November 16, 2016
The Narrow Margin.
Review #870: The Narrow Margin.
Charles McGraw (Det. Sgt. Walter Brown), Marie Windsor (Mrs. Frankie Neall), Jacqueline White (Ann Sinclair), Peter Virgo (Densel), Gordon Gebert (Tommy Sinclair), Queenie Leonard (Mrs. Troll), David Clarke (Joseph Kemp), Don Beddoe (Det. Sgt. Gus Forbes), and Paul Maxey (Sam Jennings) Directed by Richard Fleischer.
With a cast of unknowns and a low budget, this is a film that manages to be a serviceable efficient little film noir. There is some sense of suspense within itself, not spending too much time wasting away, establishing characters without much effort. They have the characteristics of ones you might notice in other noirs of the time, but this manages to click at the right points in part due to its cast. McGraw is a pretty good everyman, and Windsor is also pretty alluring as well. They have a fine amount of banter mixed with bits of cynicism that is engaging enough to work. White is also pretty interesting, having some decent chemistry with McGraw. The rest of the cast also does fine (Maxey stands out in part due to his scenes with McGraw), and even the kid actor (Gebert) isn't too annoying. The train setting helps keep the movie compressed and interesting. There is some action (and at least one fight on a train), which is nice and dandy to watch. The twist at the end is pretty clever as well, not being too far fetched or too unknown. On the whole, this is a nice flick because of it goes through the motions in a satisfactory manner. As such, the directing is good for the time, having some fairly decent shots and a fairly balanced plot that more often then not knows what it wants to be. Quite simply, if you like film noirs, old cinema, or movies that don't overstay their welcome, this is the one for you.
Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.