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World for Ransom (1954)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 31 January 1954 (USA)
In Singapore, a private detective and the British authorities are on the trail of a crime syndicate that kidnaps a nuclear physicist with the aim of selling him to the highest bidder.


Robert Aldrich


Lindsay Hardy




Complete credited cast:
Dan Duryea ... Mike Callahan / Corrigan
Gene Lockhart ... Alexis Pederas
Patric Knowles ... Julian March
Reginald Denny ... Maj. Ian Bone
Nigel Bruce ... Gov. Sir Charles Coutts
Marian Carr ... Frennessey March
Arthur Shields ... Sean O'Connor
Douglass Dumbrille ... Insp. McCollum
Carmen D'Antonio ... Dancer
Keye Luke ... Wong
Clarence Lung Clarence Lung ... Johnny Chan
Lou Nova ... Guzik


Director Robert Aldrich, one year before his post-modern Noir masterpiece Kiss Me, Deadly (1955), did his best with this atmospheric China Seas melodrama. Should chanteuse Frenesie (Marion Carr) stay glued to her weak-kneed but handsome husband (Patric Knowles) or wise up and take what tough but reliable Irish soldier of fortune Callahan (Dan Duryea) has to offer? The answer comes only after sterling character actors Gene Lockhart (evil mastermind), Nigel Bruce (colonial governor), Douglas Dumbrille (military cop) and once-handsome Reginald Denny (ditto) squabble and planify to restore order. Bonus: lovely brogue-wielding Arthur Shields, younger brother of icon Barry Fitzgerald, as the hydrogen bomb expert whose kidnap fuels the intrigue. Bad guys vs. good with the sublime, sweet-hearted, tough-tongued Duryea playing both ends against the middle. His face like carved rare roast beef, his hair slicked back, eternal glint in his eye, Duryea wriggles through sewers, sprints around enemy ... Written by Ernie Bakeswell

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was lured kiss-by-kiss into an incredible plot to destroy the world !


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Shot in 11 days. See more »


When Callahan jumps through his window to escape from Bone, he leaps, upper body first, shielding his face with his arms. He would not have been able to land on his feet, as shown. See more »


Wong: Take a chance, Mr. Callahan. Love is a white bird, yet you cannot buy her.
See more »

User Reviews

Nigel Bruce's Swansong
26 April 2021 | by loloandpeteSee all my reviews

This is an odd little film that is probably most notable for being the last screen appearance of the avuncular, endearing British character actor, Nigel Bruce. In truth, he doesn't have a great deal to do despite his fifth billing. He plays the British governor of Singapore and has a short scene abut 30 minutes in followed by a lengthier one about 15 minutes later. His role is a sedentary one, sitting behind a desk and instructing millitary types before confronting the chief villain of the piece Gene Lockhart (Miracle on 34th Street/Carousel). He is more than competent but it isn't a role he can shine in. Sadly, too, it was released after his death. The genre is Crime/Film Noir and the plot concerns a shady gang kidnapping a scientist (Arthur Shields; The Quiet Man/The Corn Is Green/National Velvet), who has the knowledge to put a hydrogen bomb together, and ransoming him to the British and her allies or failing that, the communists! It does, sometimes betray its low budget and often looks more like a televsion episode than a feature film. The script is also clunky, at times. The lead is Dan Duryea, unkown to me, but he had a prolific stage career and a long screen resume. He is likeable but is caught acting on a number of occasions and tends to over project his dialogue. He is a Rick Blainesque anti-hero and is caught between a sultry, morally dubious young woman (Marian Carr) and her criminal husband (Patric Knowles; The Adventures of Robin Hood/The Wolfman/ Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman). The action is a bit ho hum until Duryea, in the company of a British Major (Reginald Denny; Rebecca/Sherlock Holmes &The Voice of Terror/Cat Ballou) goes to rescue the scientist at the gang's hideout. A slightly above average effort, then and aside from all the character actors mentioned above there are also roles for Keye Luke (Charlie Chan series of films/Kung Fu/Gremlins) and ex heavyweight prizefighter Lou Nova. Spotting the well known faces is perhaps the chief pleasure in this film. Strother Martin and Patrick Allen also pop up in bit parts.

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Release Date:

31 January 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alerte à Singapour See more »


Box Office


$120,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Plaza Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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