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The Narrow Margin (1952)

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Release Date: Jan 1, 1952 Wide

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 1,044

My Rating

Movie Info

The Narrow Margin is generally considered a "model" B picture; some film buffs go farther than that, labelling this 1952 RKO suspenser as the best low-budget studio production ever made. Nail-hard detective Walter Brown (Charles McGraw) is assigned to protect gangster's widow Mrs. Neall (Marie Windsor) as she rides the train from Chicago to LA, en route to testifying at a grand jury. There's no love lost between the ill-tempered Neall and Brown, especially since Brown's partner (Don Beddoe) was

Jul 5, 2005

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (0) | DVD (6)

The cast may be B-level, but the sharp writing, taut direction, and production values of the Richard Fleischer's noir thriller (which is superior to the 1990 remake) are not.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Along with Ulmer's Detour, the ultimate noir "aesthetics of hunger" manifesto

March 14, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

A hard-as-nails, noir-ish thriller from the often underrated Richard Fleischer.

October 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

One of the best B-movies I've ever seen, and deserves to be better known.

April 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

The Narrow Margin rumbles along at a good speed with a minimum of fuss, making beautiful use of its compact train locale.

August 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

This sleeper may very well be the best B-film ever made.

January 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Narrow Margin

Good film noir set entirely on and around a train. Charles McGraw plays a cop hired to transport the widow of a murdered gangster cross-country to testify before a grand jury. Also on the train are men who will do what ever is necessary to make sure she DOESN'T testify.

McGraw is Mr. Tough-as-Nails as always, and noir queen Marie Windsor is at her bitchiest. The setting on the train gives the whole film a claustrophobic quality that adds to the suspense. There's also a cool little twist that I didn't see coming. A definite star in the film noir universe.
November 3, 2009
webalina

Super Reviewer

I've always considered a train as an ideal geography for suspense. A claustrophobic spot where a cat-and-mouse game seems edgier than usual, and this was no exception.
An intense, enormously effective thrill ride, full of great twists and occasional touches of humour.
August 31, 2009
pier007

Super Reviewer

Not amazing, but entertaining.
November 12, 2006
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

A brilliant film noir gem. The dialogue between McGraw and Windsor is brilliant. A fast, tough talking, and fun film with a great twist at the end. Well worth seeing.


Walter Brown: Meaning you'd like to sell out?
Mrs. Neall: With pleasure and profit, and so would you. What are the odds if we don't? I sing my song for the grand jury, and spend the rest of my life dodging bullets - -if I'm lucky! - -while you grow old and gray on the police force. Oh, wake up, Brown. This train's headed straight for the cemetery. But there's another one coming along, a gravy train. Let's get on it.

Walter Brown: Mrs. Neall, I'd like to give you the same answer I gave that hood - but it would mean stepping on your face.
October 5, 2008
littlecharmer1959
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • The Narrow Margin (1952) (DE)
  • The Narrow Margin (UK)
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