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. 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Filmed in 1950, not released until 1952. According to director Richard Fleischer, when the film was finished, RKO Pictures owner Howard Hughes heard good things about it and ordered that a copy of it be delivered to him so he could screen it in his private projection room. The film stayed in the projection room for more than a year, apparently because the eccentric Hughes forgot about it. See more »
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 »
Charles McGraw plays edgy cop Walter Brown. His job is to protect a dead racketeer's wife, Mrs Neil (Marie Windsor) from the mob. She's a key witness in a grand jury probe, and also has a payoff list linking gang members to the LAPD. Most of the film's action takes place on board the train taking Brown and Neil to Los Angeles, where she will testify.In Mrs. Neil, played to perfection by Windsor, the queen of B movies, the tough talking, wise-cracking Brown meets his match. On the way to meet her, he glibly tells his partner, Gus Forbes that "She's the sixty cent special. Cheap. Flashy. Sticky poison under the gravy." When he and Forbes, both from Los Angeles, first meet her, she says, "How nice. How Los Angeles." Then looking Brown up and down, she snarls, "Sunburn wear off on the way?" My favorite wisecrack occurs after Brown has finally had enough of her wise remarks and lashes out, "You make me sick to my stomach." Her retaliation is a gem: "Well, use your own sink." Unlike the banter between Nick and Noira Charles of The Thin Man series, there's nothing the least sophisticated about the way Brown and Neil talk each other. Director Richard Fleischer uses inventive camera work, the sounds of the train rather than a music score, and the train's claustrophobic atomsphere to create and sustain tension. An RKO picture, The Narrow Margin is an unpretentious, taut low-budget thriller, a minor classic far superior to the 1990 Gene Hackman-Anne Archer remake.
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