Paul Douglas

14 HOURS (1951)

14 Hours

It’s St. Patrick’s Day in NYC. The cops have their brass polished. Cabbies are prepping themselves for hellish traffic. And on a ledge 15 stories above the ground, Robert Cosick is about to swan dive headfirst to the concrete jungle’s unforgiving bosom. Based on the true story of John Warde, who had downtown NYC enthralled for a half a day in July 1938 as he threatened to jump off the 17th story of the Gotham Hotel, Henry Hathaway’s 14 Hours is a terrific drama that’s as authentically human as it is dramatically gripping. John Warde jumped to his death that day in 1938, but there’s a happier close to 14 Hours, one that had to be inserted following the suicide of a 20th Century-Fox executive’s daughter the day the film premiered. Talk about fantasy reflecting reality. Or the other way around. Whatever.