The Narrow Margin

DVD - 2005
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Narrow Margin
A cop has been put in charge of protecting a gangster's wife as she is being transported from Chicago to L.A. by train to testify before a grand jury. He has his work cut out, though, as there are hitmen on the train that are after her.


From Library Staff

List - Noir B-Movies by: nypl_mid_manhattan Aug 31, 2012

Narrow Margin (1952, 71 min) is directed by Richard Fleischer and stars Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor. The film's estimated budget was $188k.

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Dec 12, 2013

There is also a more recent make of this movie on DVD that is very good.

May 29, 2013
  • AQUILEA777 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor are perfect noir types.

Nov 27, 2012
  • voisjoe1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very good grade B film noir. No major stars, but good direction by Richard Fleischer. Lots of shadows and nifty camera shots. Charles McGraw plays a hard-boiled police detective trying to deliver a witness from Chicago to L.A. Relatively short at 71 minutes, but well worth the time. Made in 1952 and then remade in 1990 with Gene Hackman.

Oct 25, 2012
  • BertBailey rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Consider a) that this is a 1942 noir and b) it's a B-budget RKO film, nothing more: though the actors are known faces that have appeared here and there, there are no big Names to speak of. So, coming to this with appropriate expectations, I was surprised by the snappy dialogue, good direction and interesting twist to the plot. The action takes place mostly on a train, and of course will not compare with Strangers on a Train or Ripley's Game. Still, the characters are better than standard, and the action moves along nicely. In sumptuous black and white. *Captions for the hearing impaired are included **The added directorial feature isn't worth bothering with: it must be from the inception of the idea of providing comments, and is limited to unenlightening narrative, rather than observations by insiders. Recommended.

Sep 30, 2012
  • Bazooka_Joe rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The Narrow Margin is an excellent example of early 1950s Film Noir.... About 90% of The Narrow Margin's breath-taking action takes place upon the speeding locomotive train called the Superchief, which is heading on its overnight trip from Chicago to L.A..... It's here aboard the Superchief that all of the thrills and excitement really shifts into high gear..... As the unrelenting suspense rises to a fever-pitch, Sgt. Brown plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with a pack of slimy thugs who will stop at nothing the eliminate Mrs. Neal, the star witness who he's been assigned to protect.... At only 70 minutes in length, The Narrow Margin packs one hell of a wallop that races along at break-neck speed..... This is pure, satisfying entertainment from the glorious 1950s that doesn't let up its pace from start to finish.


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Dec 17, 2012
  • ncs1961 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This train is headed straight to the cemetery, but there's another coming right along -- a GRAVY train! Let's get on it!

Sep 30, 2012
  • Bazooka_Joe rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

"She's a dish. A 60-cent special. Cheap. Flashy. Strictly poison under the gravy."


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Sep 30, 2012
  • Bazooka_Joe rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Violence: There's some gunplay and guys get shot and die. There's also some punching, and brawling.


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