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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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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

The names of all the stations mentioned in the film on the line as the train travels south out of New York would be familiar to a traveler on the modern Northeast Corridor as they are still used by Amtrak, except for Darby Junction which is a now a station on the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's Wilmington/Newark regional rail line. Their placement in the film is geographically accurate - Darby Junction would have been the first place the train could have stopped south of Philadelphia. See more »

Quotes

Rachel - Slave Maid: I'm afraid for him.
John Kennedy: You should be. Anyone who fires at Lincoln tomorrow won't last five minutes.
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Soundtracks

Rally Round the Flag
(uncredited)
Music by William B. Bradbury
Arranged by Bronislau Kaper
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User Reviews

A Hidden Treasure Don't Miss This Film
17 November 2006 | by (Fords,NJ) – See all my reviews

Okay this film the Tall Target may not be historically accurate but it is based on a situation that occurred on the Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Train.. It is an excellent movie brilliantly directed by Anthony Mann It is a film that was way ahead of its time.. Dick Powell stars and gives an outstanding performance Differrent than most of his film noir films of that era.. I was watching TCM @1am this morning (insomnia was setting in) when their brilliant host Robert Osborne announced and described this unusual film that most people had never seen or heard of! But he recommended & once again Osborne was correct. Wonderful powerful film made years before Suddenly and a decade or so before The Manchurian Candidate (other films dealing with presidential assassinations)The writers & director took an incident from history and created a fictionalized yet believable and riveting film .Is great definitely worth seeing & seeing a very young Ruby Dee in a small but important role as a loyal but concerned 'slave" also Leif Ericson and Barbara Billingsly (Beavers mom) have minor but important roles..& Adolphe Menjou is outstanding and quite believable a corrupt military official Powell is really good in this film A great surprise Don't Miss, another hidden gem revealed from the TCM film library.Thank you Ted Turner and Robert Osborne


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