The Narrow Margin

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 10

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,129
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The Narrow Margin Photos

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 killed by mobsters while shielding Neall from harm. On the train, Brown makes the acquaintance of a likeable woman (Jacqueline White) and her playful young son. He also comes in contact with a rather secretive fat man (Paul Maxey), who may well be a mob assassin. Not long before the train pulls into California, Brown is approached by small-time crook (Peter Brocco), who offers the detective a great deal of money if he'll permit Neall to be silenced. Brown appears to be tempted, but this is only a smokescreen to throw the crooks off the trail. The Narrow Margin was remade (and unnecessarily padded and attenuated) in 1990.

Cast

Charles McGraw
as Det. Sgt. Walter Brown
Marie Windsor
as Mrs. Frankie Neal
Jacqueline White
as Ann Sinclair
Gordon Gebert
as Tommy Sinclair
Queenie Leonard
as Mrs. Troll
Don Beddoe
as Gus Forbes
Paul Maxey
as Jennings
Harry Harvey
as Train Conductor
Michael Lally
as Taxi Driver
George Sawaya
as Reporter
Tony Merrill
as Off. Allen
Howard Mitchell
as Train Conductor
Don Haggerty
as Det. Wilson
Johnny Lee
as Waiter
Will Lee
as Newsstand Owner
Franklin Parker
as Telegraph Attendant
View All

Critic Reviews for The Narrow Margin

All Critics (10) | Fresh (10)

Audience Reviews for The Narrow Margin

  • May 06, 2018
    Lots of little things to like about this Noir pic, but there's too many missing pieces to love the entire movie.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Nov 03, 2009
    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.
    Cindy I Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2008
    with roughly a 70 minute runtime i wasn't expecting much but as someone has already said... it kept me on the edge. it wasn't easy to read either. you didn't know what was going to happen next and the ending caught me off guard **SPOILER ALERT - i can't believe they killed off marie windsor towards the end. that's the biggest travesty in film history ever. she's so gorgeous. how can they kill her off??? i'm used to watching modern hollywood movies where the good looking ones die last or not at all. - SPOILER ALERT**
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Sep 11, 2008
    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.
    Emily B Super Reviewer

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