23 Paces to Baker Street (1956)

Approved  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  27 July 1956 (West Germany)
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Reviews: 24 user | 19 critic

Famed American playwright Phillip Hannon is in London making revisions to his play currently running in the West End. He is doing this mundane work rather than write a new play since he has... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Phillip Hannon
Jean Lennox
Cecil Parker ...
Bob Matthews
Miss Alice MacDonald
Maurice Denham ...
Inspector Grovening
Barmaid at The Eagle
Liam Redmond ...
Isobel Elsom ...
Lady Syrett
Martin Benson ...
Natalie Norwick ...
Janet Murch
Terence de Marney ...
Det. Sgt. Luce


Famed American playwright Phillip Hannon is in London making revisions to his play currently running in the West End. He is doing this mundane work rather than write a new play since he has retreated from life following the recent and permanent loss of his sight. That retreat from life includes breaking off his engagement to his former secretary, Jean Lennox, who still loves him. One evening at his local pub, he overhears a conversation between a man and a woman that he knows involves criminal activity, what he surmises to be the kidnapping plot of a child in exactly one week's time. The local police patronizingly dismiss his report as the overactive imagination of a blind writer. With Jean and his faithful manservant Bob Matthews by his side - the former with some reluctance on Phil's part - Phil goes on a search to uncover the plot using what little pieces of information he has at hand, which includes the man's name being Evans, the woman, who is involved under duress, working as a ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The screen's most unusual crime-challenge! See more »


Mystery | Thriller


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Release Date:

27 July 1956 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

23 Schritte zum Abgrund  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (optical prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film maximised 20th Century-Fox's "frozen funds": money earned in England by the studio which, by law, could only be spent there. Hence the extensive location footage is genuinely shot in London, whilst the interiors are all Los Angeles-based. See more »


When Bob tells the photographic assistant "Please, I'm in a hurry" at Barkers, his lips do not match the later-dubbed dialogue. See more »


Phillip Hannon: [blind man] Well how does it look? Is it beautiful?
Bob Matthews: Yes... yes, very beautiful - view, buildings.
Phillip Hannon: [sarcastically] You make it all so vivid, I can almost see it.
See more »


Version of The Nursemaid Who Disappeared (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent performances and story
7 December 2006 | by (Tulsa OK) – See all my reviews

I saw this film a number of years ago, with someone very special, and just before the cineplex facilities effected closing the majority of the conventional, free-standing movie theaters in large cities and small. Just saw it again, after a number of years.

We sat in the balcony, and, having always enjoyed Van Johnson's work, I enjoyed this clever, interesting story even more than if the lead had been someone else.

With all of the elements and twists one finds with Hitchcock, the fact of the principal character's blindness is effective and adds a dimension to the mystery/thriller aspects of the film. (Of course, this handicap is necessary, since a sighted person would have seen what he overhears in the pub, setting-off the drama changing the story's essence. And, it adds to the quality of the story that this factor is not exaggerated or "hokey," and everything surrounding it is logical and believable.)

There are the two primary co-stars with Johnson, and absent are the greater number of characters surrounding the leads which one would normally expect to find - and the movie is better for this.

Van Johnson, who is now 90, in my opinion is underrated as a talent. He had boyish, casual good looks, and came into film as a leading man during a period when as handsome as they were, most leading men always seemed to have a pint of Wildroot or Brilliantine in their hair (e.g. Tyrone Power, Flynn, Robert Taylor).

He played light comedy, serio-comedy love stories, and serious roles with talented, versatile performances. Like Alan Ladd, although not regarded in this capacity, he'd had experience as a male chorus member/dancer in earlier career - during the era when more of the nightclub/review type of entertainment was present.

This film is interesting, with a neat, tight story, engaging characters and performances - and now that it is 50 years since its release, it also provides a nostalgic look at a film from the mid-1950's, with that period's "noir" characteristics.

24 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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