- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Parallel universe of noir
I agree with an earlier reviewer about the logic of noir. Some movie genres may require totally logical plot elements to be worthwhile but when it comes to noir I think whatever goes into the grinder is fine as long as it comes out as entertainment. It's like a parallel universe sometimes. I enjoyed The Narrow Margin despite its holes. Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor are right at home and make it look easy as others have noted but I also think Paul Maxey is very good. Stir in some surprising plot twists and I think this is indeed one of those B-movies that steals the show.
Marie makes it sing!
I watch this great noir whenever it's on. McGraw is so tough he could chew nails into tinfoil. As many reviewers have said, there are flaws. However, one thing is flawless: the incredible Marie Windsor! Those eyes, that figure, and the patter! Wow! How could they kill her off so soon? My 3 queens of noir- Gloria Graham, Audrey Totter, and Marie will always live in the smoke filled corners of my mind.
all aboard the pun express.
the male lead was an emperor of the north in my book. the story was like a silver streak in the night. some may say the movie was 20th century limited.. but I do not agree. it should be regarded as a supertrain of the film noir genre. some may say marie Windsor was a polar express. I rather thought she was a boxcar bertha with a heart of gold. the bad guys were real wild boys of the road. they were on a crazy train driven by the prince of darkness or worse.. a runaway to hell driven by jon voit himself. nothing was finer when the hero avoided disaster on the east coast ..I think it was.. liner in the morning. sorry..if I screwed up the direction. they must have been on Amtrak. for all the hassle he went through..at least the hero did not have to go deal with tsa.. that would have been real horror express.
Superior Who Dunit
McGraw and Windsor deliver as do the director, plot and settings. Wonder how many times this movie is shown at 8:00 pm as opposed to the inferior movies All About Eve, Cool Hand Luke, Auntie Mame and the Hustler?
Gordon Gebert Again !??
- DON RILEY
I thought we had enough of Gordon Gebert in "Holiday Affair" but this kid needs his bottle. He whines out every single solitary line he enunciates. I mean this is not the "earache" you develop from this "kid" in "Holiday Affair" --- but its close. I've seen "The Killing" by Kubrick over 100 times so Marie Windsor is a favorite of mine. Charles McGraw is also very good. Although this part may be a bit too weighty for his talents. He can be spectacular in bit roles. I like this move and could watch it several times. The cramped quarters of the train and the whiny kid actually make murders - quite appealing.
- kevin sellers
I hate to be the spoiler skeleton at the feast here, but isn't anyone questioning the disastrous decision on the part of screenwriter Earl Felton to kill off his best character three fourths of the way through the film? Talking, of course, about Marie Windsor, whose combination of statuesque, brunette sexuality (No wonder Howard Hughes loved this film!) and wise cracking cynicism (She gets most of the good lines) is well nigh irresistible. Once she dies the film dies with her, and we are left with the extremely vanilla Jacqueline White, who has zero sexuality and no good lines, and a whiny, obnoxious kid to boot. (He'll probably grow up to be a vicious punk, like his dad.) I mean, come on Felton! As you would have one of your characters say, "Get wise to yourself." The way to end this film was to have Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor exiting the train in L.A. squabbling and sniping at each other, like they did in the best scenes in the film. Give it a C plus.
snip, snip, snip
- Don Letta
Beside the stellar acting and cinematography, special attention should be payed to the editing (usually makes or breaks a film). The whole film is enhanced by the quick takes and lack of dull interludes, keeping the viewer on his toes and completely engaged in the story as it plays out. Ours is not to question the logic of the plot, but to enjoy what may be one of the five best noirs ever. If we were to analyse all films noir for logic, they would all suffer.
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.