23 Paces to Baker Street 1956 (1956) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A blind American writer living in London stumbles upon a criminal conspiracy involving kidnapping and extortion. Runtime: 103 mins Release Date: 29 Oct 1956
I saw this film a number of years ago, with someone very special, and just before the cineplex facilities effected closing the majority of the conventional, free-standing movie theaters in large cities and small. Just saw it again, after a number of years.We sat in the balcony, and, having always enjoyed Van Johnson's work, I enjoyed this clever, interesting story even more than if the lead had been someone else.With all of the elements and twists one finds with Hitchcock, the fact of the principal character's blindness is effective and adds a dimension to the mystery/thriller aspects <more>
of the film. Of course, this handicap is necessary, since a sighted person would have seen what he overhears in the pub, setting-off the drama changing the story's essence. And, it adds to the quality of the story that this factor is not exaggerated or "hokey," and everything surrounding it is logical and believable. There are the two primary co-stars with Johnson, and absent are the greater number of characters surrounding the leads which one would normally expect to find - and the movie is better for this.Van Johnson, who is now 90, in my opinion is underrated as a talent. He had boyish, casual good looks, and came into film as a leading man during a period when as handsome as they were, most leading men always seemed to have a pint of Wildroot or Brilliantine in their hair e.g. Tyrone Power, Flynn, Robert Taylor . He played light comedy, serio-comedy love stories, and serious roles with talented, versatile performances. Like Alan Ladd, although not regarded in this capacity, he'd had experience as a male chorus member/dancer in earlier career - during the era when more of the nightclub/review type of entertainment was present.This film is interesting, with a neat, tight story, engaging characters and performances - and now that it is 50 years since its release, it also provides a nostalgic look at a film from the mid-1950's, with that period's "noir" characteristics.
I saw this movie many years ago and loved it. I was finally able to get a VHS copy. This is one of the few movies I have to watch at least once a year. I am a fan of Van Johnson and I enjoyed him in this movie. He plays an embittered blind writer who is visiting London. He overhears a conversation which sounds like a murder plot. Along with his friend and loyal girlfriend,they try to figure out who is going to be murdered and where. The scene with Van Johnson almost falling from the missing front of an abandoned building is tense. The story moves along well and there are many twists and turns <more>
to make even Hitchcock proud. I wish more movies were made as well as this one.
Van Johnson as blind and quite alone to begin with to investigate what turns out to be more than just a murder (by clanciai)
The title immediately gives you associations to Sherlock Holmes and his mysteries, and this is indeed a detective story and thriller worthy of Conan Doyle's high standards of investigating and solving a case. The mystery here is that no one knows what is going to happen or who is involved in what crime planned. The only thread is an overheard conversation at a pub by a blind man, but Van Johnson is just the man for it. He always makes interesting characters, usually tragic, often pathetic, and here he is blind and the only one to take his own experience seriously. Fortunately he has Cecil <more>
Parker to back him up as his butler, like another Dr Watson, and Vera Miles as a motherly secretary who is more interested in nursing and pleasing and making things easy for him than to humour his impossible investigation. The policemen are also skeptic at first, but when gradually things start to happen to corroborate Van Johnson's absurd ideas, they start reacting, like other Bulstrodes. The intrigue builds up very slowly but very carefully to eventually reach unexpected heights of excitement of a plot thickening to involve murder and gunfire, and all this takes place in foggy London just by the Thames 23 paces from Baker Street with a pub as the starting point of this considearble drama. The music by Leigh Harline adds an important part to the atmosphere with its rather Ralph Vaughan Williams kind of booming dark orchestral moods. It all ultimately amounts to a perfect thriller.
Okay, so in story 23 Paces to Baker Street mayn't be the most original on the block, but it doesn't necessarily need to be to be entertaining. There may be the odd cliché about, however there is much to enjoy namely the suspenseful and Hitchcockian-like story and the telling and suspense of it is very taut too. The film is very well made, with stylish photography and striking production values while I enjoyed the traditional fog used. Henry Hathaway's direction is excellent too, the screenplay is cracking, Van Johnson is very good in an ideal role, Vera Miles is suitably <more>
sympathetic and the support cast are faultless. Overall, very entertaining, well made and suspenseful film and worth repeat viewings. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Watch Your Step-23 Paces to Baker Street A Thriller ***1/2 (by edwagreen)
As the embittered, but successful playwright, Van Johnson gives a wonderful performance. He is followed to England by his ex-secretary, the woman he was supposed to marry, played well by Vera Miles.As is the case with so many films of this genre, Johnson, while in a pub, overhears some sort of plot and the film then becomes devoted to him trying to sort out the information and prevent whatever is going to happen from occurring.His faithful man servant is there with him all the way; of course, there are problems as the London police are quite skeptical of Johnson's plot.How he is able to <more>
sort this out is quite interesting. There are plot twists as we eventually find out that a kidnapping was on the way. You can't believe who is involved in this sinister plot.
