Narrow Margin

Synopsis: A woman secretly witnesses the murder of her blind date for the evening by a top Mafia boss. She immediately goes into hiding without informing the authorities. When they finally catch up with her, she is unwilling to testify to what she has seen, but the Mafia are on her trail. Accompanied by a deputy district attorney, the woman boards a train travelling through a remote part of Canada. The Mafia know him but they have never seen her.
Director(s): Peter Hyams
Production: Live Home Video
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
97 min

- How long will you be?

- Oh, I don't know.

Uh, not very long.


Yes. Are you Michael?


Nice to meet you.

- Am I late?

- Not at all.

Brian was right. You are lovely.

Thank you.

Uh, our dinner reservations

aren't until 9:

- Would you like a drink?

- Sure.

You didn't have to drive.

I'd have been happy to pick you up.

Sometimes I have to work late.

Anyway, I prefer to drive myself.

In case you need a quick getaway?

Blind dates can be a bit grim sometimes.

Ever since Brian joined the firm,

he's been trying to marry me off.

Are you divorced?

Uh, widower.

- I'm sorry.

- No, that's all right.

What kind of work do you do?

I work with a publishing company.

I'm one of many editors.

It's no big deal.

I read manuscripts and

take work home at night.

I've known Connie for years.

After my divorce,

she took me on as something of a project.

She thinks I work too hard.

I hope you don't mind my asking,

but why did you accept a blind date?

I don't know.

Connie was seeing Brian,

and the three of us

had been out to dinner

a couple of times.

He seemed like a nice guy.

Connie said the senior partner

in Brian's law firm

was coming to Los Angeles,

and that you were some heavy-duty lawyer

and a really nice guy.

I said I was busy.

She said, what did I have to lose?

The worst thing that could happen is

I'd have a nice meal.

Your friend's right.

Dinner will be very good.

Mr. Tarlow?

Message for you, sir.

Thank you.

Excuse me.


I have to go upstairs

and make a phone call.

- Anything serious?

- No. Just an anxious client.

Would you like to come up?

I won't be very long.

I know it sounds fishy.

If you prefer to stay down here,

I'll just be a little while.

No. It's all right.

I'll come.

- Wow, this is beautiful.

- It is, isn't it?

Have a look around.

I'll just be a minute.

Yeah, hi, it's Tarlow.

Is he there?

Are you sure?

I got a message to call him.

Tell him I returned his call, OK?

Thank you. Bye.


I just got a message to call you.

Hello, Michael.

I thought you were in New Orleans.

Yeah, but...

I decided to come home a day early.

I wish you would have let me know.

I'd have given you a call.

There's no need for that now, is there?

You going to invite us in?

Uh, yeah. Sure. Excuse me.

Wootton, this is Michael Tarlow,

my lawyer.

Michael, Jack Wootton.

How do you do?

Sit down.

Can I get you something to drink?

No, thank you.

- I take it you've been busy.

- Yeah.

What brings you to Los Angeles?

I'm closing the Gallway deal.

I should have papers on your desk soon.

You didn't have to come here.

You could have called.

When you do things face to face,

it's a lot clearer.

I agree.

You seem edgy, Michael.

- That's not like you.

- I'm fine.

What can I do for you?

I have a problem.

I need your advice.

- That's what you pay me for.

- That's right.

That's what I pay you for.

There's a man who works for me.

He's close to me. I trusted him.

So what's the problem?

He got himself into some

financial trouble.

He made some investments.

He leveraged himself up to his eyeballs.

The investments didn't work out.

He got himself in serious debt.

He didn't come to me and

tell me his problem.

He didn't come to the man

who trusted him

And ask for help.

What he did was, he just took my money,

took a lot of it.

He was very clever,

so it was very hard to find out about.

I need your advice, Michael.

What should I do with this man?

Leo ...

What do you think?

- What would you do?

- Now, you don't understand, Leo.

- I understand.

- I can explain it.


I would like you to.

It's not what you think. I would never ...

Please, Michael.

Have enough respect for me not to lie.

I ...

I was desperate, Leo.

I took some funds from

the con-amalgamate account ...

To cover a loan. I ...

I was going to pay you back.

I swear!

I'm so disappointed in you, Michael.

For God's sake, you got to believe me.

You know I'd pay you back, Leo.

Michael, don't be afraid.

You're acting like you think

I'll harm you.

Michael ...

Even though you betrayed me,

and I trusted you,

I would never harm you.

Here's what you're going to do.

You're going to go back to New York.

Someone else will close

the Gallway deal.

I will never do business with you again.

You'll pay me back what

you owe with interest.

If you have to sell your nice apartment

with the David Hockneys on the wall,

then you'll do that.

You will pay me back.

I will never speak to you again.

You're right, Michael.

It's better to talk these things

over face to face.

It's clearer that way.

Goodbye, Michael.

Don't get up.

Oh, Michael?

I lied.


Caulfield here.


How soon can you be here?

Five minutes is too long.


He's in a conference.


Good morning.

Won't you come in?

Martin, James,

Detective Sergeant Benti.

Nice meeting you.

This is James Dahlbeck.

Like Caulfield, he's a Deputy D. A.

We were discussing his trial tomorrow.

That's why my door was closed.

I believe it's called a conference.

Remember those latents we found

on the bathroom glass in Michael Tarlow's suite?

Yes. They never checked out.

They didn't check out in California.

But Detective Sergeant Benti's been hard at work.

I'm impressed.

Go ahead, Detective Sergeant.

Make me look good.

We ran those prints

through the federal computer.

They belong to Carol Hunnicut,

arrested for disorderly conduct in 1981,

some kind of anti-nuke bullshit.

She works for a publishing company.

She's been absent since Tarlow got iced.

- This is riveting.

- He'll get your attention.

I checked through our logs.

Two days after Tarlow died, we got a call.

Constance Billings said her friend

was missing.

We told her to file

a missing persons report.

She changed her mind,

said maybe her friend left for a while.

She never gave us the friend's full name,

just the first. Carol.

- Still with us so far?

- I'm holding my own.

I got Constance's address

and went to see her.

Early this morning.

Before they've had their coffee,

they rattle easier.

She didn't want to see me from nothing.

She said she didn't know anything.

She had total amnesia.

She was scared shitless.

I told her we'd protect her and her friend.

We couldn't protect her if she didn't.

She was as easy to crack as a raw egg.

Then she comes out with it.

The reason why

Hunnicut's fingerprints

were on the glass

is because she was there

when Tarlow got hit.

She saw it.

She was there.

It gets better.

It gets a lot better.

- You're kidding?

- Leo f***ing Watts.

In person.

In living colour.

The woman was in the other room.

She saw everything.


- Nobody knew about her.

- Where is she?

She understandably freaked and took off.

She called her friend,

told her what happened,

and that she was still alive.

She's hiding out in a cabin in East Jesus.

- There is a God.

- Unbelievable.

I've chartered a plane.

It'll fly to a small strip.

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Peter Hyams

Peter Hyams (born July 26, 1943) is an American film director, screenwriter and cinematographer, known for directing Capricorn One, the 1981 science fiction thriller Outland, 2010 (the sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey), the 1986 action/comedy Running Scared, the comic book adaptation Timecop, the action film Sudden Death (both starring Jean-Claude Van Damme), and the horror films The Relic and End of Days. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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