Ransom Money (1970)
Article 5481 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Dewitt Lee
Featuring Broderick Crawford, Rachel Roman, Gordan Jump
What it is: Crime thriller
A young boy is kidnapped and held for ransom. The distraught mother seeks the help of the police. Can they outwit the kidnapper?
This one popped up in the Mill Creek Action movie set, and is definitely on the side of marginalia, but since it kept throwing marginal content at me throughout the movie, I finally gave in and decided to give it a review. There’s a bit of marginal science fiction here; the kidnapper is an electronics expert, and he performs actions such as sending messages to the mother through the radio in her car and the television in her hotel room. He also tortures her at one point with loud electronic noise. Furthermore, there is a plot element involving an ink that disappears when exposed to light, and there’s a bit of a psychotic touch in the way that he seems to be terrorizing the mother. All of this may be marginal, but it’s there, and I chose to review it.
As for the movie itself, I will warn anyone who has the above mentioned Action set to ignore the plot description attached; Ralph Meeker is not in the movie, and other than the plot element of a boy being kidnapped, the story is different. The movie is definitely on the campy side; some of the dialogue is laughable, the plot relies on some fairly hard-to-swallow coincidences, and the production at times seems rushed. I do wonder if Broderick Crawford walked off the movie before production finished; his character is unceremoniously killed offscreen for very little reason before the climax of the movie. My favorite touch in the movie is that the kidnapper dares the mother to report the kidnapping to the police, so confident is he that he won’t be caught. My least favorite moment is the opening, which is a) a long driving scene, and b) features one of those faux singer-songwriter style ditties of the era that always seem to be so out of place in a movie of this ilk. And you should have no trouble figuring out which of the primary characters has a shady link to the kidnapper.