Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 28, 2017

23 PACES TO BAKER STREET (1956)

Pipping Paramount to the post, 20th/Fox beat Hitchcock’s MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH/’56 into theaters with this similar offering by a month.* Call it ‘The Man Who Knew Not Quite Enough’ with Van Johnson’s depressed, embittered blind American playwright accidentally overhearing some nefarious plot at a London pub (murder?; kidnapping?; robbery?) and turning amateur detective. Aided by mildly comic valet Cecil Parker and ex-assistant/ex-fiancée Vera Miles (glad to see any enthusiasm), if not by skeptical police, he pieces the plot together in spite of his handicap. (BTW: the word ‘blind’ never comes up.) With excellent use of London locations, nicely caught by lenser Milton Krasner (even in a disgraceful Pan-and-Scan DVD of this CinemaScope pic, the only current option), director Henry Hathaway builds a series of wry, suspenseful set pieces and gets an exceptional perf out of Van Johnson, nicely underplaying his handicap. The big climax (more Hitchcock, now from READ WINDOW/’54, and a look ahead toward WAIT UNTIL DARK/’67) ought to play better than it does. Perhaps the cropped frame hurts; more likely the plot’s grown too weedy for maximum effect. But don’t let that keep you from this snappy, well-observed mystery-thriller.

DOUBLE-BILL: *Naturally, the filmmakers couldn’t have seen Hitch’s yet to be released remake, but the original MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH/’34 made for easy pickings.

ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: You'll need to go back to MURDER!/’30 to find a Hitchcock where the lead takes the initiative seeking out a mystery to solve rather than having a threat come their way unbidden, forcing them into defensive detective action.  Probably the most common misunderstanding in Hitchcockian pastiche.

No comments: