The son of a wealthy businessman is kidnapped. An ominous phone call demands a ransom of money if the parents want to see their son again. It seems like the father has no choice to comply, However, he makes a radical decision. The father dramatically goes on television and declares he will not only refuse to pay the ransom, but make it a reward for the kidnappers capture!
A whirlwind drama follows as everyone reacts to this seemingly reckless decision. The police, the press, the public and his worried wife plead with her husband to pay the kidnappers. Did the father just guarantee the death of his son or will this gamble pay off.
Originally a televised stage play, Ransom! was adapted into a feature film in 1956. Starring Glenn Ford, Donna Reed, Leslie Nielsen and Robert Keith. A suspenseful, emotional yarn plays out as surrounding characters all have their own personal feelings about what the father has done and everyone awaits the final outcome.
Thirty years later in 1996 Ransom got a polished remake from director Ron Howard. The same general story is presented starring Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Delroy Lindo and Gary Sinese. This time however the focus shifts to a game of chicken with the father of the kidnapped boy Gibson and lead kidnapper Sinese.
Upon its release it seemed most of the general audience was unaware that Howard’s film was in fact a remake. Even today most don’t know it. Unfortunately, the original film doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. When I would tell someone of its existence and explain that Ransom ’96 is in fact a remake of an earlier film, I’ve become accustomed to the reaction that most folks are surprised and they never had any idea, nor ever heard of the ’56 film.
I take a look at both the 1956 and 1996 films.