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The Narrow Margin (1952)

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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
Gordon Gebert Gordon Gebert ... Tommy 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
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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. She is being escorted across country by train in order to testify. Cop Walter Brown and his partner are assigned the task, but the mob are on their trail. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

NIGHT TRAIN WEST - LOADED WITH SUSPENSE! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | 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 »
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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 film was RKO's biggest money-maker for 1952. See more »

Goofs

The witness is in danger for her life and is traveling incognito but we see her sitting in the lounge having a drink alone, engaging in conversation with a stranger, getting off the train to do some shopping, having breakfast in the meal car and generally not behaving like you would expect someone under threat of death by unknown assassins. As a recent widow, she's also not exactly in mourning. See more »

Quotes

Walter Brown: A dish.
Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes: What kind of a dish?
Walter Brown: She's a 60-cent special. Cheap, flashy, and strictly poison under the gravy.
See more »

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User Reviews

"...Use Your Own Sink"
3 May 1999 | by Leo-86See all my reviews

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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