|Index||5 reviews in total|
"See the Man Run" builds continual suspense built upon a clever plot.
Robert Culp is living with Angie Dickinson. He gets a phone call meant
for a doctor (Eddie Albert) demanding $50,000 in ransom for the
doctor's daughter. After hanging up, he gets a "plot" idea for a movie.
Why not call the doctor, ask for $150,000, pocket the extra $100,000,
pay off the real kidnapper and disappear into the night? Culp has been
out of work for 2 years and Angie has lost respect for him. She
encourages him to make this scheme happen, and he goes along with it.
Working out the details of this fairly complicated set of transactions occupies the rest of the movie. A number of things can go wrong, especially when the police are brought into the act.
Beyond the tense story development, handled by capable actors, including June Allyson as Albert's wife, the script develops character thoroughly and the action flows nicely from those characters. The characters also go through marked changes as the story goes on, and this too is logical. This makes for interesting reversals. Allyson goes from hysterics to firm action. Angie goes from greed and daring to fear. Culp goes from indecision to elation and confidence.
The movie includes a cracker-jack chase scene in below ground tunnels and piping that is easily competitive with any recent ones.
The script also works in layers of irony, as the actor talks about plot, then begins to act it, and then finds himself changing as a consequence. The line between imagination and reality becomes a theme of the movie.
Mann Rubin wrote the screenplay and story. He earlier had done the fine movie "Warning Shot", and he did a lot of TV work. It may be worth seeking out. The director was Corey Allen who likewise did a lot of TV.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is 4 in the morning, and drunk, out of work actor, Robert Culp's
phone starts ringing. He picks up the phone and mumbles, "Yes?" A voice
says. "Now listen, Doctor Spencer, we have taken your daughter. You
will not call the Police. If you do, your daughter will die. I will
call in the morning with further instructions." The half drunk Culp,
looks at the phone for a second, then hangs up. He wakes his wife,
Angie Dickinson and tells her about the call. Dickinson gives him a
dirty look and rolls back over to sleep.
The call keep gnawing at him so he grabs the phone. He calls information, asks for a Dr Spencer listing. He calls the number. Answering is, Eddie Albert, "Yes this is Dr Spencer. What do you want at this time of the night?" Culp asks if Albert has a daughter, and is she there. Albert sends his wife, June Allyson, to look in the daughter's room. The room is a mess and the window is open. She rushes back to Albert and cries that the girl is gone. Albert asks Culp if the girl is OK.
Culp tries to explain what had happened, and how he had gotten the call from a kidnapper. He tells Albert the man had said, no police, or the girl will be killed. Albert however misunderstands Culp thinking he is the kidnapper. A hysterical Allyson makes a grab for the phone causing it to disconnect. Culp decides he has done his good deed and hits the sack.
Next morning, Culp gets a call from the kidnappers. "We want $50,000 in 10's and 20's or the girl will die. We'll give you 6 hours. And again, no Police! " Culp just listens to the voice and then agrees.
He tells wife Dickinson again about the call. "You think I should call the Police?" Needless to say that does not happen. Light-bulbs go off as they decide this could be the answer to their cash flow problems.
Culp calls Albert and asks for $150,000. Albert agrees. Culp tells him he will call again with delivery instructions.
Culp hangs up the phone, looks at Dickinson. Tension and excitement has Dickinson all heated up, the two embrace and head to the bedroom for some clutch and grab. Afterwards, they plan out a place for the cash transfer.
Albert has gone to see his bank manager telling Allyson to stay calm. However, family friend's Antoinette Bower and Ross Elliot arrive. Of course Allyson spills about the kidnapping and Elliot calls in the Police.
Elliot and Police Detective, Charles Cioffi, convince Albert they can help. Albert tells them he intends to go through with the ransom pay off. Cioffi talks Albert into at least allowing the Police to tap the next call. Albert agrees but wants no further Police involvement.
Culp and Dickinson, realize that they should not use their phone and use a cross town pay phone. Culp tells Albert to meet him at a high school football field in an hour. Culp knows the grounds of the school since he was a student there.
The cash exchange is botched, because the Police followed Albert and make their move too soon. Culp barely escapes through some tunnels under the school. Albert is furious with the Police and demands they remove the phone tap and stay out of the way. He then returns home.
