Friday, August 9, 2013

The Narrow Margin (1952)

Director: Richard Fleischer

Starring: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White, Gordon Gebert, Queenie Leonard, David Clarke, Peter Virgo, Don Beddoe, Paul Maxey, Harry Harvey

More info: IMDb

Tagline: 'THAT BULLET'S MEANT FOR ME!" - Suspense every speeding second aboard a stream-lined syndicate killers seek to find and silence mystery woman headed for the Grand Jury!

Plot: When a mobsters wife decides to testify against his evil deeds she goes undercover to avoid being killed. Now that he's coming to trial she has to be escorted across country via train in order to testify. Cop Walter Brown and his partner are assigned the task, but the mob are on their trail.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again? YES!!!

This flick is an edge-of-the-seat, balls-out-exciting thriller.  Excellent.  The performances are fantastic, particularly Charles McGraw as the detective that's got to protect the gun moll.  Besides the tight direction, one thing that makes this work so well is the absence of a musical score.  You get a phonograph playing for a couple of minutes on the train and that's it.  It worked remarkably well.  I love this film.  That it's a B picture made so effectively on a small budget and film in just 13 days is just amazing.  I do have one big ass question, though...


How is it possible that the hired killers had no idea what Mrs. Neal looked like?  Surely they would have had a picture or at least a description to go off of. If they knew then the whole picture falls apart.  I didn't give it any thought until the movie was over (even though I'd seen this many years ago and had clearly forgotten about this plot point).  I'm OK with suspending my disbelief, especially for a picture as well crafted as this one, but I can't help but think that there must be a reason for this.

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