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Dick Powell , Paula Raymond , Anthony Mann  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dick Powell, Paula Raymond, Adolphe Menjou, Marshall Thompson, Ruby Dee
  • Directors: Anthony Mann
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: December 2, 2009
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ZG8PZO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,271 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "THE TALL TARGET" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Former police officer John Kennedy doesn't have a ticket, but he's determined to stay aboard the overnight train rolling from New York to Washington DC. He's convinced that someone - or some ones - among the passengers intends to kill newly elected President Abraham Lincoln when the train stops in Baltimore.

The true-life Baltimore Plot provides the inspiration for this Hollywood thriller directed with film noir overtones by Anthony Mann and possessing a real feel for the powder-keg political atmosphere of 1861. Dick Powell (Murder, My Sweet) portrays Kennedy with appropriate grit, sifting through layers of duplicity and confronting escalating dangers as the Night Express rumbles toward destination...or assassination.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
If Anthony Mann, Paul Vogel and Dick Powell hadn't been around, Abraham Lincoln most likely would have been assassinated while making a speech in Baltimore on his way to his first inauguration. Ft. Sumter has been fired upon. West Pointers from Southern states are resigning their commissions to serve in their home state regiments. Abolitionists detest Lincoln as a man of compromise. He is so widely reviled by both the South and the North it might be difficult to know who is behind the plot.

In Baltimore the plot to kill Lincoln is set. He will travel by night train from New York. He'll stop at Baltimore in the morning. And there, 20 sharpshooters, each unknown to the others, will fire at him as he makes his speech. Surely at least one of them will hit their tall target. John Kennedy, a New York police officer, has learned of the plot. He is determined to foil it.

Anthony Mann, directing, and Paul Vogel, his cinematographer, have crafted an historical crime noir filled with the lurking dangers of the night, and with a cast of characters we, like Kennedy, don't know whether to trust or not. This is a tale of murder and plots on a train, and there's nothing like a train for suspense and atmosphere. The noir photography is some of the best you could hope for. The story is contained for the most part within the narrow confines of the train, from the engine to the caboose, to the sleeper, the ornate private rooms, the passenger car and the smoker. All this, and we also get a terrific steam engine, swaying and clacketing through the night and billowing out great clouds of back-lit steam at every stop. Men struggle and die on the train. Kennedy forces one man's head on the track just as the engine begins to pull the wheels forward. There are lies, misjudgments and deceit.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Railroad Fans December 24, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent thriller which is set entirely aboard a train which is on its way from New York to Washington for the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. However, supporters of the South are on the train and are planning to assassinate him. Dick Powell is the police officer John Kennedy who attempts to foil their scheme.

The acting from veterans such as Powell and Adolph Menjou is excellent, and the film never lets up for one moment. I would also recommend it to railroad fans, because the train is pulled by a most handsome eight wheeler.

I should point out that this is an official DVD-R download from Warner, but it caused no problems and the copy of the film is very good. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific sleeper worth catching July 26, 2013
Before The Day of the Jackal there was The Tall Target, which saw John Kennedy (no, not that one) trying to foil an assassination attempt on Abraham Lincoln's life before his inauguration. Like De Gaulle, we know that this particular plot won't succeed, but we don't know how the plot will unravel and the film more than compensates for the lack of suspense over the President's fate with suspense over whether Dick Powell' secret service man who no-one believes will make it to the end of the line on a train filled with plenty of suspects and more than one killer.

Like a 19th Century Narrow Margin, Anthony Mann's taut thriller straddles his transition from film noir to Westerns even more pronouncedly than his earlier Border Incident, with Paul C. Vogel's deep black and white photography standing in very effectively for John Alton. The script is sharp, as filled with character as it is with twists and turns, even finding room for a great supporting performance from Ruby Dee in a role that could easily have been a throwaway stereotype. A terrific little thriller that hits the ground running and keeps you hooked all the way to the final twist.

Only available as a manufactured on demand DVD-R from Warners' Archive series in the US, the transfer is pretty good though clearly not remastered, and also includes the original theatrical trailer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) presents "THE TALL TARGET" (1951) (78 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Starring Dick Powell, Paula Raymond, Adolphe Menjou, Marshall Thompson, Ruby Dee & Will Geer -- [Directed by Anthony Mann]

Based on a true story: the attempted assassination of President-elect Abraham Lincoln, even before he was able to assume his duties in Washington. Dick Powell stars as New York detective John Kennedy, who learns of the assassination plot early on. When his superiors refuse to believe his wild tale, Kennedy quits the force and boards the Presidential train, hoping to prevent the killing on his own. The problem: who can he trust on board, and who can't be trusted? Ginny Beaufort (Paula Raymond), the sister of the would-be assassin, might be able to prevent the tragedy -- if she isn't in on the conspiracy, that is.

The film's nail-biting climax is brilliantly handled by Anthony Mann, whose directorial expertise was becoming sharper with each successive film in the early 1950s.

1. Anthony Mann [aka: Emil Anton Bundesmann] - [Director]
Date of Birth: 30 June 1906 - San Diego, California
Date of Death: 29 April 1967 - Berlin, Germany

2. Dick Powell
Date of Birth: 14 November 1904, Mountain View, Arkansas
Date of Death: 2 January 1963, West Los Angeles, California

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 78 min on DVD ~ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ~ (12/02/2009)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I saw this on TV years ago and taped it ...
I saw this on TV years ago and taped it on VHS. The story caught my attention because the Dick Powell character is named John Kennedy and is an officer sent to protect Abraham... Read more
Published 28 days ago by M. O'Donnell
5.0 out of 5 stars A++++++
Saw this movie, ordered it, paid for it. It arrived when promised and good quality. I don't have anything else to add but this thing won't go through without more words.
Published 9 months ago by Margaret Grunwell
5.0 out of 5 stars An Oldie but a goodie
This is an old but great movie based losely on true facts. I hadnt seen it in a long while so was delighted to see it on Amazon and at such a great price.
Published 13 months ago by Nevada Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Film Noir in a Western
Well, it's not exactly a western, since it takes place in the east. The story is about a New York City detective trying to foil a plot to assassinate Lincoln on his way to his... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Phillip J. Holmer
2.0 out of 5 stars DUCK AND COVER
It simply was not a well-made movie
(13 more words, 13 more words, 13 more words, 13 more words)
Published 17 months ago by ben
3.0 out of 5 stars "The Tall Target" (1951 MGM) starring Dick Powell and Adolph Menjou Is...
"The Tall Target" (1951 MGM) starring Dick Powell and Adolph Menjou Is A Great "Thriller On A Moving Train" Movie! Read more
Published 22 months ago by David R. Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hidden Gem
If it had not been for Turner Classic Movies, I would not have known about this movie. It portrays a conspiracy that has been buried in history. Read more
Published 24 months ago by MissingG
Another good film by the great but often forgotten director Anthony Mann. Like his two classic Westerns, WINCHESTER 73 [1950] and THE NAKED SPUR [1953], this one is also set in the... Read more
Published on January 10, 2012 by FRED C. DOBBS
4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat
Every once in awhile, you come across an unheralded little gem that knocks you for a loop. This little talked about terrific intense thriller by Anthony Mann is one, for me, such... Read more
Published on September 27, 2011 by The CinemaScope Cat
4.0 out of 5 stars A great forgotten movie
Worth finding and checking out.
Powell is excellents, as is Menjou
Watch out for aquick appearance by a young Barbara Billingsley
Published on October 16, 2010 by Mr Muckle
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