The Narrow Margin is directed by film noir great Richard Fleischer. Martin Goldsmith and Jack Leonard were nominated for an Academy Award for best writing. Even though this was an Oscar nominee it is very much a B-movie taking only 13 days to film. The film stars the queen of the B movie noir Marie Windsor. The hardboiled detective is played wonderfully by Charles McGraw. His gravelly voice and great one liners makes for one cool character.
A line from the film as our hero describes what kind of dish our femme fatale is before he meets her: ” Sixty-cent special. Cheap, flashy. Strictly poison under the gravy”
This is also Jacqueline White’s last movie, she got married and moved to Wyoming with her husband after this film. It was her most successful film. Hard to say where her career would have gone if she stuck it out a little longer.
The story starts when our femme fatale is being escorted by two L.A. detectives back to L.A. to testify against the mob. One of our detectives is shot and killed protecting our witness. Now our hero has to out smart an unknown number of mob hitmen while protecting our femme fatale that he doesn’t really like, on a train with very few places to hide.
Favorite Tidbit: This film was actually made in 1950 but Howard Hughes who owned the studio at the time heard good things about it and wanted to view it before its release. He forgot about it while it sat in his projector room for over a year. The other story of the delay is Hughes liked it so much he wanted to change it from a B-movie to an A-Movie and putting Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell in it.
The Narrow Margin was remade in 1990, I haven’t seen the remake since it came out. I’ve watched the original many times in the last few years. I will have to re-look at the remake and compare it to the original at a later date.
This is a classic that should be seen by any film noir fan! If you haven’t seen it in awhile go watch it right now!