Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Sundays, I will be reviewing the made-for-television movies that used to be a primetime mainstay. Today’s film is 1971’s See The Man Run! It can be viewed on YouTube!
Two criminals have kidnapped the 18 year-old daughter of Dr. Thomas Spencer (Eddie Albert). They call the number that they have for Dr. Spencer and they tell the man that answers that they are going to kill his daughter unless he pays them a large amount of money.
What the criminals don’t know is that Dr. Spencer has recently changed his phone number and his old number was given to a struggling actor named Ben Taylor (Robert Culp). When the kidnappers call, Ben has just gotten out of bed and he’s still a bit too groggy to explain to them that they have the wrong number. Though he suspects that the whole thing might be an elaborate prank, he decides to call the real Dr. Spencer and tell him about the phone call. However, when the doctor answers, Ben does such a bad job of explaining the situation that Dr. Spencer thinks that Ben is the kidnapper. Begging Ben not to hurt his daughter, Dr. Spencer says that he’ll pay anything and that he won’t even call the police.
This gives Ben and his wife, Joanne (Angie Dickinson), an idea. When the kidnappers call back, Ben pretends to be Dr. Spencer. After the kidnappers tell Ben the amount of money that they want, Ben then calls Dr. Spencer and, pretending to be the kidnapper, relays the message but he also adds an extra $50,000 to the ransom demand. Ben and Joanne’s plan is to collect the ransom from Dr. Spencer, take their cut, and then deliver the ransom to the kidnappers.
It’s a complicated plan and, throughout the course of the day, both Ben and Joanne have their moments of doubt. But they stick with it, because Joanne wants the money and Ben wants the chance to not only prove himself as an actor but to also show Joanne that he’s not the loser that she insists that he is. Complicating matters, though, is that Dr. Spencer’s wife (June Allyson) has called the police without telling Dr. Spencer. Though Dr. Spencer doesn’t know it, the cops are determined to be there when he hands off the ransom to the man who claims to have his daughter.
Clocking in at a briskly-paced 73 minutes, See The Man Run is an enjoyable thriller, one that is full of unexpected twists and which features a fierce performance from Angie Dickinson and a rather poignant one from Robert Culp. Culp is convincing rather he’s playing a kidnapper, a doctor, or just an out of work actor who doesn’t realize that he’s gotten in over his head. As smart as he may be, Ben cannot escape from his own insecurities and his fear of being betrayed. It all leads to a diabolically clever surprise ending, one that proves that you can run only so far before you stumble.
Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 4/24/23 — 4/30/23 | Through the Shattered Lens