Back in 1996, Mel Gibson starred in a movie titled RANSOM. It was the story of a married couple whose son had been kidnapped and a big ransom demanded. Gibson’s character made the decision to go on television and refuse to pay the ransom, instead offering up twice the ransom for the kidnappers, dead or alive, if the boy wasn’t returned unharmed. Evidently I missed something because I don’t ever remember seeing it called a remake. In 1956, Glenn Ford and Donna Reed starred in a movie titled RANSOM! as a couple whose son had been kidnapped and Ford refused to pay the ransom, offering the money for the kidnappers dead or alive.
David G. Stannard(Ford) is the president of the family business, a vacuum cleaner company. Edith(Reed) is his wife and Andy their son. They seem to have a happy home life and Dave had agreed to come home from work early to help Andy build his fort from bed slats the boy had liberated from every bed in the house.
The boy never makes it home and a call from their boy’s school says that the family doctor’s nurse had picked him up in a cab for some tests. Each parent thought the other was keeping some secret from the other about the boy’s health until a call in to the doctor reveals the truth. The call comes shortly. $500,000 for the boy.
Leslie Nielsen has a role as a reporter working with them and the police. When David is shown that the odds of getting the boy back alive are the same whether he pays the ransom or not, he makes the fateful decision not to pay the ransom, going on TV where there was supposed to be an acknowledgment by the host wearing a white dinner jacket that the money had been gathered and threatening the kidnappers with the ransom money, offering it to anyone who brought the kidnappers in dead or alive! “Look at the person sitting beside you! Look at their face! $500,000!”
It tears the family apart. Edith and David’s brother thinks he’s more worried about the money than the boy. Neighbors scorn him, throwing rocks through windows. Some TV commentators seem supportive, while getting in a sly dig that THEY would never refuse to pay for one of their children. The Police Chief wants a letter written to the Mayor(who’s worried about votes in the coming elections) saying he didn’t influence the decision(worried about his job).
A nice little movie. I don’t remember a lot about the Gibson version though.