5.8/10
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8 user 20 critic

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.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writer:

Lindsay Hardy
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Cast

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 Lou Nova ... Guzik
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 January 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alerte à Singapour See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$120,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Plaza Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Nigel Bruce. See more »

Goofs

As Callahan is getting up after being attacked by two thugs on Peking Lane, you can see the silhouette of a crew member briefly on Callahan's trousers. See more »

Quotes

Wong: Take a chance, Mr. Callahan. Love is a white bird, yet you cannot buy her.
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User Reviews

A hampered attempt to get a little edgy, pushing the Asian themes just after Korea
20 July 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

World for Ransom (1954)

This movie is a Robert Aldrich strain. It's not quite raw enough or exotic enough to rise above its low budget, but it's not for lack of trying. One problem is several so-so actors. But the great asset is the one actor who's pushing his limits, not as a film noir lead, but as a guy lost in the shuffle around him and a little at a loss. Dan Duryea. If you don't know him, this isn't the best place to get a sense of his unique, slightly languid, nice boy, sarcastic style. He's wonderful in his own way. And he's the core of the movie.

We are in Singapore. There is an impossibly convoluted plot about hydrogen bomb secrets and a group of thugs out to steal either the secrets or the bomb itself. The chief bad guy is a little improbable, the great character actor Gene Lockhart (the judge in the classic "Miracle on 34th Street"). He's just not bad enough, or interesting enough. One of the good guys is another character actor, the peculiar and wonderful Nigel Bruce (who you might remember in Hitchcock's "Suspicion" with Cary Grant).. The lead female (Marian Carr) isn't quite a femme fatale or a steamy love interest. She's blonde, of course, and good, overall, but she isn't given much to do.

It doesn't mean much to us to know this but this is basically an extension of a television series along the same lines (same sets, same characters) starring Duryea. It has better production values, I hear (probably due to Aldrich) but it's still hampered by its formulaic television roots, for sure.

Oddly for Aldrich the camera-work is often very stable. Everything looks good, great sets and light, but it's static. And the plot keeps barreling along, adding new minor characters from the administration toward the end (just when we've had enough minor characters). There is drama, and the whole affair is slightly raw and slightly exotic. And there are steamy smokey nights and impersonations and cheesy nightclub acts and of course, the bomb, looming every so subtly.

So it's not half bad, Duryea making the most of his role. Could have been great, but a lot of little pieces are not falling into place.


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