7.7/10
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The Narrow Margin (1952)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 16 August 1952 (Italy)
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A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Earl Felton (screen play), Martin Goldsmith (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles McGraw ... Det. Sgt. Walter Brown
Marie Windsor ... Mrs. Frankie Neall
Jacqueline White ... Ann Sinclair
Queenie Leonard ... Mrs. Troll
David Clarke ... Joseph Kemp
Peter Virgo Peter Virgo ... Densel
Don Beddoe ... Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes
Paul Maxey Paul Maxey ... Sam Jennings
Harry Harvey ... Train Conductor
Gordon Gebert Gordon Gebert ... Tommy Sinclair
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Storyline

When a mobster's widow decides to testify and provide names of others involved in evil deeds, she goes undercover to avoid being killed. Onboard a train going cross-country, she's being escorted in order to testify. Cop Walter Brown and his partner are assigned the task, but the mob are on their trail, attempting to make sure she never reaches her destination. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Fortune If They Seal Her Lips!...A Bullet If They Fail! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1952 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Target See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$188,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second reporter to enter the train after it arrives in Los Angeles is played by George Sawaya, who was 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 (I) on "Dragnet" (1951) and Warren Beatty (I) on Bonnie and Clyde (1967). See more »

Goofs

The gangster Joseph Kemp is shown looking for mob witness Mrs. Neale in the upper berths of the sleeping car, but these could only be dropped using a Pullman berth key. The car porter is unlikely to have lent his work tool to a passenger. See more »

Quotes

Walter Brown: Pardon me, I'd like to get through.
Jennings: Sorry, this train wasn't designed for my tonnage, heh. Nobody loves a fat man except his grocer and his tailor!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kindergarten Cop (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Perhaps the best B movie of all time?
25 January 2005 | by Dire_StraitsSee all my reviews

I'm a huge Charles McGraw fan. Every film he had a large part in, he excels and makes the film better.

Having seen this film 4 or 5 times, my respect for it has grown over the years.

The cinematography isn't perfect - the film probably could have benefited by staying dark and grainy as it seems to be in the early, night scenes.

The taut train scenes seem too bright, but there's nothing wrong with it, simply my preference. A darker train would have made for a more sinister film. Even so, there's plenty of excitement.

The crackling dialogue between Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor is consistently sharp. Seriously, you will have a hard time finding anything more bitter than those two. I'm not sure any other male-female could have made the dialogue (which in a 1950's way is almost corny) come off so terse, as they continuously bark at each other. Someone needs to count the number of times McGraw tells Windsor to "Shut up!".

The film has some exciting twists and turns; you'll enjoy each one.

Great story, solid performances all the way around. This is a FUN movie.


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