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The Ransom of Red Chief (1998)

Two hobos strike on a get-rich quick scheme to kidnap an overly-energetic nine-year-old son of a local banker. Based on the classic story by O'Henry.


Bob Clark


O. Henry (short story), Ed Naha (teleplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Lloyd ... Sam Howard
Michael Jeter ... Bill Driscoll
Alan Ruck ... Ambrose Dorset
Kaitlin Hopkins ... Agnes Dorset
Brent Hinkley ... Deputy Muldoon
Richard Riehle ... Narrator / Sheriff 'T-Bone' Yankum
Sue Bugden Sue Bugden ... Miss Dupa
Richard Moll ... Filthy McNasty
Brad Greenquist ... Strange Pierre
Haley Joel Osment ... Andy Dorset
Nancy Lenehan ... Temperance Lady 1 (as Nancy Linehan Charles)
Mary Linda Phillips ... Temperance Lady 2 (as Linda Phillips)
Nicole Kranidas Nicole Kranidas ... Temperance Lady 3
Al Mancini ... Assayer
Robert Dickman ... Second Town Man 1


Two hobos strike on a get-rich quick scheme to kidnap an overly-energetic nine-year-old son of a local banker. Based on the classic story by O'Henry.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Western


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Release Date:

16 August 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Entführung von Häuptling Rothaut See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hallmark Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Version of TaleSpin: Ransom of the Red Chimp (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

not the best version of this story
11 April 2009 | by ender342See all my reviews

'Red Chief', one of O.Henry's most engaging stories, has been filmed at least three times. (I can find no record of the Alex Linz version several have referred to; it does not appear in his IMDb biography.) This version strikes me as the poorest of the three: too much slapstick, too many extraneous characters (the housemaid, the sheriff/narrator) who only slow down the action.

The story was first filmed in 1952 along with four other stories in 'O.Henry's Full House'. The kidnappers were played by the brilliant radio comedian Fred Allen and the equally brilliant pianist/comedian Oscar Levant so it should have been a winner but somehow it failed to click, to me at least. (Lee Aaker of 'Rin Tin Tin' played the boy.) But amazingly the truest and funniest version of this quintessentially American story was filmed in France. 'Le grand chef' (1959) featured Fernandel, then France's leading comic, and Gino Cervi, a prominent Italian actor. 'Red chief' was played by an enchanting youngster named Papouf. Downloadable copies are available but so far I haven't seen one with subtitles. You can use it to brush up on your French or just to enjoy the action.

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