Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria)
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I’ve always been a fan of movies that take place on a train. It feels like the passengers are in their own little world, cut off from everyone else. It tends to be a great location for a thriller because everyone is clustered so close together, which makes it nearly impossible to escape the danger, and that’s why I was so enthralled by The Narrow Margin. This film is delightful. It is about a police detective who must protect a mobster’s widow who has vital information as she travels to trial on a cross-country train. I was on edge the entire time, always worried about our hero and his mission. I think where the movie fell just short of greatness for me was in some of the actions of the characters in the film. Many of them didn’t make sense, or felt improbable. Some of that is cleared up later in the story when all the truth comes out, but there are still choices that people make that seemed illogical to me. What delighted me most in The Narrow Margin was that it surprised me more than once. There are some twists to the story that I never saw coming, and when a movie can pull the rug out from under you as well as this movie did for me, it is a cool experience. I quite like the film noir feeling in this movie, and some of the dialogue is in that classic old style to fit the genre. The actors were all excellent. Charles McGraw has a great gravelly voice that plays into the tough personality of his character. Marie Windsor is excellent as the mobster’s widow who acts spoiled and entitled. She almost feels over-the-top at times, but she has her reasons. Finally, Jacqueline White is sweet and kind, which is perfect as a counterpoint to the mobster’s widow. I had a great time with The Narrow Margin, and I’m excited to see it again now that I know everything.
When a mobster's widow decides to testify and provide names of others involved in evil deeds, she goes undercover to avoid being killed. She is being escorted across country by train in order to testify. Cop Walter Brown and his partner are assigned the task, but the mob are on their trail.
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.
A hard-as-nails, noir-ish thriller from the often underrated Richard Fleischer. The crackling dialogue between Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor is consistently sharp. 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. The cast may be B-level, but the sharp writing, taut direction, and production values are not . Great film noir .
Good plot. Good locale. Good film noir.
Lots of little things to like about this Noir pic, but there's too many missing pieces to love the entire movie.
Amazing movie. The atmosphere builds at the perfect pace. A must see for any film noir fan.
McGraw and Windsor are excellent in this, and there's some great dialogue ("You make me sick to my stomach!".... "Well use your own sink!"), but I did not enjoy it as much as most folks, apparently, because I didn't really buy into the "twist" in the latter third....
saw part of the 1990 remake on tv. looked great.
Great for what it had to work with.
Taut, tough and suspenseful. Why can't more movies be like this. Of course the thrills depend on a period when nobody had cell phones and the newspaper was the most up-to-the-minute news source, but still, wow.
THE NARROW MARGIN is just delightful. Glad I finally got to see it.