World for Ransom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
World for Ransom
World for Ransom movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Aldrich (uncredited)
Produced by Bernard Tabakin
Robert Aldrich
Screenplay by Lindsay Hardy
Hugo Butler
Starring Dan Duryea
Gene Lockhart
Music by Frank De Vol
Cinematography Joseph Biroc
Edited by Michael Luciano
Plaza Production
Distributed by Allied Artists Pictures
Release date
  • January 27, 1954 (1954-01-27) (Los Angeles, California)
  • January 31, 1954 (1954-01-31) (United States)
Running time
82 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100,000[1]
Box office 441,946 admissions (France)[2]

World for Ransom is a 1954 film noir drama film directed by Robert Aldrich, who was uncredited for his work.[3]

Many of the actors and sets used in the film were from the Dan Duryea television show China Smith. Duryea, Patric Knowles, Gene Lockhart, Reginald Denny, and Nigel Bruce starred in the film. Aldrich and cinematographer Joseph Biroc also worked on the series.


Mike Callahan (Duryea) is an Irish émigré and war veteran working in Singapore as a private detective. He takes on a case from a former flame, now a nightclub singer. She thinks her husband Julian March (Knowles) is involved in criminal activities and asks him to help out.

Callahan learns that a man named Alexis Pederas (Lockhart) has involved Julian in a plot to kidnap a prominent nuclear scientist Sean O'Connor and hold him for ransom to the highest bidder. O'Connor is one of the only men in the world that knows how to detonate the H-Bomb.


Production background[edit]

The film was shot in 10 days, on a budget of $90,000, with director Aldrich halting production to shoot TV commercials in order to raise money for the film's post-production.[4]

The film is similar to another film noir with a nuclear theme by Aldrich, Kiss Me Deadly, the difference being that Callahan is trying to get an old girlfriend back, while Mike Hammer in Kiss Me Deadly was in it for the money.


Critical response[edit]

When the film was released, film critic Bosley Crowther was negative about the film but appreciated the actors, writing, "Nothing gives it distinction, save possibly the people in its cast ... Robert Aldrich produced and directed. He was trying. Some day he may learn how."[5]

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz was positive about the film, and wrote, "This is a marvelously understated film noir that parodies all those big-budget spy/adventure films and in my opinion does a better job than most in getting to the underbelly of that genre. Aldrich was upset with censors for lifting the scene where Duryea learns his love interest is a lesbian. He could forgive her love for other men, but not with other women. The 1950s wasn't ready for such relationships, at least not in films. Nevertheless, this was a compelling film doing a fantastic job exploring the uncertainty of partnerships and the indeterminate nature of trust."[6]


  1. ^ Alain Silver and James Ursini, Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?, Limelight, 1995 p 231
  2. ^ French box office results for Robert Aldrich films at Box Office Story
  3. ^ World for Ransom on IMDb .
  4. ^ TV Guide Movie Database
  5. ^ Crowther, Bosly. The New York Times, film review, June 5, 1954. Accessed: July 8, 2013.
  6. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, Match 17, 2004. Accessed: July 9, 2013.

External links[edit]