.
I had seen the new version with Rene Russo and Mel Gibson. It is a pale version; the new version is all glitz and no substance. Ford draws the audience into his despair, and we truly care about the outcome of these characters. There is no mindless action, violence as there is in the Gibson movie.
Highly recommended. 8/10.
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