Ransom! (1956)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  27 August 1956 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,107 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 5 critic

The Stannards' son is kidnapped for ransom. Plot centres around Ford's (the father) efforts to find him.



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Airs Sun. Nov. 29, 8:00 AM on TCM

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edith Stannard
Juano Hernandez ...
Jesse Chapman aka Uncle Jesse
Robert Keith ...
Police Chief Jim Backett
Richard Gaines ...
Mrs. Partridge
Alexander Scourby ...
Dr. Paul Y. Gorman
Bobby Clark ...
Andy Stannard
Ainslie Pryor ...
Al Stannard
Lori March ...
Elizabeth Stannard
Robert Burton ...
Sheriff Jake Kessing
Mary Alan Hokanson ...
Robert Stevenson ...
Fred Benson (as Robert Forrest)


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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

27 August 1956 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Menschenraub  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of Leslie Nielsen. See more »


Jesse Chapman aka Uncle Jesse: [closing line] "This my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost, and is found!"
[When David Stannard's son is discovered to be alive after all. From St Luke, Chapter 15, Verse 24]
See more »


Version of The United States Steel Hour: Fearful Decision (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

A gripping tale
1 May 2003 | by (Milwaukee, WI) – See all my reviews

Having seen the mediocre remake of Ransom, starring Mel Gibson, I was intrigued when I came across the original from 1956 that featured the always great Glen Ford. I'm glad I did, because now I know how the film was supposed to be made.

Ransom! is the story of the wealthy Mr. Stannard (Ford) and his wife (Donna Reed) who are devastated to find out that their son has been kidnapped. Stannard immediately agrees to the kidnapper's terms, but at the last minute turns the tables when he goes on television and announces that the 500,000 ransom is now a price on the kidnapper's head, a decision which shocks the local townspeople and especially his wife.

I have a feeling this film was innovative using television as a platform, it had to have been based on the year the film was made - 1956. Although I had seen it played out before in the more recent version of Ransom, with a mild effect, the use of the medium in this manner was extremely powerful, even slightly shocking. Ford made his career playing fairly tough characters; even his roles in comedies had a slightly rough edge. I have to say that this was the best I have ever seen him. He was steely, yet desperate in his resolution that he was making the wisest decision, no matter what the consequences - and when his vulnerability finally cracked through the surface, you cannot help but absorb some of his pain. Donna Reed was a fairly minor character as the mother - she helped set the tone in the beginning, but was basically used later in the film as fuel for Ford's guilt. Leslie Nielsen was also featured as a newspaper reporter who becomes a kind of sounding board for Ford's character, and did a decent dramatic turn at it. It's still interesting to see him as a dramatic actor when we are so used to seeing him only in comedies for the last twenty years.

While Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low" still remains my favorite film in the "kidnapped" genre, this is definitely a close second. The kidnapping of a loved one has been a pretty common plot device in the first century of cinema, but when a film adds to or even transcends the genre it becomes distinct. Ransom! does just that, and I highly recommend it.


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