7.3/10
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30 user 12 critic

The Tall Target (1951)

Approved | | Adventure, Crime, Drama | 17 August 1951 (USA)
A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Ginny Beaufort
...
Colonel Caleb Jeffers
...
Lance Beaufort
...
Rachel - Slave Maid
Richard Rober ...
Lt. Coulter
...
Stranger
...
Homer Crowley - Train Conductor
...
Mrs. Charlotte Alsop
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Storyline

The historical fact of a possible assassination attempt on the President-Elect Abraham Lincoln makes the movie very interesting. The drama comes from a fictitious New York police sergeant discovering the plot and boarding the last train to Washington, DC, to protect the new president to be. Dick Powell does a very good job using deduction and logic to find who on the train could be conspirators. He is foiled at different times but manages to succeed even when the conspirators have caught him. The movie's action takes place mostly on the train and the effects of travelling are well done. Historically, several states have already seceded from the union and that included Virginia. That's why Lincoln had to travel to Washington, DC, through Maryland, also a slave state. When he was taking his own "Inaugural Train" the plan was to kill Lincoln in Baltimore during a long stop but Lincoln's supporters did some slight of hand to sneak him on board the last train to the capital. Maybe not ... Written by Zack Rinderer

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Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

17 August 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Man on the Train  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1861 the train would have traveled on a number of different short line railroads to get from New York to Washington (the Philadelphia & Trenton; the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore; the Baltimore and Washington, etc.); the Philadelphia, Washington & Baltimore Railroad was not formed until 1902 and it was still in existence (on paper) until 1976. Obviously the filmmakers kept the name consistent to provide continuity and to avoid having to repaint the engine and cars after every few shots. See more »

Quotes

Rachel - Slave Maid: Freedom isn't a thing you should be able to give me, Miss Ginny. Freedom is something I should have been born with.
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Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Arranged by Bronislau Kaper
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User Reviews

 
Fun and very different noir
6 February 2002 | by (L.A.) – See all my reviews

I enjoyed this film a great deal, and what a strange coincidence that the policeman investigating a plot to kill Lincoln is named John Kennedy. Well photographed and directed. Definately not Mann's best film noir, but probably his most unusual. Exciting and recommended.


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