23 Paces to Baker Street

1956

Henry Hathaway
Director
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Studio

Blind writer overhears two people in pub plotting to kidnap a child. But how to identify the potential kidnappers?

Decent but dumbed down and over-Americanized adaptation of Philip MacDonald's excellent 1938 novel Warrant for X, previously filmed in 1939 as The Nursemaid Who Disappeared. Making the main character blind is a cheap ploy that the novel did not need to resort to. The pacing is also very slow, which makes it a bit of a slog, as does each scene of obnoxious Yank Johnson talking down to British character actors (this is one of those films where all the police are dolts, but the hero is brilliant, because the scriptwriter was lazy). Good supporting cast, though, and the bones of MacDonald's novel make a decent framework to hang a suspenseful story on, however muddled the final results.

Note: The scene(s) with the Da Mestres appear to have been cut, or are at least not present in the exisiting print.

-Dave W.


23 Paces to Baker Street
18th May 1956
Cinema

Not Rated

103 mins
2.55:1




"
Van Johnson
Phillip Hannon
Vera Miles
Jean Lennox
Cecil Parker
Bob Matthews
Patricia Laffan
Alice MacDonald
Maurice Denham
Inspector Grovening
Estelle Winwood
Barmaid
Liam Redmond
Joe Murch
Isobel Elsom
Lady Syrett
Martin Benson
Pillings
Natalie Norwick
Janet Murch
Terence De Marney
Detective Sergeant Luce
Unknown 43
Pinball Player
Lucie Lancaster
Miss Marston
Ashley Cowan
Lift Operator
Yorke Sherwood
Cabby
George Roderick
Man Leaving Department Store
Charles Stanley
Photographer Outside Department Store
Maggie Rennie
Smart Cleaner Saleslady
Pat Hagan
Photographic Dept. Customer
Walter Horsbrugh
Photographic Dept. Clerk
Michael Trubshawe
Shop Customer in Photograph
Queenie Leonard
Elsie Schuyler
Ben Wright
Simmons - Hotel Reception Clerk
Reginald Sheffield
Man Lost In Fog
Charles Keane
Policeman in Abandoned Building
(I think)
Unknown 43
PIllings' Confederate
Robert Raglan
Police Inspector
Manny Michael
Policeman
Janice Kane
Miss Da Mestre
(scene cut?)
Phyllis Montefiore
Mrs. Da Mestre
(scene cut?)
Arthur Gomez
Mr. Da Mestre
(scene cut?)
Robin Alalouf
Bellboy
Fred Griffiths
Taxi Driver
Stuart Saunders
Policeman
Leslie Sketchley
Policeman
Neil Wilson
Policeman
Tower Bridge
Itself

Dave Wright: Screencaps & Notes