Pelish’s Gold Mine—Nuggets from Film History The Tall Target

~By Randy Pelish~

Anthony Mann directed The Tall Target (1951) starring Dick Powell. Based on a true story about the attempted assassination of Abraham Lincoln in February, 1861, it is a stunning 78-minute film noir.

A perfectly photographed and edited masterpiece like this should have a much wider audience.

Powell plays a New York City police detective who forfeits his career to protect the president-elect when he exposes a plot to kill him that his superiors will not believe.

Hurling his badge on the police commissioner’s desk, he resigns and rushes to the train station determined to stop the murderous cabal.

The screenplay by George Worthing Yates and Art Cohn from a story by Yates and Daniel Mainwaring (aka Geoffrey Homes) is a taut, tension filled epic.

The supporting cast are equally brilliant. Special note should be made of Adolphe Menjou and Will Geer, both at their best in this film.

Make it your business to become an ardent admirer of The Tall Target.

The Tall Target can be seen free of charge at

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