Culp and Dickinson are also at home. He calls Albert and asks, "Do you want your daughter dead?" Albert explains that the Police were not his idea, and that they are no longer involved. Culp arranges another drop for later that night. Culp then waits for the real kidnappers to call. When they do, he arranges a cash drop for several hours after his meet with Albert.
An easy score Culp and Dickinson figure. They get the cash from Albert, skim $100,000 off the top, and then drop off the 50,000 to the real kidnappers.
Culp, being an actor, dons a fake beard and stash for his meeting with Albert. He takes the cash, tells Albert that his daughter will be dropped off in a few hours. "Don't worry, she is OK." Culp then drives off to meet Dickinson. Culp counts out their end and gives it to Angie. "Take good care of that. I'll meet you back at the house." He then takes off for the next meet.
There, he forks over the $50,000 to the kidnappers and collects Albert's blindfolded daughter. Leaving the blindfold in place, Culp hustles her back to the car. He whispers to her to stay quiet and she will soon be home. The daughter realizes it is not Albert and starts screaming. "You are not my father!" The kidnappers are not pleased with this turn of events. The one figures that Culp must be a cop, and pulls a gun. Culp manages to knock the man down. The second crook then pulls his piece and fires, hitting his fellow kidnapper in error.
Culp shoves the girl in the car, jumps in and hits the gas. He gets himself and the girl safely away. Culp drives a street over from Albert's place, and drops the girl. Then back to Dickinson and the cash.
He finds, no Dickinson, no cash and nothing but empty closets. He has been had! He mutters to himself. "I'll fix her!" He grabs the phone and calls the Police. He tells the Police about the kidnapping and the cash. He then gives them Dickinson's name, description, and the license number of the car. He hangs up and smiles.
A minute later, the door flies open and Dickinson enters. She waves a big bottle of champagne and says, "Lets hit the road! I've packed the bags and loaded the car. I just went out to grab us a bottle so we can celebrate!" (colour)
I saw this movie in 1981 on a rerun. I wish some station like MPIX or even Disney or A&E network would show this movie again. The twists and turns in this movie, I can remember like just yesterday I saw it, make me go nuts. When the unemployed actor thought that his girl was trying to cheat him with the ransom they had collected from the kidnappers, I don't want to give the ending here but . . . I saw this movie in Ceylon in 1981 twice. PLEASE HELP ME SEE THIS MOVIE AGAIN OR BUY THE DVD OR VHS. It took me about 24 years to finally get some info about this movie on IMDb database (the best) system. Since this is a TV-Movie some station must come forward to help people like me.
And I really mean that. This film, a Movie of the Week special, has a quietness about it, yet beneath everything there's a sense of foreboding that lurks, with a twist ending that is memorable and certainly had folks talking about it at the dinner table that evening and even beyond, one of the best thrillers I've seen in a while. The late Robert Culp plays this role with so much skill, that I for a split second during a conversation with the kidnappers, I'd thought he was actually the doctor. There are several moments of comedy here--entirely unintentional, I suppose--which to me were a delicious bonus to this most entertaining film. Just a good old- fashion thriller, which will undoubtedly remind lovers of how good the storytelling in the past often could be. I give it a 10 all the way.
The plot to "See the Man Run" is an odd one. Ben Taylor (Robert Culp)
is awakened by a phone call from a crook...telling him his daughter has
been kidnapped! The problem is that Ben doesn't have a daughter and the
callers were actually trying to call some doctor (Eddie Albert)! So,
Ben tries to call the doctor and tell him what's happened...and the doc
and his wife overreact and think Ben has kidnapped her. However, at the
urging of Ben's wife (Angie Dickinson), he decides to pretend to be the
kidnapper. That way, he'll just ask for MORE money than the kidnappers
and pay them off himself...and keep the difference!! Considering Ben's
an out of work actor, this plan, though very illegal, seems to make
sense. But will it work?!
There are many reasons to see this film....not the least is to get a load of Robert Culp in a silly wig. The script is great, the relationship between Ben and his wife strange and weirdly kinky and the ending is just terrific. This is one of the better made for TV films of the era...and holds up great today. It can be found on YouTube by the way.
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|