T-Men

Alfred Ryder and Dennis O'Keefe in character as gang members

The T in the T-Men stands for Treasury. As if to bolt cinema doors to stop people escaping, this 1947 crime drama opens with an urgent voiceover informing us that T-Men are actually really exciting and not boring at all. Think of them more like secret agents, it insists in footage that’s all cloak and dagger and maximum stakes. The voiceover goes on to tell us that the T-Men serve a crucial role in society and are a vital tool of the US government, protecting all citizens from the depradations of mobsters, smugglers, counterfeiters and the like. To reinforce the point, an earnest, to-screen homily follows, spoken by Elmer Lincoln Irey, real-life chief … Read more

The Narrow Margin

Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor

Dangers on a train? If it’s jeopardy on board a speedling locomotive you want, The Narrow Margin is the way to go. Made for buttons, shot in 13 days and with no big tentpole stars, it made the name of director Richard Fleischer, a B-movie guy bumped straight up to the big time once it eventually debuted. “Eventually” because RKO’s owner Howard Hughes sat on it for two years. There are many theories as to why – one prime candidate is that he was going to reshoot bits of it with bigger names to capitalise on its obvious qualities. Another that the film got caught up in Hughes’s machinations as he tried to … Read more