Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White Gordon Gebert, Queenie Leonard, David Clarke, Peter Virgo, Don Beddoe, Paul Maxey, Harry Harvey
Written by: Earl Felton, from a story by Martin Goldsmith, Jack Leona
Directed by: Richard Fleischer
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: English
Running Time: 71
Date: 05/02/1952
IMDB

The Narrow Margin (1952)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Mystery Train

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Richard Fleischer's The Narrow Margin rumbles along at a good speed witha minimum of fuss, making beautiful use of its compact train locale, aswell as emphasizing the deep shadows and bright corridors in its greatblack-and-white cinematography (by George E. Diskant). Charles McGrawstars as a cop who gets the job of transporting a gangster's wife fromChicago to L.A. so that she can testify against him at his trial. Thejob is so hairy that his partner gets killed before they even get on thetrain. The film keeps McGraw on his toes constantly, his nimble brainracing to stay ahead of his many enemies. Marie Windsor (perhaps bestknown for her role as the harping wife in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing)plays the wife character.

The son of famous animator Max Flesicher, director Richard Fleischer had a very long and and amazing career, though he could hardly be called an auteur. He made his debut in 1944, and his films include such disparate and varied titles as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), The Vikings (1958), Compulsion (1959) starring Orson Welles, Fantastic Voyage (1966), Doctor Dolittle (1967), The Boston Strangler (1968), Soylent Green (1973), Mr. Majestyk (1974), Mandingo (1975), Ashanti (1979), The Jazz Singer (1980), Tough Enough (1983), Amityville 3-D (1983), Conan the Destroyer (1984) and Red Sonja (1985).

DVD Details: The Narrow Margin is part of Warner Home Video's new Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 2 (also including Clash by Night, Crossfire, Dillinger, Point Blank andBorn to Kill).Director William Friedkin, creator of such great modern crime films as The French Connection and To Live and Die in L.A. provides an appreciative commentary track, along with excerpts from an audio interview with Fleischer. Other extras include the theatrical trailer, and optional English, French and Spanish subtitles.