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Narrow Margin
USA 1990
Directed by Peter Hyams
Running time 93 minutes
Rated M
2 stars


Writer/director Peter Hyams’ film was a remake of a 1952 film, The Narrow Margin  by Richard Fleischer, but its hard not to think of Alfred Hitchcock and in particular North By Northwest (1959) when watching it.  There are both thematic and stylistic similarities, with Gene Hackman taking over the Cary Grant part and Anne Archer the Eva Marie Saint one. This sounds like a compliment but it isn’t really as this is 1990, not 1960. 

Archer plays a woman who has witnessed a Mafia execution and Hackman the deputy DA who is trying get her to the witness stand while the Mob are trying to get to her first. The opening scene of the execution is well-handled but after a bungled (and clumsily realized) attempt to wipe her out, the film becomes a drawn-out chase-on-a-train marred by really incompetent villains and an awful lot of fidgety hide and seek. Why Hackman got involved in this project is anyone’s guess but if it wasn’t for his presence the film would probably have disappeared from sight by now. 

DVD Extras: Director’s Commentary; Behind-the scenes featurette and interview sound bites; Photo Gallery and Theatrical trailer.

Available from: Madman

 

 

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