Friday, August 26, 2016

23 Paces to Baker Street 1956

     This story takes place in London and it is based on a novel by Philip MacDonald.  Famous American playwright Phillip Hannon has a hit play in the West End.  He is making revisions and he feels this is mundane work.  He has backed away from life after a recent and permanent loss of his vision.  He has also broken off his engagement to his long time secretary Jean Lennox.  She has taken an apartment in London to see if she can help Phillip begin to live again.  Phillip walks 23 paces to a bar on Baker Street alone and his manservant Bob Matthews stops by later to walk home with Phillip.  Bob doesn’t like Phillip walking to the bar alone but Phillip feels he needs some independence.  Phillip overhears a man and woman talking behind him and he knows they are plotting criminal activity.  He thinks it is the kidnapping of a child.  The police say they will investigate but Phillip knows they are only placating him.
     This is interesting and it feels like an Alfred Hitchcock film.  Phillip records on a tape what he heard from the conversation between the man and woman.  He asks the barmaid what they looked like but she can only vaguely describe them.  Since he doesn’t know what they look like it and we don't either it is difficult for the viewer to piece the clues together for the crime.  I didn’t know how to judge who the good and bad people were.  I just knew that Phillip was at a disadvantage and anything could happen to him.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

103 min, Mystery directed by Henry Hathaway with Van Johnson, Vera Miles, Cecil Parker, Patricia Laffan, Maurice Denham, Estelle Winwood, Liam Redmond, Isobel Elsom, Martin Benson, Natalie Norwick.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.7* out of 5* with 36 reviews, TCM Leonard Maltin 3* out of 4*.
Special Note:  Filmed in Barkers of Kensington, Queens Gate Lodge, Kensington Gardens and London, England, UK.  The title is only mentioned once in this film and there is a mistake with Bob putting on Phillip’s scarf twice.

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