7.2/10
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41 user 18 critic

The Tall Target (1951)

Approved | | Adventure, Crime, Drama | 17 August 1951 (USA)
A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.

Director:

Anthony Mann

Writers:

George Worthing Yates (screenplay), Art Cohn (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dick Powell ... John Kennedy
Paula Raymond ... Ginny Beaufort
Adolphe Menjou ... Colonel Caleb Jeffers
Marshall Thompson ... Lance Beaufort
Ruby Dee ... Rachel - Slave Maid
Richard Rober ... Lt. Coulter
Leif Erickson ... Stranger
Will Geer ... Homer Crowley - Train Conductor
Florence Bates ... Mrs. Charlotte Alsop
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Storyline

The historical fact of a possible assassination attempt on the President-Elect Abraham Lincoln makes the movie very interesting. The drama comes from a fictitious New York police sergeant discovering the plot and boarding the last train to Washington, DC, to protect the new president to be. Dick Powell does a very good job using deduction and logic to find who on the train could be conspirators. He is foiled at different times but manages to succeed even when the conspirators have caught him. The movie's action takes place mostly on the train and the effects of travelling are well done. Historically, several states have already seceded from the union and that included Virginia. That's why Lincoln had to travel to Washington, DC, through Maryland, also a slave state. When he was taking his own "Inaugural Train" the plan was to kill Lincoln in Baltimore during a long stop but Lincoln's supporters did some slight of hand to sneak him on board the last train to the capital. Maybe not ... Written by Zack Rinderer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll never see the target till the very end !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film bombed at the box office, resulting in a loss to MGM of $608,000 ($5.9M in 2017) according to studio records. See more »

Goofs

In spite of being set in 1861, there are electric lights hanging in the station and in other locations. See more »

Quotes

John Kennedy: Abe Lincoln will be a sitting pigeon for those sharp shooters.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits S l o w l y roll up from the bottom of the screen, over a background of a train station. The word "TALL" is extra tall.. and the credits are followed by: Ninety years ago, a lonely traveler boarded the night train from New York to Washington DC and when he reached his destination, his passage had become a forgotten chapter in the history of the United States. This motion picture is a dramatization of that disputed journey. See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Arranged by Bronislau Kaper
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User Reviews

A Hidden Treasure Don't Miss This Film
17 November 2006 | by olddiscsSee all my reviews

Okay this film the Tall Target may not be historically accurate but it is based on a situation that occurred on the Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Train.. It is an excellent movie brilliantly directed by Anthony Mann It is a film that was way ahead of its time.. Dick Powell stars and gives an outstanding performance Differrent than most of his film noir films of that era.. I was watching TCM @1am this morning (insomnia was setting in) when their brilliant host Robert Osborne announced and described this unusual film that most people had never seen or heard of! But he recommended & once again Osborne was correct. Wonderful powerful film made years before Suddenly and a decade or so before The Manchurian Candidate (other films dealing with presidential assassinations)The writers & director took an incident from history and created a fictionalized yet believable and riveting film .Is great definitely worth seeing & seeing a very young Ruby Dee in a small but important role as a loyal but concerned 'slave" also Leif Ericson and Barbara Billingsly (Beavers mom) have minor but important roles..& Adolphe Menjou is outstanding and quite believable a corrupt military official Powell is really good in this film A great surprise Don't Miss, another hidden gem revealed from the TCM film library.Thank you Ted Turner and Robert Osborne


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 August 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Man on the Train See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$966,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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