IMDb > Borderline (1930)

Borderline (1930) More at IMDbPro »


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6.3/10   249 votes »
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Kenneth MacPherson (written by)
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Release Date:
13 October 1930 (UK) See more »
A negro woman having an adulterous affair with a white man causes his wife to go mad and re-enforces the towns-folk's prejudice against Negroes. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Modern film for its time See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Paul Robeson ... Pete - a Negro
Eslanda Robeson ... Adah - a Negro Woman
Hilda Doolittle ... Astrid (as Helga Doorn)
Gavin Arthur ... Thorne - Her Husband
Charlotte Arthur ... The Barmaid
Blanche Lewin ... The Old Lady
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Winifred Ellerman ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Kenneth MacPherson  (as Kenneth Macpherson)
Writing credits
Kenneth MacPherson (written by) (as Kenneth Macpherson)

Produced by
Bryher MacPherson .... producer
Kenneth MacPherson .... producer
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
63 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
Modern film for its time, 18 December 2009
Author: JoeytheBrit from

This little-seen experimental film definitely won't be to everyone's taste, but I was impressed by how modern it looked (apart from the lack of sound, it wouldn't have looked out of place in the late-1950s, early 1960s) and the bohemian atmosphere it created. The film makes very little use of intertitles, and so the story can be a little tricky to follow at times, but it isn't all that complicated and an attentive viewer should be easily able to fill in any gaps along the way.

Paul Robeson stars as the husband of a half-caste woman who has had an affair with a white man in a small village in Switzerland. She has ended the affair, but too late to save the marriage, and her lover – who is also married – is having trouble coming to terms with the split. The racial tolerance subject matter and message is fairly rare for the time, and is handled with a surprising amount of maturity. For the peripheral figures caught up in the fallout from the affair, life eventually continues unchanging, and the entire film is pervaded with an air of melancholia.

Although the story does drag a little at times, and the director's choice of shot is sometimes open to question, the look and feel of the film, and the way it brims with innovative ideas (for its time) make this worth watching.

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