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The Narrow Margin (1952)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,173 users  
Reviews: 72 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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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:

'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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The route the train takes is the route of the old Santa Fe Railroad. The Amtrak Southwest Chief takes that same route as of 2009. 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: 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

Spoofed in Fatal Instinct (1993) 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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