Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: The Tall Target

This week’s ‘overlooked’ pick is the first (of certainly several) shout outs from the 2013 TCM Film Festival. The movie is 1951’s The Tall Target directed by Anthony Mann and starring Dick Powell.

Menjou, Adolphe (Tall Target, The)_NRFPT_01

Powell is a New York City-based a police officer, hell bent stop the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in Baltimore as he makes the train journey from Pennsylvania to his inauguration in Washington, DC.

Now I will readily admit (as I also discussed with another film-goer), that when I read the program description in the festival guide, I was not sure if this was some sort of contemporary, for the time hard-boiled crime thriller (Powell was in it after all) that happened to be anachronistic, given the “tall target” of the title. But soon in I realized that was not the case. Thanks in part to another WONDERFUL introduction by film historian Donald Bogle, we find out that this film is based in part on historical folklore that allegedly took place on the eve of Lincoln’s swearing-in.

There are quite a few twists and turns to this one so I will leave it up to you to enjoy for yourself.

Also starring in supporting roles are Adolphe Menjou and Ruby Dee, a young slave who has more moxie than one initially would think.

Check out Todd Mason’s site, Sweet Freedom for more overlooked, forgotten or otherwise under-appreciated cinematic gems.


  1. Sounds like a forgotten great, Iba. Thanks for the look at this #TCMFF feature.
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  1. […] Tall Target: Check out my previous blog post on […]

  2. […] The Tall Target (1951): A political thriller set at the height of the Civil War, Dick Powell is the star, but Ruby Dee features heavily in her role as Rachel, a slave accompanying her mistress aboard a train with a mysterious passenger. […]

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