23 Paces to Baker Street

Date: 1956
Director: Henry Hathaway
Production Company: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Stars: Cecil Parker, Van Johnson, Vera Miles, Maurice Denham, Patricia Laffan
Location(s): London

Region(s):

Storyline:

A blind playwright searches for kidnappers after overhearing their plot.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson from source material provided by John Tunstill.

 

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If you have any information regarding this film, any of the stills, or even better, some NOW shots please contact us.


  • 'Now' required

The film opens with a panoramic view of the River Thames. St. Paul's cathedral stands in the top left as Waterloo Bridge crosses the river in the bottom of the image. From the Savoy Hotel, also the view that Jennie saw in Bitter Harvest.

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As tugs pull their barges up the river, the sunset turns the smog laden sky orange.

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The camera continues to pan bringing the Royal Festival Hall and Hungerford Bridge into view.

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Through the haze can be seen Westminster and Lambeth Bridges spanning the Thames.

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Phillip Hannon (Van Johnson) walks onto the balcony of his apartment with his estranged fiancée Jean Lennox (Vera Miles). The Houses of Parliament and Victoria Embankment occupy the left of the picture.

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Jean and the butler, Matthews, look down from the apartment as Hannon leaves. Portland Place at the junction with Weymouth Street in W1 with the statue of Sir George Stuart White centre.

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The blind playwright visits The Eagle public house where he overhears part of a conversation that he believes is a plan for the kidnapping of a child. The Mason's Arms at the corner of Upper Porchester Street and Titchborne Street in W2. The location has been redeveloped and Upper Porchester Street has been renamed as Norfolk Crescent but the buildings in the left background survive.

Jean goes to see Inspector Grovening after the police do not take Hannon's suspicions seriously. Paddington Green Police Station on Harrow Road W2 which stood opposite Dudley Street.

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This is the same location now. (PW)

  • 'Now' required

More clues are revealed but the Inspector still doesn't help, thinking that Hannon's vivid imagination is to blame. The building was demolished in 1965 to make way for the Westway but was also seen in 'The Challenge' and 'The Blue Lamp'.

Lady Syrett is visited by Hannon and Matthews in an effort to find the intended victim of the kidnapping and the two are led to nursemaid Janet Murch and the Unity Domestic Bureau. Wilton Crescent, London SW1.

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A spot on comparison by Peter.

Jean visits the bureau where Mr. Pillings advises that Janet Murch isn't available. Queen Victoria Street at the junction with New Bridge Street in London EC4, now replaced by a rebuilt Blackfriars railway station. However, The Black Friar pub to the left of centre still stands.

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And Peter took this shot of the location, complete with reflections in the walls of Blackfriars.

Alice MacDonald (Patricia Laffan) arrives from the Bureau to see Jean at Hannon's apartment. Facing Park Crescent on Portland Place W1.

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Usual clutter for a RS Now shot. (RL)

When Alice departs, Bob Matthews (Cecil Parker) is sent to follow. Looking out onto Portland Place.

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No access to the property now unless "you know" somebody, but taken from the doorstep. (RL)

  • 'Now' required

The nursemaid boards a number 73 bus.

The bus plies its route as Matthews follows in a taxi. Kensington Road in SW7 with Queen's Gate on the left.

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The same junction now by our ever prolific Peter. 4/11/14

Kensington High Street at the junction with Palace Avenue.

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Peter found new buildings to the right.

Kensington High Street approaching the junction with Kensington Palace Gardens in W8. The location was seen in 'Time is My Enemy'.

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Peter provides a 'rainy day' comparison.

Alice alights from the bus and enters a department store. The junction of Kensington High Street and Kensington Church Street in W8 with St. Mary Abbots church prominent in the left background.

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The trees are free of leaves for a good view in this comparison by Peter.

Matthews' taxi draws up and he follows Alice into Barkers on Kensington High Street. The store closed in 2006.

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About here. SJ

After purchasing a camera, Matthews prepares to take Alice's photograph. The entrance to Barkers on Kensington High Street.

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The height of a depressing scene. SJ

Leaving Jean to be driven home by Matthews, Hannon arrives back at his apartment after a dead end is reached.

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The carpet has certainly gone. (RL)

A newspaper van approaches. Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery in the background and the entrance of the former Trafalgar Square Underground station to the left.

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Through the bare trees is the same National Gallery in this image from Peter.

The vendor picks up the papers carrying an advertisement for Janet Murch to contact Hannon.

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Trafalgar Square in WC2 by Peter.

Janet Murch (Natalie Norwick) approaches a call box to phone Hannon before a stranger appears and murders her. Looking towards Tower Bridge, and the Anchor Brewhouse beyond from near the Tower Pier on Great Tower Hill, now Three Quays Walk, in EC3.

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The same view by Peter.

  • 'Now' required

The Eagle's Barmaid (Estelle Winwood) watches as Hannon is led away by Joe. The former Mason's Arms at 18 Titchborne Street W2, now replaced with The Water Gardens. The redevelopment of the area is seen in 'Bedazzled' from 1967.

Posing as Janet's father, Joe (Liam Redmond) leads the blind man into a bombed building where he is left to perish by falling from an upper floor.

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Another jewel from Jules (Ballantyne), 44 Prince's Gate, London SW7 who supports with this Google Earth extract until a genuine now shot can be provided. (RL)

The day after Hannon is found and saved by Matthews, a nursemaid wheels a pushchair into the park. Facing Hyde Park's Queen's Gate on Kensington Road SW7.

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Peter found a myriad of traffic lights replacing the zebra crossing.

After entering the park, the nursemaid turns onto a private pathway.

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Double checking the location, Peter took this shot of the same spot.

The camera swings round to bring the Albert Memorial into view. A closer view of the memorial is seen in ‘Jubilee’, ‘30 is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia’ and 'The Million Pound Note'.

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A lovely autumnal shot from Peter.

When more clues are pieced together, Hannon, Jean and the Inspector arrive outside Mrs. Da Mestres' house. Kensington Road, London SW7.

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This must've been taken on a crane just in front of the tree. Forgot my crane. SJ

When a scream is heard, Hannon and Jean get out of the car as Inspector Grovening appears.

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The same location now by Peter.

The police leave to search the park for the Da Mestres' disabled daughter. Kensington Road with Queen's Gate to the right in London SW7.

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And Peter sent this last comparison.

20i