- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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The Narrow Margin
An impressive train thriller. McGraw is a tough cop transporting Windsor's gangster's moll to testify before the Grand Jury. Though it could've easily been dismissed as a cheap B-movie, the claustrophobic photography and Oscar-nominated story turns it into a tense film noir. Overall, a well-acted and stunning thriller. I give it a 4/5.
Wow- had never seen this before and was totally blown away. Truly an exciting, fast paced B thriller! Why is it that RKO always made the best film noir pictures? Too bad the studio is not around today considering the body of work RKO Radio put together in only 28 years!
Well worth watching
A tough cop is assigned to protect a gangster's widow from hit men on a train ride from Chicago to Los Angeles. This is a well-done noir that is little-known to movie audiences today, with actors whose names are now all but forgotten except by the "buffest" movie buffs. Sticklers will have problems with the obvious holes in the plot, but I enjoyed the movie despite these. Having the bulk of the movie take place on a train adds a certain claustrophobic tension, and Charles McGraw brings a rough-hewn appeal to his role as the cop. I actually like this film more than "Out of the Past," precisely because I'd never heard of anyone involved in "The Narrow Margin," while I have automatic, built-in expectations for anything starring Robert Mitchum. So, while "The Narrow Margin" may not be in the same class as, say, "Double Indemnity" or "The Big Sleep," it is nonetheless worth a look if you get the chance.
Entertaining but lots of problems
Joyce Anderson (see previous review) has nailed it. This is a fast-paced and entertaining film, but there are so many significant problems with the plot that it detracts from the overall experience. Maltin gives it 3.5 stars (the same as he gives the classic noir Out Of The Past), I would suggest 3 being closer the mark.
- Joyce Anderson
I've seen this movie several times and definitely enjoy it but I'm always puzzled by the same things.1. A detective is killed at the safe house. Q: Why would his partner get on the train without backup when he was pretty sure the hit men had followed him to the train?2. The real witness is a young woman with a son.Q: Why would the police have her traveling on the same train as the detective with the fake witness?3. The real witness sits in the lounge by herself and accidently ends up chatting with the detective.Q: Wouldn't it be better to keep a lower profile and only leave her room accompanied by her son and the nanny?4. The detective breaks into her son and the nanny's room. Later the boy spots his gun and tells his mother about it.Q: Why didn't the mother show the slightest concern about the fact that a strange man broke into her son's room, carries a gun, and has been friendly with her? She just ignores all the red flags.5. The fake witness is really an undercover cop trying to test the honesty of the detective. Later,she is killed.Q: I could understand if the detective and fake witness were being used as decoys to distract the hitman. But it would have been more efficient to have the two detectives working together. Plus, once again, I wonder why the real witness was on the same train without any protection. Doesn't make sense.One more thing, at the end of the movie, I would have liked to see the detective find out that the woman he had been protecting was really a detective. Ordid I miss that part?Nevertheless,when I saw that The Narrow Margin was going to be on, I made a point of watching it again. In spite of my questions, it's a suspenseful and entertaining movie.
Great "Train" Mystery
Seems there used to be a sub-genre of murders/escapes by railway in the 40's thru 60's.(Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, and many more important films drew on the mystery, changing light & sounds of the railroad train to underscore the plot of the film..a 'nowhere to run' scenario in every episode!)Far above average.. I have seen 4 or 5 imes & am always impressed by the polish & acting of this movie. Recommended!!
Best film noir!
- Jim Teach
I was fortunate to be in Palm Springs last summer and attended a film festival which had 'The Narrow Margin' on it's billing.What a pleasure to see such a picture!Performances by Charlie McGraw and Marie Windsor were right on the mark.Also in attendence was the director of Narrow Margin , Richard Fleisher, who gladly answered any and all questions following the show.Oh,and by the way,'The Narrow Margin'was sold out at all showings.