GenreDrama, Film-Noir Music directorFrank De Vol Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateJanuary 27, 1954 (1954-01-27) (Los Angeles) CastDan Duryea (Mike Callahan / Corrigan), Gene Lockhart (Alexis Pederas), Patric Knowles (Julian March), Reginald Denny (Major Ian Bone), Nigel Bruce (Governor Sir Charles Coutts), Marian Carr (Frennessey March) Similar moviesRhino, The Final Alliance, Surviving Evil, Baby Brown, Code Name: Vengeance, The Mark of the Whistler
TaglineHe was lured kiss-by-kiss into an incredible plot to destroy the world!
World for Ransom is a 1954 film noir drama film directed by Robert Aldrich, who was uncredited for his work.
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.
Dan Duryea as Mike Callahan aka Corrigan
Gene Lockhart as Alexis Pederas
Patric Knowles as Julian March
Reginald Denny as Major Ian Bone
Nigel Bruce as Governor Sir Charles Crotts
Keye Luke as Wong
Arthur Shields as O'Connor
Strother Martin as Corporal
Marian Carr as Frenessey March
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.
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.
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."
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."