Awesome Dark and Rainy Night Mystery (by footy-58199)
My mother was a mystery buff and that rubbed off on me big time. She and I often watched late night mysteries. 23 Paces to Baker Street was one of my all-time favorites. This mystery, based upon the book "Warrant for X" by the great Philip MacDonald who also authored The List of Adrian Messenger, among other great stories . The film version contains some rewritten material but the mystery is delivered intact. Performances by Miles and Johnson are a bit hammy, Cecil Parker more than makes up for this by his brilliant portrayal of Bob, Hammon's long-suffering man-servant. I have <more>
very fond memories of Mama, and every time I see this film, I am transported back in time to that rainy, late night, when we watched it together, trying to guess whodunit.
I just caught this movie on cable and I was drawn into it. This is a very Hitchockian type of thriller. Blind mystery writer overhears kidnapping plot, but of course no one wants to believe him except his 2 good friends, one who wants to marry him. It had a a few chuckles along with suspense. Particulary when playwriters friend/aid is sent on a epic chase through London following a suspect. Playwriter of course nearly gets himself killed trying to figure out the pending kidnapping himself. A few colorful characters a good mystery plot, a lovelorn but smart girlfriend, a bitter playwriter who <more>
no one takes seriously and a very clever twist makes a very good movie. I wish for more nice quiet mysteries like this.
If you have worn out all your Hitchcock videos and need a good way to fill in a few hours on a rainy afternoon, this is the movie for you. A blind play-write over hears a fiendish conversation and is determined to intervene. Armed with his trusty man-servant and beautiful American female companion, this flick delivers on many levels, right up to the twist at the end.They don't seem to make movies like this one anymore. Mores the pity. A must see for all suspense fans, plus a lovely glimpse into 50's London.Scored it as 8/10.
Minor Masterpiece; Relentless Beautiful Noir Mystery Achievement (by silverscreen888)
This I assert is a minor masterpiece of film-making, which has long been underestimated by critics but never by fans. Its images, I suggest, burn themselves into the mind where other cinematic tales soon pale and are forgotten. To mention just a few scenes, the film presents a blind playwright describing the view of the Thames to the fiancé he left behind, a lovely nanny who isn't quite what she seems playing another nanny or perhaps not, a sightless man guiding a lost man through a fog, the same man discovering that a building's front isn't there and a battle in the darkness <more>
between a murderer and victim. The script, adapted from a tense Philip MacDonald novel by Nigel Balchin, was made into what I say is an expensive-looking and relentlessly beautiful film by veteran director Henry Hathway. Henry Ephron produced, and every element was realized seemingly by flawless skill, from understated music by Leigh Harline to the cinematography by Milton R. Krasne, to the art direction by Lyle Wheeler and Maurice Ransford, to the outstanding set decorations by Walter M. Scott and Fay Babock and costumes by Travilla. Add famed Ben Nye as makeup artist and the great Helen Turpin as hair stylist and it would be hard for this film to have gone anything but very right. The cast is headed by lovely young Vera Miles as the love interest and Van Johnson coming near something very fine as the blind playwright, Philip Hannon. Maurice Denham plays a befuddled police Inspector, and Cecil Parker tries hard as Hannon's assistant. Patricia Laffan has her best role since Quo Vadis as the mysterious Miss MacDonald, stealing every scene she is in. Other actors showing to advantage include within this strongly-made and taut fictional noir mystery Liam Redmond, Isobel Elsom, lively Estelle Winwood, Martin Benson, Natalie Norwick, and Terence de Marney. On the grounds of pace, intelligence of dialog and sheer memorability alone, this is a Top Hundred film, and the father to many stories starring blind protagonists from TV's "Longstreet" to "Wait Until Dark". There had been films about a blind central character before; but this Technicolor, attractive and exciting film was the project that brought the idea of such films to the minds of producers and viewers alike as none before had done. The mystery I believe is an interesting one, the characters believable from first to last, and the extraordinary work by Patricia Laffan and Vera Miles raise the film far above its competitors' best. It is clearly much better than "in the Heat of the Night", the obsessive "Vertigo" or even "Key Largo". And its makers accomplish its power without striving consciously to achieve it. Were it not for "Rear Window", the film might be considered the best 50's noir of all. I recommend it unreservedly.