23 Paces to Baker Street (Fox Cinema Archives)
Fox Cinema Archives // Unrated // $19.98 // March 1, 2013
Review by Paul Mavis | posted March 11, 2013
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Loyal readers with way too much time on your hands, gird your loins for the shortest review I've ever written....

20th Century-Fox's Cinema Archives vault of hard-to-find cult and library titles has released 23 Paces to Baker Street, the 1956 British mystery thriller from screenwriter Nigel Balchin and action director Henry Hathaway, starring Van Johnson, Vera Miles, Cecil Parker, Estelle Winwood, and Liam Redwood. Although I've never seen it, 23 Paces to Baker Street, shot in CinemaScope on location in London, looks exactly like the kind of movie I enjoy. Too bad I didn't watch more than two minutes of it, though, because Fox has released this in a grainy, muddy, blown-out, softly-focused 1.33:1 pan-and-scan botch that completely undermines the whole point of their Cinema Archives concept. Whether or not they did this deliberately, or because this is the only print that was available, is beside the point: the era of asking collectors to go along with a pan-and-scan version of a widescreen movie is long over (collectors are the only people buying a title like this; it's manufactured on-demand, for god's sake). So no need to review the movie itself. Bad move, Fox. Skip this release of 23 Paces to Baker Street.


Paul Mavis is an internationally published film and television historian, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, and the author of The Espionage Filmography.



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