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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:

"She's the one for that bullet--not me!" - Night train West---carrying two mystery women. The secret of one can blast the crime syndicate wide open---and the key killers dare not let it happen! 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 »
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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

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 »

Goofs

When Det. Brown returns to his room after refusing to sell his extra ticket, the process photography out his window is running backwards. You can tell by the car running backwards. See more »

Quotes

Walter Brown: I know a woman who won't sleep for a lot of nights.
Mrs. Neall: Who?
Walter Brown: Forbes's wife.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kindergarten Cop (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Overlooked Classic
4 September 2006 | by ReelCheeseSee all my reviews

Here's an overlooked classic that more than holds its own over five decades after its release. Two-fisted detective Charles McGraw must protect a crucial witness (Marie Windsor) on a train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. Since keeping a secret is hard, bad guys who aren't so keen on Windsor's testimony are also on board -- and will stop at nothing to silence her. Further complexities are added to an already tense situation when the hit men confuse another passenger as their target.

"The Narrow Margin" is known as a B movie, but you'd never know it from watching it. True, the film isn't flashy, but it does make the most out of everything it has. The story is original and full of twists, the suspense terrific and the acting memorable. With its creative take on what should be a simple story, and with its colorful characters and sharp direction, it's all more than a bit reminiscent of the master himself, Alfred Hitchcock. You won't regret picking this one up now that it's available on DVD.


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