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Friday, September 30, 2016

Ransom (1956)

The 8 year old son (Bobby Clark) of a wealthy industrialist (Glenn Ford) is kidnapped and a ransom for $500,000 is demanded. But when the father is told that there's only a 50/50 chance he'll get his son back alive even if the ransom is paid, he takes a shocking action that turns his wife (Donna Reed) and the public against him. Based on a 1954 episode of the United States Steel Hour with Ralph Bellamy in Ford's role and later remade in 1996 by Ron Howard with Mel Gibson in Ford's part. Directed by Alex Segal, this is an unusual thriller that focuses on the domestic aspect of the kidnapping and thereby affords a more in depth look at the characters. The kidnappers are never seen, just referred to and the 1996 film made the mistake of padding out the film with the kidnappers and thus taking out much of the tension and focus of the central story. Ford gives one of his best performances and this was Reed's last really good role before she became America's favorite TV mom. She goes from the perfect little suburban housewife to medicated mess hysterically unraveling before our very eyes. A nifty and intense thriller with a solid human element. With Leslie Nielsen, Juano Hernandez, Robert Keith, Juanita Moore, Mabel Albertson, Lori March and Alexander Scourby.

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