5.9/10
178
6 user 13 critic

Margin for Error (1943)

It is a toss-up as to who is most displeased when Patrolman Moe Finkelstein is given the duty of guarding the German consulate run by Karl Baumer; neither Moe nor Baumer is too happy with ... See full summary »

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writers:

Clare Boothe Luce (play) (as Clare Boothe), Lillie Hayward (screenplay) (as Lillian Hayward)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A young bride who comes from a rich family has a hard time adjusting to life in a boarding house with other soldiers and their wives. Her spoiled ways cause resentment from the other wives ... See full summary »

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Frank Latimore, Eugene Pallette
Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Respectable citizens receive anonymous letters revealing their adulterous relationships.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Linda Darnell, Charles Boyer, Michael Rennie
The Fan (1949)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Lord Windermere appears to all -including to his young wife Margaret - as the perfect husband. But their happy marriage is placed at risk when Lord Windermere starts spending his afternoons... See full summary »

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Madeleine Carroll, George Sanders
History | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1876 Philadelphia, two sisters vie for the affections of a Frenchman who's come to town to prepare the French pavilion for the Centennial exposition.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Cornel Wilde, Linda Darnell
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young lawyer is unable to get the Pembertons to sign a land sale contract until their daughter falls in love with him.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Ann Sothern, Jack Haley, Mary Boland
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Commercial artist Daisy Kenyon is involved with married lawyer Dan O'Mara, and hopes someday to marry him, if he ever divorces his wife Lucille. She meets returning veteran Peter, a decent ... See full summary »

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda
Forever Amber (1947)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In seventeenth-century England, Amber St. Clair aims to raise herself from country girl to nobility, and succeeds, but loses her true love in the process.

Directors: Otto Preminger, John M. Stahl
Stars: Linda Darnell, Cornel Wilde, Richard Greene
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 18th century Russia,the naive and idealistic lieutenant Chernov meets Empress Catherine the Great who becomes infatuated with him and appoints him Chief of the Imperial Guard.

Directors: Otto Preminger, Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Coburn, Anne Baxter
Whirlpool (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, José Ferrer
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When a leak of information in the African Section of British Intelligence is discovered, security man Daintry is brought in to investigate.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Richard Attenborough, Nicol Williamson, Derek Jacobi
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Actress Patty O'Neill meets playboy architect Donald Gresham on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and accepts his invitation to join him for drinks and dinner in his apartment.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Hardy Krüger, Johannes Heesters, Johanna Matz
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An otherwise moral captain of a charter boat becomes financially strapped and is drawn into illegal activities in order to keep up payments on his boat.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Garfield, Patricia Neal, Phyllis Thaxter
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joan Bennett ... Sophia Baumer
Milton Berle ... Moe Finkelstein
Otto Preminger ... Karl Baumer
Carl Esmond ... Baron Max von Alvenstor (as Charles Esmond)
Howard Freeman ... Otto Horst
Liesl Handl ... Frieda (as Poldy Dur)
Clyde Fillmore Clyde Fillmore ... Dr. Jennings
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ludwig Donath ... Hitler's Voice (as Louis Donath)
Edit

Storyline

It is a toss-up as to who is most displeased when Patrolman Moe Finkelstein is given the duty of guarding the German consulate run by Karl Baumer; neither Moe nor Baumer is too happy with this turn of events. Moe, however, quickly becomes friends with the other residents of the consulate: Sophie Baumer, the consul's wife; the secretary, Baron Max Von Alvenstor; and a pretty maid named Frieda. Moe senses an underlying tension that is not entirely accounted for by the gathering clouds of war. The gambling-loving Baumer has lost a large sum of money belonging to the German government, Sophie has learned to hate her husband and what he stands for, and Baron Max has fallen in love with her. Max confronts Baumer with the discrepancy in the consulate's funds, and Baumer threatens to inform Berlin that one of Max's grandparents was not "Aryan." The arrival of a group of Nazi saboteurs and the insistence they be given the funds to finance their project stirs consulate affairs even further. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

german | baron | saboteur | nazi | evil man | See All (51) »

Taglines:

You'll Howl With Glee as This N.Y. Cop Takes Over! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

10 February 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Margen de error See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The pinball machine that Finkelstein and Frieda play in the drugstore is an electro-mechanical "Twin Six" (1941) manufactured by J.H. Keeney & Co Inc. See more »

Connections

References Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Finkelstein guards the Nazis
15 October 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In order to bring this to the screen in 1943 Margin For Error had to be told in flashback. So it was by star Milton Berle as he relates to his fellow GIs his and Carl Esmond's story as they are about to hit a beach.

Margin For Error which was written by Clare Booth Luce had a run of 264 performances on Broadway during the 1939-40 season. Only Otto Preminger as the sadistic Nazi consul in New York before FDR broke diplomatic relationship with them and star of the story and Edward McNamara playing a police captain repeat their roles from Broadway.

Milton Berle takes the place of Sam Levene playing New York City policeman Moe Finkelstein who draws from McNamara the unenviable task of guarding the Third Reich embassy in New York. Can you imagine that in New York there are a sizable number of people not happy with the doctrines of the Third Reich, a lot of them with names like Finkelstein? Still Berle does his duty and at the same time is in a position to foil a few Nazi schemes.

Otto Preminger is looking like he's loving playing the villain here, a man without a single redeeming feature you can name. He's even stealing from the Third Reich because he has a nasty gambling habit which ultimately brings him down. He's married to Joan Bennett whose mother was American although she's in love with the embassy's secretary Carl Esmond.

Howard Freeman is in the cast as the leader of the American Bund in a characterization a whole lot like Fritz Kuhn. Kuhn had ambitions to be America's Hitler, but he was a bungler and a clod and just didn't have the right stuff. Still he was what later would be termed a useful idiot, but even Freeman's not putting up with Preminger for too much longer.

Watching Berle in another feature from 20th Century Fox it becomes even more abundantly clear that Darryl Zanuck saw in him a comedy star who could be as bankable at the box office as Bob Hope was with Paramount. He was certainly more convincing in this instant as a Jew than Hope would have been, but the lines and situations were pure Hope.

Margin For Error still holds up well as a World War II era item than a whole lot of others do.


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed