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23 Paces to Baker Street (1956)

Van Johnson , Vera Miles , Henry Hathaway  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Price: $19.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Van Johnson, Vera Miles, Cecil Park
  • Directors: Henry Hathaway
  • Writers: Nigel Balchin
  • Producers: Henry Ephron
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  • DVD Release Date: March 1, 2013
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,297 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

When a blind man overhears a kidnapping plot, the only thing more difficult than foiling it is getting someone to believe him. Without the help of friends or the authorities, the man, along with his fiancé, pieces together the clues of the mystery, all of which are sound. Presented in 4:3 pan and scan using the highest quality source material available.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fox pan and scan! March 2, 2013
By Hank
This great Cinemascope film is another issue from Fox in pan and scan. Why they keep doing this is of course beyond
any one's comprehension.
I thankfully have Fox's official Spanish release in all its 2.35 widescreen glory.
As I have remarked in previous reviews, why do Fox keep on issuing 2.35 films in 1.33 pan and scan?
The 5 stars are of course for the film itself.
I have just found out that it has been issued in the U.K. in 2.35 ratio and is available from This is obviously the one to buy.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Suspense Film Noir. April 5, 2010
Excellent Hitchcockian mystery thriller about an emotionally volatile & embittered mystery writer (Van Johnson) who is blind and overhears a partial conversation he believes is related to the planning of a kidnapping. Due to the skepticism of the authorities he becomes obsessed with trying to solve the case by himself. Complicated characters with an unconventional villian and targeted victim. Filmed on location there is a wonderful 1950s London ambience to the picture.
Great cast and exciting entertainment. Directed by film noir master Henry Hathaway--also underrated.

"23 Paces To Baker Street" is the perfect film to watch on a long rainy afternoon, so pour yourself a cup of tea (or whatever) and enjoy this neglected gem.

Sorry, but I cannot vouch for the print quality of this film. Buyer beware.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More pan & scan awfulness from News Corporation March 5, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I can't believe I fell for it again-- maybe because I love anything Van Johnson and Vera Miles are in and I've wanted this movie for years. It's nice of News Corporation (multimedia conglomerate owner of the proud 20th Century Fox film library) to include the original poster art-- with "CinemaScope" blaring across the cover. But push play and sure enough it's Pan & Scan. Absolutely no respect for its customers, after all the complaints about previous DVD issues in this series. They should be boycotted. But I want these movies so badly I'll probably buy pre-widescreen era releases-- I just refuse to buy anything that's widescreen era from this joke of a company. Long live Warner Archive-- and News Corp can go to you know where.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another FOX screw up!!! March 5, 2013
FYI, This was broadcast on TCM earlier in the year and was also shown PAN & SCAN so you know if TCM cannot get a scope print, then all we have is the darn PAN & SCAN version, which is a shame. What does FOX do with their SCOPE negatives of these films? It's like all they have are the older TV prints.
Another excellent FOX film is "Prince of Players", about the Booth family, but every time it is shown on FMC it is the PAN & SCAN version! Hope they release a Region 2 of this film in SCOPE.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why Pan & Scan? BUMMER! March 4, 2013
I want to let everyone who is interested in this excellent film
to know that I just called 20th Century Fox (1. 888. 223. 4369)
and was told this film will be released in widescreen. I spoke to
a young woman who said, according to her information, it will not
be released in pan & scan. I am not all that sure that we can take
that as fact, but that's what she told me.

I just had it confirmed today (3/5/13) that this great film will
be released in pan & scan. I urge everyone who is angry to call Fox:
1. 888. 223. 4369 Complain to Fox so they will re-consider
this terrible policy. They keep shooting themselves in the foot!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
23 PACES TO BAKER STREET (1956) is a tour-de-force for both director Henry Hathaway and star Van Johnson. (Not forgetting the original novel by great prolific writer Philip MacDonald.) This is what I like to call "near-noir", and pretty darned good for all that. It was ignored, I think, because it came out the same year as Ford's THE SEARCHERS.

Philip Hannon (Johnson) is a blind WWII vet living in London. As a writer, he lives well but he is angry and bitter about losing his sight in the war. Just for those characteristics alone he speaks to every generation, but he shows a fierce independence and pluck that goes beyond all that. He has learned not to let anyone else know he's blind. All he needs is a regular walking stick, which he uses for echolocation. He has the ears of a dog and Einstein's brain.

In fact he was somewhat inspired by real-life 19th century traveler Lieutenant James Holman of the Royal Navy, known as the "Blind Traveller". Holman's bio, A SENSE OF THE WORLD (vid. my review) always reminds me of 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET, and vice-versa. The title refers to Hannon's knowledge of London; he helps a stranger who has lost his glasses, stops at a certain street and tells the man, "From here it's exactly 23 paces to Baker Street." The man never suspects Hannon can't see.

His intrepid and extremely humorous butler, Bob (Cecil Parker) is a perfect complement to Hannon - and here I see the genesis of all television detectives. Hannon must also balance his relationship with semi-girlfriend Jean (Vera Miles). A revelatory scene shows just what blindness means when Jean inadvertently shuts a balcony door. When Hannon gets upset and runs right into it, he screams horribly about people changing things in his environment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BAD NEWS FOR WIDESCREEN COLLECTORS!!! November 13, 2010
FOX HOME VIDEO has got to be kidding releasing WIDESCREEN films in the pan and scan (fullscreen) version...most TVs now are widescreen and every home video distributor releases films in their original WIDESCREEN format...even the on demand films released by Warner Home Video...If I wanted the fullscreen version I would have taped it off of Fox Movie Channel...VERY BAD NEWS for the consumers who buy these films...stay away from FOX CINEMA ARCHIVES COLLECTION!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Blind author takes on kidnappers
A very enjoyable suspense story only slightly dated. Van Johnson plays a blind author who overhears plans for a kidnapping and tries to investigate himself. Read more
Published 3 days ago by sarobet
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great old movie and good service
Published 2 months ago by Betty
4.0 out of 5 stars Van Johnson Movies are the Tops.
My husband and I love Van Johnson movies. I can always count on it to be a good movie if he is in it.
Published 4 months ago by Margaret Harmon
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic for all time.
A pleasure to see an old movie that fascinated me in my youth. It's great that a lot of these old classics are being re-released in DVD
Published 5 months ago by Lawrence R C Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! TERRIFIC MOVIE
Published 7 months ago by jessie e. benthin
1.0 out of 5 stars flawed disc
This disc doesn't play all the way through. It begins okay and then freezes and will not play. I am thoroughly disappointed because this is a really good movie.
Published 9 months ago by Mary
1.0 out of 5 stars A Pox on Fox!! Pan and Scan Again!! Really?
Five stars for the film. Zero stars for Pan and Scan.

I was excited to see that one of my favorite films was finally released on DVD. I searched for it on Amazon. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Classic Movie Fan
1.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor!
Movie is as good as I remember...suspenseful, surprising and well cast. The problem lies with the deceitful way it is produced and marketed...PAN & SCAN!!! Read more
Published 12 months ago by quartertothree
4.0 out of 5 stars oldie and goodie
Surprising movie with lots of twists and turns. Elder aunt requested it with fond memories. We had a great night watching it with her. Very fun to discuss all the excitement. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Timothy J. Gannon
5.0 out of 5 stars Found after a long search
I've been looking for this title on DVD for many years, having seen it onTV several decades ago. The HItchcockian twist makes it very interesting. Read more
Published 16 months ago by N. Richie
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