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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 4,470 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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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:

'THAT BULLET'S MEANT FOR ME!" - Suspense every speeding second aboard a stream-lined limited...as syndicate killers seek to find and silence mystery woman headed for the Grand Jury! 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In preference to removing various walls from the sets, director Richard Fleischer decided to make extensive use of a handheld camera that could be brought into rooms; this was one of the first films to do so. To save money the train sets were rigidly fixed to the floor, and the camera was moved to simulate the train rocking. See more »

Goofs

Two scenes show a Southern Pacific Daylight locomotive which ran along the California coast, not Chicago to Los Angeles. See more »

Quotes

Walter Brown: I know a woman who won't sleep for a lot of nights.
Mrs. Neall: Who?
Walter Brown: Forbes's wife.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Siskel & Ebert: Worst of '90 (1991) 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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