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Fourteen Hours (1951)

An unhappy man threatens suicide by standing on the ledge of a high-rise building for 14 hours.

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(screenplay), (story)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Police Ofcr. Charlie Dunnigan
...
Robert Cosick
...
Virginia Foster
...
Ruth
...
Christine Hill Cosick
...
Paul E. Cosick
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Deputy Police Chief Moskar (as Howard da Silva)
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Danny Klempner
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Dr. Strauss
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Mrs. Louise Ann Fuller
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Room Service Waiter
...
Police Sgt. Farley
...
Police Sgt. Boyle
Donald Randolph ...
Dr. Benson
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Storyline

A young man, morally destroyed by his parents not loving him and by the fear of being not capable to make his girlfriend happy, rises on the ledge of a building with the intention of committing suicide. A policeman makes every effort to argue him out of that. Written by Tiziana Totaro <susannkey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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A new element in screen suspense See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

20 May 1951 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

14 Hours  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is based on a real life incident which happened July 26, 1938 in New York City. John W. Warde, 26 years of age, leaped seventeen floors to his death from the ledge outside a room in the Hotel Gotham. See more »

Goofs

Stock rear projection footage of normally-moving motor traffic while Cosick is on ledge is not consistent with huge traffic jam shown in area surrounding hotel where he is threatening suicide leap. See more »

Quotes

Deputy Chief Moskar: [Inquiring about Cosick's hysterical mother] What goes with her anyway?
Dr. Strauss: [Disgusted] She's a case, just like the boy!
See more »

Connections

Version of The 20th Century-Fox Hour: Man on the Ledge (1955) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Huge and familiar cast can't rescue mechanical jumper-on-a-ledge drama
13 October 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

On St. Patrick's Day, Richard Basehart orders a room-service breakfast in a Manhattan hotel. He isn't very hungry, though. While the waiter fumbles for change, Basehart scrambles out onto the window ledge where he'll spend the next 14 hours threatening to jump. That it's St. Patrick's Day has little to do with much of anything except to make us wonder how he could light his cigarettes, using matches no less, several stories up in the air in a midtown canyon on March 17.

Alerted by a hair-raising shriek from a woman across the way, traffic cop Paul Douglas is the first on the scene. He strikes a rapport with Basehart and tries to talk him down (or rather in), but when the bumbling police arrive in force, under Howard Da Silva's command, he's dismissed. But Basehart wants him back. As the 14 hours tick by, an assortment of people traipse in and out of his room: his shrew of a mother (Agnes Moorehead), his defeated father (Robert Keith), his former fiancee (Barbara Bel Geddes).

Down in the street and in the surrounding buildings things happen, too: cabbies make book on when he'll jump, a young couple meets and falls in love. Grace Kelly's screen debut circles the plot like a remote satellite: she's on her way to finalize her divorce but, caught up in the drama of the would-be jumper, changes her mind. (Why that plot strand didn't end up on the cutting room floor remains a puzzle.) Meanwhile (as in Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole/The Big Carnival of the same year), a three-ring media circus gets underway.

There's enough going on in Henry Hathaway's movie to keep you watching, but your heart stays well south of your throat. The big-town microcosm stays strictly by the numbers and resolutely conventional. There are plenty of characters, but not much glue to stick them together. (Screenwriter John Paxon's best days – Murder My Sweet, Cornered, Crossfire – were behind him.)

Basehart made something of a speciality of the clean-cut misfit (He Walked by Night, Tension) but he never gnaws close to the root of his crisis – it wasn't written for him. Bel Geddes, Moorehead and especially Kelly try to cope with the sketched-in roles they're given. That leaves the ever reliable and amiable Douglas to bring some warmth and characterization to this impersonal and mechanical movie. He succeeds, even though the perverse Paxon, who omits the obligatory sequence when the crowd starts chanting `Jump! Jump! Jump!,' gives the line to Douglas instead. And of course, according to the mainstream logic of the screenplay, that kick in the pants is just what Basehart needed, as though he were an unruly kid screaming for attention.


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