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The Narrow Margin (1952)

Approved  |   |  Film-Noir, Thriller  |  4 May 1952 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,485 users  
Reviews: 74 user | 52 critic

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

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Writers:

(screen play), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Narrow Margin (1952)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Gordon Gebert ...
Queenie Leonard ...
Mrs. Troll
...
Peter Virgo ...
Densel
...
Paul Maxey ...
Harry Harvey ...
Train Conductor
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Storyline

When a mobsters wife decides to testify against his evil deeds she goes undercover to avoid being killed. Now that he's coming to trial she has to be escourted across country via train in order to testify. Cop Walter Brown and his partner are assigned the task, but the mob are on their trail. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

NIGHT TRAIN WEST - LOADED WITH SUSPENSE! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 May 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Target  »

Box Office

Budget:

$188,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed in 1950, not released until 1952. According to director Richard Fleischer, when the film was finished RKO Pictures owner Howard Hughes heard good things about it and ordered that a copy of it be delivered to him so he could screen it in his private projection room. The film stayed in the projection room for more than a year, apparently because the eccentric Hughes forgot about it. See more »

Goofs

There are palm trees at the Denver train station. See more »

Quotes

Walter Brown: You're a pretty good judge of crooks, Mrs. Neall; the only place you slip up is with cops. I turned the deal down.
Mrs. Neall: Then you're a bigger idiot than I thought! When are you going to get it through your square head that this is big business? And we're right in the middle.
Walter Brown: Meaning you'd like to sell out?
Mrs. Neall: With pleasure and profit, and so would you. What are the odds if we don't? I sing my song for the grand jury, and spend the rest of my life dodging bullets - -if I'm lucky! - -while you grow old ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Remade as Narrow Margin (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

"...Use Your Own Sink"
3 May 1999 | by (Preston, CT.) – See all my reviews

Charles McGraw plays edgy cop Walter Brown. His job is to protect a dead racketeer's wife, Mrs Neil (Marie Windsor) from the mob. She's a key witness in a grand jury probe, and also has a payoff list linking gang members to the LAPD. Most of the film's action takes place on board the train taking Brown and Neil to Los Angeles, where she will testify.In Mrs. Neil, played to perfection by Windsor, the queen of B movies, the tough talking, wise-cracking Brown meets his match. On the way to meet her, he glibly tells his partner, Gus Forbes that "She's the sixty cent special. Cheap. Flashy. Sticky poison under the gravy." When he and Forbes, both from Los Angeles, first meet her, she says, "How nice. How Los Angeles." Then looking Brown up and down, she snarls, "Sunburn wear off on the way?" My favorite wisecrack occurs after Brown has finally had enough of her wise remarks and lashes out, "You make me sick to my stomach." Her retaliation is a gem: "Well, use your own sink." Unlike the banter between Nick and Noira Charles of The Thin Man series, there's nothing the least sophisticated about the way Brown and Neil talk each other. Director Richard Fleischer uses inventive camera work, the sounds of the train rather than a music score, and the train's claustrophobic atomsphere to create and sustain tension. An RKO picture, The Narrow Margin is an unpretentious, taut low-budget thriller, a minor classic far superior to the 1990 Gene Hackman-Anne Archer remake.


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