IMDb > The Narrow Margin (1952)
The Narrow Margin
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The Narrow Margin (1952) More at IMDbPro »

Videos (see all 2)
The Narrow Margin -- Trailer for this murderous tale set on a train

Overview

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7.8/10   4,059 votes »
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Down 34% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Earl Felton (screen play)
Martin Goldsmith (story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Narrow Margin on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 May 1952 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
"She's the one for that bullet--not me!" - Night train West---carrying two mystery women. The secret of one can blast the crime syndicate wide open---and the key killers dare not let it happen! See more »
Plot:
A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
A dark ride that's maybe the best passenger-train thriller of them all See more (70 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charles McGraw ... Det. Sgt. Walter Brown

Marie Windsor ... Mrs. Frankie Neal

Jacqueline White ... Ann Sinclair
Gordon Gebert ... Tommy Sinclair
Queenie Leonard ... Mrs. Troll

David Clarke ... Joseph Kemp
Peter Virgo ... Densel

Don Beddoe ... Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes
Paul Maxey ... Sam Jennings
Harry Harvey ... Train Conductor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Peter Brocco ... Vincent Yost (uncredited)
Ivan Browning ... Waiter (uncredited)
George Chandler ... Accomplice Running Newsstand (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Tenant in Apartment House Hallway (uncredited)
Don Dillaway ... Reporter (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... Train Passenger (uncredited)
Don Haggerty ... Det. Wilson (uncredited)
Clarence Hargrave ... Waiter (uncredited)
Bobby Johnson ... Redcap (uncredited)
Milton Kibbee ... Tenant (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Johnny Lee ... Waiter (uncredited)
William A. Lee ... Newsstand Owner (uncredited)
Walter Merrill ... Officer Allen (uncredited)
Howard M. Mitchell ... Train Conductor (uncredited)
Edgar Murray ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Franklin Parker ... Telegraph Attendant (uncredited)
George Sawaya ... Reporter (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Train Passenger (uncredited)
Jasper Weldon ... Porter (uncredited)
Napoleon Whiting ... Redcap (uncredited)
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Directed by
Richard Fleischer 
 
Writing credits
Earl Felton (screen play)

Martin Goldsmith (story) and
Jack Leonard (story)

Produced by
Stanley Rubin .... producer
 
Cinematography by
George E. Diskant (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Robert Swink (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Albert S. D'Agostino 
Jack Okey 
 
Set Decoration by
Darrell Silvera (set decorations)
William Stevens (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Adele Balkan (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William Dorfman .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Clem Portman .... sound
Francis M. Sarver .... sound (as Francis Sarver)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
71 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1952) | Norway:16 | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | USA:Approved (PCA #14631) | West Germany:16 (nf)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film was shot in 13 days and the only part actually filmed on board a train was a few seconds of the arrival in Los Angeles.See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): 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:
Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes:Bet you're wondering the same thing I am - what she looks like.
Walter Brown:I don't have to wonder - I know.
Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes:Why, that's wonderful, Walter, nobody's seen her but you know what she looks like. What a gift.
Walter Brown:Aw, come off it, yer just makin' talk.
Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes:Well, we get there just as fast, talkin'. What about this dame, Mr. Crystal Ball?
Walter Brown:A dish.
Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes:What kind of a dish?
Walter Brown:Sixty-cent special. Cheap, flashy. Strictly poison under the gravy.
Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes:How do you know all this?
Walter Brown:Well, what kind of a dame would marry a hood?
[...]
See more »
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FAQ

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43 out of 47 people found the following review useful.
A dark ride that's maybe the best passenger-train thriller of them all, 8 February 2004
Author: bmacv from Western New York

Trains have it all over ships and planes when it comes to creating a microcosm. On an airplane, everybody's crammed together; nobody can sneak on or leave (except by parachute or defenestration). An ocean liner has its private staterooms and public spaces, but, again, is an island, entire onto itself. But trains stop regularly to take on and disgorge passengers, and they run along their fixed and earthbound course, with windows looking out on rivers and highways, at big cities at high noon and small towns in the dead of night. And so they've always been the preferred vehicle for suspense, with countless thrillers using the rails as their setting. One of the tautest and most toothsome, in its modest, low-budget way, is Richard Fleischer's The Narrow Margin.

It opens in Chicago, where a pair of Los Angeles police detectives are to escort the widow (Marie Windsor) of a recently slain gang leader back to the coast to testify before a grand jury. She's a hard case (`a 60-cent special...poison under the gravy'), and guarding her is a dangerous job. Sure enough, one of the cops takes a fatal bullet in the stairway of her low-rent apartment house (she shows scant sympathy). Windsor's finally smuggled aboard the train, in a Pullman car's locked compartment adjoining that of her custodian Charles McGraw. Almost certainly, one or more mobsters followed her. It's up to McGraw to smoke them out before they kill Windsor, who knows too much. But he slowly learns that some vital information has been deliberately kept from him....

Fleischer makes inventive use of the jostling in the cramped passageways – and of the all but vanished rituals of club cars and dining cars. He packs the train with seasoned character actors, notable among them Jacqueline White, Paul (`Nobody loves a fat man') Maxie, and Don Beddoe. The closely worked script, by Earl Fenton (based on a novel by Martin Goldsmith, who also penned the original material for Detour), doesn't stint on gaudy patter for them to spout (it's a moveable feast of salty epigrams).

Best of all, The Narrow Margin offers the addictive Marie Windsor her meatiest role, showcasing her tough-gal talents. Rolling her huge and extraordinary eyes, she aims her exhaled smoke like a stream of deadly gas and hard-boils her lines into hand grenades (to McGraw: `This train's headed straight for the cemetery. But there's another train coming along – a gravy train. Let's get on it.'). It's one of Hollywood's more perplexing secrets why Windsor toiled exclusively, with the possible exception of her Sherry Peatty in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, in the B-movie ghetto. But she helped make that ghetto the liveliest part of Tinsel Town.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Narrow Margin (1952)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Question (SPOILER) Erich-13
Great Movie for Railfans slgr7
Marie Windsor's character didn't make sense (spoilers) jayz755
We Have Branches Everywhere chrislyons12
Narrow Margin, 1952 cnsf-2
Marie Windsor looks like... Tenate9
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