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The Narrow Margin (1952)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,171 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 51 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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(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:

A Fortune If They Seal Her Lips!...A Bullet If They Fail! 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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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

When the character of nine year old Tommy Sinclair (Gordon Gebert) first appears, his traveling nurse clearly calls him "Tony". For the rest of the film he's called "Tommy", the character's official name. See more »

Quotes

Joseph Kemp: Why don't ya get wise to yourself and give her a break? What's the use of makin' that kid an orphan? Or maybe you like trouble.
Joseph Kemp: Give us the list and nobody gets hurt - no grief, no mess.
Walter Brown: Except for Mrs. Neil, who gets double-crossed ten minutes later. What do ya take me for, a jumbo-sized sucker?
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

Windsor & McGraw: 2 Film Noir Hall-Of-Famers
9 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was the "original" and, like its re-make "Narrow Margin" (the "The" is missing), it is excellent. This is one of those rare cases in which the old and the new versions both are top-notch.

In fact, it's interesting to compare the two versions. In this film, there is a very unique twist as the end concerning the woman being brought to Los Angeles. It was clever.

That woman in this 1952 version also is played by perhaps the First Lady Of Noir, Marie Windsor. She had the best lines in the film and is outstanding at playing the tough-talking moll of this genre. (See Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing" to fully appreciate more of Windsor's work.)

The film noir tough-guy male equivalent of her also stars in this film: Charles McGraw. Few guys ever looked and sounded better in noirs than McGraw. He and Windor were born to play in 'B' crime movies!

The short length of this film makes it a good one to watch anytime although, to be frank, if I could only own one of the two "Narrow Margin" films, I'd have to take the latter-day version with Gene Hackman and Anne Archer, but it would a tough decision. Both have a lot to offer.


24 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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