“You’re just a job to me — a C.O.D. to be delivered to the L.A. grand jury.”
A detective (Charles McGraw) escorting a gangster’s widow (Marie Windsor) on a cross-country train tries to protect her from ruthless assassins.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Detectives and Private Eyes
- Hit Men
- Marie Windsor Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Richard Fleischer Films
- Widows and Widowers
Richard Fleischer’s Oscar-nominated The Narrow Margin is widely regarded as one of the best B-noirs ever made. At just 71 minutes, the story moves quickly, making effective use of claustrophobic locales (most of the action takes place on a rattling train), mistaken identities (hardly anyone is who he/she seems to be), and hardboiled characterizations (McGraw and Windsor are both perfectly cast). While there are some minor plot discrepancies — which can’t be discussed without revealing spoilers — they’re easily excused, given that they don’t detract from the overall urgency of the narrative. I watched The Narrow Margin years ago, but had (conveniently) forgotten the central plot twist, and found it just as enjoyable the second time around. Highly recommended.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Yes. This well-received B-thriller is an all-around good show.
- Good Show
- Oscar Winner or Nominee