The Narrow Margin (1952)
Pssst, want to check out The Narrow Margin in our new look?
See all comments
The Narrow Margin starts out with stock noir characters and at an efficient 72 minutes, doesn't allow them to stray very far off type, but there are a couple twists on the premise of a copper keeping a witness alive during a long train ride that make it worth one's while. But more than that, director Richard Fleischer crafts a surprisingly modern-looking film, not at all what you'd expect in 1952, with a more than usually claustrophobic train, and a dynamic, often hand-held camera that keeps us tight in the action. Most older train movies obviously take out walls so they can shoot the story comfortably, and so they look comfortable. Definitely not the case here, and it raises the tension considerably. It helps that the villains are a good match for the protagonist, and that the cat and mouse game is filled with the believable obstacles stemming from the well-realized environment.
Great noir. The plot's a bit contrived but it gets really tense and there's some fantastic noir dialogue.
Fairly good but how annoying is that young boy?
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!
In 7 official lists
View all lists this movie is in
This movie ranks #38 in IMDb's Film-Noir Top 50
This movie ranks #82 in TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films
This movie ranks #82 in TSPDT's 100 Essential Noir Films
This movie ranks #263 in Doubling the Canon
This movie ranks #269 in Jennifer Eiss's 500 Essential Cult Movies
This movie ranks #338 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #573 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown