23 Paces to Baker Street [Import]
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When a blind man overhears a kidnapping plot, the only thing more difficult than foiling it is getting someone to believe him. Without the help of friends or the authorities, the man, along with his fianc?, pieces together the clues of the mystery, all of which are sound.
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The story has changed a tad form the book. Van Johnson plays a blind playwright (they never say how he got blinded) At first being blind seems like a gimmick but you soon get swept up in the film and the great acting by Van Johnson and it seems perfectly normal.
Phillip Hannon (Van Johnson) over hears two people plotting something sinister but being blind he does not know what they look like. He tells the authorities but they fluff him off. So with the help of his man Bob Matthews (Cecil Parker) and his ex-betrothed Jean Lennox (Vera Miles) they track down their only lead Miss Alice MacDonald (Patricia Laffan who played Devil Girl From Mars"). We watch as Phil has to use his skills to find the plotters before it is too late.
I watch this movie about once a month like clockwork. I know most of the dialog by heart. At one point Phil tells Bob to call Miss Lennox a taxi; I cannot help myself and say "Miss Lennox you are a taxi".
All kidding aside you will also find yourself watching it again and again for the nuances and some things that seem missing as if they cut something out here and there.
Warrant For X (An Anthony Gethryn Mystery)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
any one's comprehension.
I thankfully have Fox's official Spanish release in all its 2.35 widescreen glory.
As I have remarked in previous reviews, why do Fox keep on issuing 2.35 films in 1.33 pan and scan?
The 5 stars are of course for the film itself.
I have just found out that it has been issued in the U.K. in 2.35 ratio and is available from
Amazon.co.uk This is obviously the one to buy.
Great cast and exciting entertainment. Directed by film noir master Henry Hathaway--also underrated.
"23 Paces To Baker Street" is the perfect film to watch on a long rainy afternoon, so pour yourself a cup of tea (or whatever) and enjoy this neglected gem.
Sorry, but I cannot vouch for the print quality of this film. Buyer beware.
to know that I just called 20th Century Fox (1. 888. 223. 4369)
and was told this film will be released in widescreen. I spoke to
a young woman who said, according to her information, it will not
be released in pan & scan. I am not all that sure that we can take
that as fact, but that's what she told me.
I just had it confirmed today (3/5/13) that this great film will
be released in pan & scan. I urge everyone who is angry to call Fox:
1. 888. 223. 4369 Complain to Fox so they will re-consider
this terrible policy. They keep shooting themselves in the foot!
In fact he was somewhat inspired by real-life 19th century traveler Lieutenant James Holman of the Royal Navy, known as the "Blind Traveller". Holman's bio, A SENSE OF THE WORLD (vid. my review) always reminds me of 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET, and vice-versa. The title refers to Hannon's knowledge of London; he helps a stranger who has lost his glasses, stops at a certain street and tells the man, "From here it's exactly 23 paces to Baker Street." The man never suspects Hannon can't see. His intrepid and extremely humorous butler, Bob (Cecil Parker) is a perfect complement to Hannon - and here I see the genesis of certain television detectives. Hannon must also balance his relationship with semi-girlfriend Jean (Vera Miles). A revelatory scene shows just what blindness means when Jean inadvertently shuts a balcony door. When Hannon gets upset and runs right into it, he screams horribly about people changing things in his environment.
One day Hannon overhears a kidnapping plot at his favorite restaurant (owned by the delightful and slightly wonky-looking Immortal, Estelle Winwood). Ultimately, in a true "Ironside" moment, Hannon lures the kidnapper-murderer to his apartment, which is pitch dark. This means nothing to Hannon - darkness is his ally - and with his dozens of dictaphones he frightens the murderer into submission. This is why I believe 23 PACES inspired the Japanese film series ZATOICHI, the blind masseur who often traps his enemies in the dark, and says, "Darkness is my friend."
You will love 23 PACES, guaranteed, and wonder why this beautiful, evenly-paced film was such a sleeper. It'll astonish you how inspired it really is. I always say this is Van Johnson's 2nd greatest performance of his career, with his greatest being that of the reporter in STATE OF THE UNION.