Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Tall Target(1951).

The Tall Target(1951). Thriller. Directed by Anthony Mann. Cast: Dick Powell, Paula Raymond, Adolphe Menjou, Marshall Thompson.

Soon after the Presidential election, John Kennedy, a New York police officer, who also was Abraham Lincoln's bodyguard, believes there will be an assignation attempt, on President Lincoln's life, while he is traveling by train, on his way to his inauguration in Washington, D. C.

Simon G. Stroud, his supervisor does not share his belief, so John takes matters into his own hands by boarding the, Night Flyer Express, headed for Baltimore and Washington. Kennedy's friend, Inspector Tim Reilly, was to meet him with his ticket and suitcase, but when Kennedy arrives, only his suitcase is there waiting for him.

When he goes to buy his ticket, Kennedy finds that they have all been sold out. As the train pulls out of the station, Kennedy sneaks on board.

It is not long, before Kennedy, finds his friend's body. While searching the train for the killer, Kennedy meets Col. Caleb Jeffers, a Northern officer who, is also traveling to Baltimore.

Kennedy, sees a man wearing his coat and holding his gun. The man tells the conductor that he is Kennedy, the real Kennedy takes the conductor to Caleb's compartment, where Caleb identifies him as the real Kennedy.

Soon after, he feels a gun in his back. The man then pushes Kennedy, to the rear of the train and when the train stops, tells him to get off. Kennedy, and the man get into a fight and Kennedy manages to get the gun from him.

As the train is about to leave, Caleb hears the sounds of the fight and shoots the man. After Kennedy and Caleb are back on the train, Caleb hands him a pistol and Kennedy tells him that before dying, the man said that he was to meet someone in car 27.

When they arrive, Kennedy and Caleb find Mrs. Charlotte Alsop, interviewing Rachel, the slave of Lance and Ginny Beaufort. Lance, is a officer in the Confederate Army, who shares his hatred for Lincoln.

After the train stops in Philadelphia, Caleb and Kennedy return to their compartment, Caleb tries to shoot him, but Kennedy's gun is empty.

Shocked to find out that the man was Caleb's partner, and that Caleb was aiming at Kennedy, but.. hit his own man instead, Kennedy takes Caleb, into custody and turns him over to the Philadelphia police. Caleb, shows his military credentials and says that Lt. Coutler, at police headquarters, will vouch for him.

Lt. Coulter, arrives with a message from Stroud, saying that Kennedy, is not a member of the police force. After which, Kennedy goes into hiding, as the train starts moving, Rachel motions for Kennedy, to come to her cabin and tells him that Lance, is carrying a rifle with a scope. Ginny overhears them, slaps Rachel and then grabs the gun from Kennedy. After Ginny knocks Kennedy unconscious, he admits that he is one of the assassins plotting to kill Lincoln. Lance, then drags Kennedy to Caleb's compartment, where they tie him up.

When the train stops at Wilmington, a barber boards the train to shave Caleb. The barber, turns out to be an accomplice and explains the details of the assassination plot.

As the train arrives in Baltimore, word comes that Lincoln's train has been diverted. Leaving Kennedy in Lance's custody, Caleb soon realizes that Lincoln, is hiding in Mrs. Gibbons' compartment. Caleb, writes "the man is on the train" in the dust of Lance's car window.

After reading the message, Lance places Kennedy in Crowley's custody and leaves to find his rifle. Kennedy, overpowers his guard and goes to find Lance. As they struggle, Kennedy pushes Lance off the train .

Soon after, Mrs. Gibbons identifies herself as an undercover agent with the War Department and congratulates Kennedy, on saving Lincoln's life.

If you are a Dick Powell fan, I think you will enjoy watching this exciting film, and what a strange coincidence that the policeman investigating a plot to kill Lincoln is named, John Kennedy.

Paula Raymond (November 23, 1924 – December 31, 2003). Earlier in her career, Raymond acted in many film noir thrillers such as, City That Never Sleeps.

Later in her career she went on to perform mostly in horror films.

In 1952, she performed in the film, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.

In the late 1950s and 1960 Raymond appeared in many television shows and low-budget horror movies including: Perry Mason, Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, and Blood of Dracula's Castle with Alexander D'Arcy and John Carradine.

She turned down the role of saloon keeper Kitty, in the  western classic series Gunsmoke, the role went to Amanda Blake.


  1. "The Tall Target" stands alongside "12 Angry Men" as the classic movie best to get newbies interested.

    Maybe we should have t-shirts made saying "Watch this movie", or would that be slightly obsessive?

  2. LOL... I think it is a great idea.


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