THE NARROW MARGIN (1952)

Dir. Richard Fleischer

When B-movie queen Marie Windsor quips "This train's headed straight for the cemetery," she may not be far from wrong. This classic film noir turns a train ride from Chicago to Los Angeles into a deadly game of cat and mouse as tough cop Charles McGraw escorts a gangster's widow to a grand jury hearing while three hired guns dog their trail. Director Richard Fleischer was still a few years away from making his name with action epics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) and The Vikings (1958). He turns a paltry budget of less than $200,000 into an asset, filming on studio sets with hand-held cameras (this was one of the first Hollywood films shot with them) to create a claustrophobic atmosphere. And McGraw and Windsor, usually confined to supporting roles, cut loose with gritty, iconic performances as a tough cop and an even tougher cookie. Things really heat up when the killers begin to suspect another woman, a beautiful young mother played by Jacqueline White, has a relationship to the case. 

In attendance: Jacqueline White.

This screening is presented with a new 35mm print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

THE NARROW MARGIN
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