05/24/2015  
Infected on DVD & Digital Video Jun 2See You in Valhalla on DVD May 26HeForShe Campaign Features Star-Studded Cannes ConversationDespite The Gods on DVD May 19The Gunman on Digital HD Jun 16 & Blu-ray Combo Jun 30So Bright Is the View on DVD May 26Bar Rescue: Toughest Rescues on DVD May 19

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Infected on DVD & Digital Video Jun 2...
See You in Valhalla on DVD May 26...
First look: Bill Murray in Netflix's "A Very Murray Chr...
'Late Show' Set Dismantled A Day After David Letterman ...
'Dancing With the Stars' Finale: Who Took Home the Gold...
Jane Fonda Admits She's 'Not Proud' of Plastic Surgery...
Everyone is missing the most important part of Louis C....
HeForShe Campaign Features Star-Studded Cannes Conversa...
Despite The Gods on DVD May 19...
Natalie Portman to Play Jackie Kennedy in Film About JF...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
The Narrow Margin (1952)

"You have her. We want her. How much?" 
- Yost (Peter Brocco)

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: July 04, 2005

Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Director: Richard Fleischer

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:11m:20s
Release Date: July 05, 2005
UPC: 053939725421
Genre: film noir


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A B+B-C+ B-

DVD Review

One of the many appealing things about film noir is that, in the movies themselves, there's not a lot that's highbrow, there's rarely if ever any indecision or lack of motor. And that's especially true about The Narrow Margin, almost all of which takes place on a train—the plot is almost as propulsive as the Pullman that carries our characters. The title may be familiar, because it was remade with Gene Hackman and Anne Archer; but this original is sleeker, smarter and shorter, and, as one of the later noir titles released in Warner Bros.' second box set of the genre, demonstrates that the form still had (and has) plenty in the tank.

The action starts with a couple of hardbitten L.A. cops, on business in the great Midwest; Brown and Forbes are to meet up with a witness in Chicago, and accompany her back to Los Angeles, while keeping her out of harm's way. She's Mrs. Frankie Neil, the widow of an organized crime boss, and she knows where the bodies are buried—her late husband's roster of those who received Mob payoffs is the linchpin of the people's case against the syndicate. But the trip is hardly a bumpy one—the bad guys know who the cops are, but they've never gotten a glance of Mrs. Neil, so they're tailing Brown and Forbes closely, with the plan to rub out the little woman at the first available opportunity. Alas, it's Forbes who ends up first in the line of fire; he's killed in a Chicago shootout, leaving Brown to escort Mrs. Neil unassisted.

It's a great setup for a movie, and the rich premise is followed through on with energy and style. More of the bad guys are on the train, too, trying to get what they want from Brown both with honey and with vinegar—when the straight-arrow cop doesn't respond to their bribe offers, they promise that Forbes' fate may well be his, too. And along with all the high-speed cat and mouse, it's a treat, from our vantage point, to see the particulars of how one traveled a great distance before airline routes were ubiquitous. It's a time when, even if you were on the lam from the mob, there was some glamour in travel—who could resist club cars and upper berths and porters serving meals with china and silver? It sure beats the stale pretzels and saccharine flight attendant smiles that characterize most air travel today.

This being a film noir, there's plenty of snappy dialogue, too—here's Brown to his charge, Mrs. Neil: "Sister, I've known some pretty hard cases in my time. You make ‘em all look like putty." Charles McGraw is stolid as Brown, and Marie Windsor is a tarty little number as the mobster's wife; the movie gets a lot of mileage out of Paul Maxey's girth (he says on more than one occasion, "Nobody loves a fat man, except his grocer and his tailor"), though he turns out to be more important to the plot than as a mere obstacle between railroad cars. The movie also has one of the great third act twists, which I won't spoil by even hinting at. Even without that, though, it's well worth the ride. 

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Scratchy, scratchy, scratchy. This RKO picture was a B film in its time, and it looks like it's been through the wars, with lots of damage to the source print. The transfer does well enough with an original this compromised.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: In the first couple of scenes, Forbes and Brown have a couple of stogies jammed into their craws, making them close to inaudible, and watching, you may get the fear that the whole picture will suffer similarly from the mumbles. Happily this doesn't turn out to be the case, though there's no shortage of static on the mono track.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by William Friedkin, with Richard Fleischer
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: William Friedkin, who proclaims this one of his favorite films, provides a commentary track, with an emphasis on the history of noir, dating back to Edgar Allan Poe, and its influence especially on his own work—apparently we have movies like this to thank for Popeye Doyle's rakish hat in The French Connection, giving us just one more reason to love this picture. Director Richard Fleischer is intercut with Friedkin only occasionally, with his memories of the project; there's very little of him, though, and the track is dominated by Friedkin.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

If you're a film noir fan, you'll want to get your ticket punched for this one—even if the print doesn't look very good, this one is well worth watching for its smarts and its style, and the tautness never lags during its brief running time.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

sci-fi, drama, television, a very murray christmas, bill murray, netflix, sophia coppola, george clooney, amy poehler, chris rock, paul shaffer, rashida jones, miley cyrus, the late show, david letterman, ed sullivan theater, taco bell, dancing with the stars, abc, rumer willis, riker lynch, noah galloway, val chmerkovskiy, celebrity, jane fonda, mile high club, plastic surgery, grace and frankie, saturday night live, louis c.k., racism, israel-palestine, movies, cannes, documentary, movie, jackie, jackie kennedy, darren aronofsky, pablo larrain, pitch perfect 2, rebel wilson, super fun night, derek hough, nastia liukin, american idol, fox, jennifer lopez, harry connick jr., keith urban, ryan seacrest, gary newman, daytime soap, general hospital, anthony geary, genie francis, frank valenti, mad max: fury road, mel gibson, george miller, tom hardy, hugh keays-byrne, charlize theron, the cw, arrow, the vampire diaries, supernatural, the originals, jane the virgin, the flash, the 100, izombie, reign, beauty and the beast, action, afc football championship game, jim mcnally, john jastremski, tom brady, bill belichick, music, prince, baltimore, rally 4 peace, freddie gray, 3rdeyegirl, metropolitan museum of art gala, kim kardashian, chloe sevigny, john paul gaultier, georgia may jagger, sarah jessica parker, rihanna, comedy, scifi, joss whedon, the avengers, chris evans, cris hemsworth, samuel l. jackson, scarlett johansson, jerem renner, revenge, manhattan love story, selfie, the mccarthys, the millers, gracepoint, mulaney, red band society, utopia, bad judge, dallas, 10th birthday party, kelly monaco, maks chmerkovskiy, meryl davis, hemorrhage, australia, tokyo, san francisco golden gate, docuementary

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store