World for Ransom


1h 22m 1954

Brief Synopsis

Made by the same production set-up on the same lot that was producing the 1953-54 "China Smith/Captain China" TV series that starred Dan Duryea as soldier-of-fortune China Smith, using many of the same players that were regulars on the TV series, including Douglass Dumbrille, as head of the British Intelligence, and the same "Singapore", British Colony colonials and China sets used on the series. In this instance, they had the good grace to actually make a "new" film rather than just paste two of the TV episodes together and sending it out as a "new" movie as many of the TV production companies were doing at the time, i.e., the producers of the "Ramar of the Jungle" and Guy Madison's "Wild Bill Hickok" series. And changed the role names of Duryea and Dumbrille, but the Duryea character is still "China Smith." And hired a good director. This time out China Smith...uh.....Mike Callahan (Dan Duryea), because of his friendship with Julian March (Patric Knowles),becomes involved with a plot to kidnap a nuclear scientist who is one of the three men in the whole wide world who knows how to detonate an H-Bomb and evidently carries most of the makings around with him. March is in league with Alexis Pederas (Gene Lockhart, less lovable than usual)and his henchman Guzik (former boxer Lou Nova and mean as usual), planning to do some blackmailing on a global scale. Lots of killing, kidnappings, crosses and double-crosses, fights and pursuits follow, plus some bit of footsie between March's wife, Frennessy (Marian Carr) and Callahan. Nothing much happens in that area either as she departs Singapore and Callahan both when neither are of further use to her. Better than the TV series because of director Robert Aldrich. And Marian Carr, who Aldrich would use later on.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 31, 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 27 Jan 1954
Production Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.; Plaza Productions
Distribution Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

In Singapore, adventurer Mike Callahan is accused by racketeer Johnny Chan of being a member of a group, comprised of Mike's former business partner Julian March, Alexis Pederas and a man named Guzik, that has taken over a jungle village formerly controlled by Chan. Mike tells Chan that he knows nothing about their activities but offers to investigate. Mike then visits March, whose wife Frennessey was previously Mike's girl friend, but March refuses to discuss his activities. Pederas, meanwhile, is organizing the kidnapping of a prominent nuclear scientist, Sean O'Conner, one of only four men in the world who knows how to detonate an H-bomb. March's role is to impersonate the British intelligence officer, Maj. Ian Bone, assigned to meet O'Conner at the airport. After meeting March, however, O'Conner becomes suspicious and attempts to get out of the car March and he are traveling in just as a photographer, Lee Wong, takes a picture of them. After O'Conner's kidnapping is discovered, Bone meets with Gov. Sir Charles Coutis and police Inspector McCollum to discuss strategies. Wong passes a print of the photo to his friend Mike who shows it to Frennessey and tells her that March is in trouble. Frennessey then confesses to Mike that she still loves him, but wants him to find March and help him. Pederas is concerned about the existence of the photograph and orders Guzik to kill Wong with a letter opener taken from March's desk. McCollum assumes that both Mike and March were involved in O'Conner's abduction and arrests Mike, also charging him with Wong's murder. McCollum permits Mike to escape, however, in the belief that Mike will lead him to where O'Conner is being held. Mike evades the pursuing police by posing as a Chinese rickshaw driver and makes his way to Chan's apartment where, at gunpoint, he demands the location of the village in which O'Conner is being detained. Later, Sir Charles is dismayed when he learns that McCollum's plan has failed, although Bone insists that Mike would never commit treason or murder. Their meeting is interrupted by the arrival of Pederas, who informs the governor that he has O'Conner and will sell him to the highest bidder ¿ the West or the Communists. Pederas demands five million dollars in gold to be delivered to him at a Tangiers bank, then states that ten days after receiving the gold, he will release O'Conner alive and well. Pederas gives the officials twenty-four hours to agree to his terms. Meanwhile, Mike is planning his journey to the village to rescue O'Conner. After Bone discovers Mike's whereabouts, he decides to follow him and, unknown to Mike, Bone clears his way through several military roadblocks. Near a signpost to the village, with Bone only moments behind him, Mike abandons his vehicle and begins to walk into the jungle, but hears Bone talking on his radio and surprises him at gunpoint. They decide to join forces and proceed to the village where they quietly disable several guards until Bone is shot and the alarm is raised. An activated grenade in both hands, Mike bursts into the building in which March and Guzik are guarding O'Conner and threatens to drop the grenades if they fail to hand over O'Conner. When Mike also demands to know who killed Wong, March incriminates Guzik. March fears that the fanatical Guzik will kill O'Conner, so he shoots Guzik and the others then points his gun at Mike, claiming that he will be regarded as a hero for having saved the scientist. Just as an army patrol enters the village, Mike throws the grenades at March then escapes after making certain that O'Conner is still alive. Later, when Mike returns to Singapore, Frennessey tells him that she lied about still loving him and that after he left her in Shanghai, she drifted into prostitution, but was rescued by March, whom she really loves. After Mike tells her that he had to kill March in self-defense, Frennessey becomes hysterical and slaps Mike several times until he walks out.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 31, 1954
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 27 Jan 1954
Production Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.; Plaza Productions
Distribution Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 22m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A Hollywood Reporter production chart lists Danny Hall as the film's art director, although only William Glasgow [whose surname is misspelled as "Glascow"] is credited onscreen. World for Ransom was a variation on Dan Duryea's early 1950's television series China Smith, which was set in Shanghai. Both producer Bernard Tabakin and director Robert Aldrich also worked on that series. A modern source states that the film was shot in nine days on a $120,000 budget.


Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States February 1954

Released in United States Winter February 1954

Shown in New York City (Walter Reade) as part of program "Apocalypse Anytime! The Films of Robert Aldrich" March 11 - April 8, 1994.

b&w

A lesbian kiss scene that opened the movie (insinuating that Marian Carr's character was such) was cut out.

Film was adapted from Aldrich's TV series "China Smith."

Film was reportedly shot in ten days.

Released in United States February 1954

Released in United States Winter February 1954