Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.
When a mobster's widow decides to testify and provide names of others involved in evil deeds, she goes undercover to avoid being killed. She is being escorted across country by 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The second reporter to enter the train after it arrives in Los Angeles is played by George Sawaya who is also Charles McGraw's stunt double during the fight on the train.This was his first stunt assignment and he went on to double Jack Webb on 'Dragnet'and Warren Beatty on 'Bonnie and Clyde'. See more »
The witness is in danger for her life and is traveling incognito but we see her sitting in the lounge having a drink alone, engaging in conversation with a stranger, getting off the train to do some shopping, having breakfast in the meal car and generally not behaving like you would expect someone under threat of death by unknown assassins. As a recent widow, she's also not exactly in mourning. See more »
Sister, I've known some pretty hard cases in my time; you make 'em all look like putty. You're not talking about a sack of gumdrops that's gonna be smashed - you're talking about a dame's life! You may think it's a funny idea for a woman with a kid to stop a bullet for you, only I'm not laughing!
Where do you get off, being so superior? Why shouldn't I take advantage of her - I want to live! If you had to step on someone to get something you wanted real bad, would you think twice about it?
[...] See more »
Great camera work. Sensational Marie Windsor. Implausible story, though.
"The narrow margin" is a remarkable film-noir with great merits, unfortunately marred by an implausible story.
There is a policeman (Charles McGraw) committed to protect a key witness (Marie Windsor), in severe danger of life, along a train journey. The only reasonable and likely behavior for the cop is to take some sandwiches, lock in the cabin with the witness, and sit down with a machine-gun on his lap. Of course, that would be the end of the film. So, to get a story, McGraw goes everywhere and does everything on the train, but staying with and protecting the witness. There is also a big surprise at the end. That is really unexpected. But if we think back to the previous events, this big twist makes the behavior of some characters wholly illogical.
Well, enough with the faults of the movie. The merits of this low-budgeted B-movie overcome its defects. The stylish cinematography is first-rate, and the camera-work is outstanding. The (few) action scenes are brilliant and filmed in a very original way. See, for instance the play of mirrors in the finale. Marie Windsor is sensational, and every scene with her is a treat. What a gangster moll, gutsy tough gal she is! In my opinion, she is even better here than in "The killing". Her lines are a perfect instance of cynical wisecracking. McGraw and the rest of the cast make a good job, as well. There is a good amount of suspense and no moments of bore.
Let me conclude with a somehow daring comparison. Independently by the composers, classic music of the 18th century is always beautiful. In a similar way, I think that American movies of the 1940s and early 1950s are all good: that is just a question of style, and how I love this style!
I recommend "The narrow margin", for its intrinsic merits, and to pay homage to a great season of cinema.
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