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The Narrow Margin (1952)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,345 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 53 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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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:

"Okay, copper - you rigged it! Let her stop a bullet!" 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

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

Walter Brown: So far they haven't spotted you, and they don't know what you look like. But they've seen me. If they start shooting in my direction, I don't want you hit.
Mrs. Neall: You're sure it isn't the other way around?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kindergarten Cop (1990) 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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