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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Two New York City landmarks can be seen in the background in scenes filmed from the ledge: The Woolworth Building and the Old Trinity Church. See more »
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 »
[about the jumper]
Yeah, if I had my M-2, I could knock him off from here - clean!
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Henry Hathaway is the director of Fourteen Hours, which stars Richard Baseheart as Robert Cosick, the young man threatening to jump from a Manhattan skyscraper. Paul Douglas is police officer Charlie Dunnigan who discovers the man and tries to talk him into coming off the ledge. The drama and setting are enhanced by the massive crowd of onlookers who are attracted by the great media circus playing out.
Douglas is supposed to be an older man but in fact was only seven years older than Baseheart, who at 37 played the role of a younger man. Douglas was a highly-competent supporting actor from the fifties who would have gone on to greater roles except for his death in 1959 at age 52. Other supporting actors are Agnes Moorehead as Mrs. Cosick (the mother), Robert Keith (the father), Grace Kelly, Jeffrey Hunter, Martin Gable, Barbara Bel Geddes (the girlfriend) and others. Baseheart was something of a Hollywood idol in his day and died after completing the narration for the opening ceremonies of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
The story captures the skyline of New York, its people and media as the drama gives an air of immediacy to the suspense of whether or not the man will jump from the building. There are a number of close calls as various characters try to persuade the young man to come in off the ledge. It is Saint Patrick's Day and people have gathered in the streets for the parade but find themselves watching the disturbed character high above them. Day becomes night and one couple fall in love during the viewing of the ordeal. We learn about the boy's history, his upbringing, the parents, and the girlfriend.
The media show presents the young man as a sympathetic character with crowds warning him about the police as they move towards him overhead and women calling radio stations with proposals of marriage...a slice of New York at mid-century. The movie is still great entertainment today, if not quite up to the calibre of the movie The Naked City, made three years earlier.
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