Hostage, The

Date: 1956
Director: Harold Huth
Production Company: Westridge : Douglas Fairbanks Jr. & Company

Stars: Ron Randell, Mary Parker, John Bailey, Carl Jaffé, Anne Blake, Cyril Luckham
Location(s): London, South America



Drama about an American airman who saves the life of the daughter of a South American president after she has been held hostage in London by members of the political party working to prevent the execution of one of their leaders.

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Screen captures and uncredited now shots uploaded by Richard Lovejoy.

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The fictional South American Republic of Santanio is established with a panning shot from the harbour overview.

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It is followed by what looks like stock footage of perhaps South American riots. Does this square still exist? Where is it?

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President Gonzuelo (Carl Jaffé) and his wife (Margaret Diamond) decide that their daughter Rosa (Mary Parker) would be safer to continue her education in London whilst the riots continue. A “journalist” is interviewing Rosa who has to give a concert recital and they leave the apartment together. Unknown location . . . . . something "Court"

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She is immediately kidnapped. The Presidential Palace where the threat to her life is delivered. Looks like a stock photograph.

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Her kidnap soon becomes news. Which Underground station is this? Established by Ray, given the background building, this is Holborn tube station on Kingsway, London WC2

Naturally the police have to become involved. It looks like a genuine sign.

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Yes, it's genuine, the brickwork and the fixing points are all in place.

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As a ploy, the kidnappers issue a statement that Rosa has been killed and thrown out of a plane into the sea. G-AJKP (Miles M.57 Aerovan lV operated at the time by Meridian Airways) taking off from Ramsgate Airport.

The kidnapped Rosa is taken to the clinic of Doctor Main (John Bailey) who organized the “air drop”. 5 Lansdowne Road, London W11

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Now a gated community.

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Mrs Steen (Anne Blake) the “journalist”, who is a fellow compatriot of Doctor Main, arranges to meet with Trailer (Ron Randell), who piloted the plane, at his apartment. Ray Glenister has cracked this one, "The Lodge" 23 Kensington Park Gardens, London W11.

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He is closely followed by an undercover policeman. By virtue of Capture 9 this Kensington Park Gardens, London W11 looking east.

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Trailer is knocked unconscious and one of his assailants steals his clothes to act as a decoy to the policeman. Is that a church in the background? Ray concludes this location with Kensington Park Gardens, London W11 looking towards Ladbroke Grove and St. John's, Notting Hill.

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The disappearance of pilot Trailer following a police interview hits the press. Looks like the same newspaper vendors as in Capture 5. Yes, says Ray, it is the same vendor outside Holborn tube station.

Time ticks away to the execution of the revolutionary and the “end” of his daughter and now Trailer. The face of “Big Ben” and the Boudica statue.

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Now that is over scaffolded even by Reelstreets standards!

The P.O. Radio Detection Service is called in to establish unusual communications to Santanio. 2 Lansdowne Road, London W11

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I am glad I took this shot while the trees were bare.

It moves around the streets of London. St. John’s Gardens towards Ladbroke Grove.

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They could even be the same trees.

Meanwhile Dr. Main continues to send Morse code messages. At the end of this pan a “Radio Ham”, starts to pick up the message and believes that he has found what the police are asking for. Canal View, London NW1 Also seen in "Train of Events" and "Flame in the Streets". Now know as Reachview Close.

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"The Constitution" pub on St Pancras Way, London NW1 survives the changes.

The radio detector van continues its travels. St. John’s Gardens, London W11 with St. John’s Church in the background. This road and the surrounding streets also appear in 'Seven Days to Noon', 'Otley', 'Omen III: The Final Conflict', 'The Blue Lamp', 'Steptoe and Son', 'The Passenger' and 'Hennessy'.

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A very much unchanged area.

Jim Barnes (John Rutland) the “Radio Ham” gets grief from his wife for not going to bed, but the radio van still moves around (in daylight!). Lansdowne Walk looking towards Clarendon Road, London W11

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Just enough room for a detector van to get through!

The President signs the execution warrant……. there is only an hour to go. Houses of Parliament from Lambeth Bridge. A similar view seen in "The Tunnel".

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Considerably more river activity these days.

Tension grows at Scotland Yard as they fail to locate the Presidents daughter. Scotland Yard, Derby Gate, London SW1

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At least looking upwards one cannot see the hive of development activity going on.

Squad cars are put into position. Cannon Street junction with Queen Victoria Street, London EC4

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Don't be misled into thinking that it is always this quiet.

Cannon Street looking towards St. Paul’s Cathedral

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62 years on.

Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner.

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A significantly changed road layout

Hyde Park Corner looking towards Hyde Park Corner Screen.

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A clearer view of Apsley House and the Royal Artillery Memorial to the right.

The logical thinking of Sgt. Reid (James Liggat) suggests that perhaps they should be watching places of execution in London as a likely spot for Rosa to be killed. Tower of London, Tower Hill, London EC3

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A clearer view of the Tower of London complex now that all the greenery has been cleared.

Marble Arch, London W1

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A very temporary break in the traffic.

A passer by sees Rosa being bungled into a car. 5 Lansdowne Road, London W11

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Now part of a gated community.

The detector van continues its travels. Lansdowne Walk, London W11

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Considerably smartened up and extended.

Mrs Steen tells Doctor Main to stop sending as a detector van passes by the house. The view across Lansdowne Road to No 12

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As seen in Capture 27 it is no longer possible to enter the grounds of the house.

The passer-by happens to find a policeman and reports what he has seen at No 5. The side of No 7 Lansdowne Road in Lansdown Walk.

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There were no policemen hanging around when I was there.

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When he returns to the house he sees it on fire with Mrs Steen and the Doctor escaping hoping to have destroyed all the evidence. He telephones the fire brigade who make their way, while Trailer remains inside.

Being the hero of the piece Trailer jumps . . . .

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Now a very desirable residence.

. . . . . just as the fire engines approaches down Lansdowne Walk . . . .

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Still room for a fire engine despite all the parking.

. . . . . and pulls up at the house. But it is not the engine in Capture 31, maybe it was the one with the camera!

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They would now have to park up outside the house.

Two members of the conspirators party stand by in preparation to hang Rosa outside the Santanio embassy in London. Gilston Road, London SW10

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Certainly some extending has gone on if not "in fill" as well.

They approach the embassy. The Boltons looking towards Tregunter Road, London SW10

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The junction has been remodelled as a result of a one-way system.

Dr Main arrives with Mrs Steen to distract the policeman. Tregunter Road.

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You would have to walk just as confidently across the road today.

Having satisfied himself about the genuineness of the working party the policeman returns to his post. The Boltons, London SW10.

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How did we manage without all those white lines?

With the lift platform being reported stolen the police and Trailer hastily make their way to the embassy. Gilston Road about to turn into Tregunter Road, London SW10

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There was plenty of other fast moving traffic when I was there but no police cars.

All available squad cars are ordered to make their way. Piccadilly Circus, London W1.

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The same shot can now be taken from the pavement.

Parliament Square approaching St. Margaret's Church.

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The background remains the same.

Belgrave Square, London SW1

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A pity about that car being plugged in!

The Inspector and his team with Trailer close in. Priory Walk, London SW10.

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That same drain cover is in place.

They arrive in time. The Boltons, London SW10.

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The extended pavement is all part of the one way system.

A squad car, by chance, heads off Mrs Steen’s escape. Tregunter Road, London SW10.

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There were a couple of similar junction "incidents" whilst I was there.

Trailer and the Inspector escort Rosa to the embassy. 14 The Boltons, London SW10.

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More ornate gates are now called for.