23 Paces to Baker Street DVD
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Directed by Henry Hathaway
Produced in 1956
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Van Johnson stars as the blind playwright who tracks down a killer through sound in this London-set thriller. Director Henry Hathaway twists the knife with precision, says Barney Kelley.
If you're going to steal, steal from the best: 23 Paces to Baker Street is a smart, sharp thriller that owes not a little to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. Philip Hannon is an American playwright, currently resident in London. One night in a local hostelry, he overhears some crooks preparing a dastardly crime. The police are no help and Philip realises he must step in to protect the victim himself. But there's more: Philip's blind. If he is to solve the case, he will have to place himself directly in harms way.
23 Paces... isn't quite the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made (that would be Charade) but it comes darn close, with director Henry Hathaway twisting the knife almost as effectively as the Master of Suspense. There's a tremendous sequence where our hero is led into a bombed out building and... but that would be telling. Incredibly, 23 Paces has never before been available for home viewing in Britain: while it doesn't rival Hitch at his best, it's a thoroughly worthy tribute.
A Hitchcockian mystery thriller, filmed in Cinemascope on location in London, 23 Paces to Baker Street focuses on Philip Hannon (Van Johnson), a blind playwright who overhears a partial conversation he believes is related to the planning of a kidnapping. When the authorities fail to take action because they believe his story is the product of a writer's fertile imagination, Hannon searches for the child with the help of his butler and fiancee, using his acute sense of hearing to gather evidence and serve as guidance.
23 Paces to Baker Street was one of several 1950s 20th Century-Fox films shot on location in London to take advantage of Fox's 'frozen funds' - money earned by the studio in England which by law could only be spent in that country.
Publisher: Odeon Entertainment
Length: 99 mins
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 widescreen
Cat No: ODNF343
Format: DVD Colour